According to Jeff Passan of ESPN, Commissioner Rob Manfred and Major League Baseball are eyeing a late May announcement for the return of baseball for the Colorado Rockies and the other 29 MLB teams.
Jeff Passan of ESPN reported on Monday that Major League Baseball is eyeing a late May announcement for the return of baseball in 2020. In addition, it is becoming a question of “when” will baseball return in 2020, and not “if” baseball returns in 2020. That is good news for Colorado Rockies fans and baseball fans, in general.
Passan answered 20 “most pertinent” questions about the return of baseball and while a lot can change in the ensuing weeks, we can see what baseball may look like when it inevitably returns.
On Friday, Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a letter to uniformed personnel of each team that he while he “fully anticipate[s] that baseball will resume this season, it is very difficult to predict with any accuracy the timeline for the resumption of our season.” In that letter, Manfred said that he is going to suspend their contracts this coming Friday, meaning that teams can choose not to pay them if they wish.
However, for the Colorado Rockies, they have already told employees that they will not be furloughed and they will be paid as long as possible.
Passan notes that while MLB will likely announce their plan in late May, they will have to come to an agreement with the players in May or early June and games would likely start in early July with a schedule of games being somewhere around the 80 to 100 game area, with regular-season games ending in late October.
MLB is still considering a tournament-style playoff that would begin in November. Passan came up with his own idea of how that could happen. Since it would be in November, games would have to take place in warmer weather cities or in cities with domes but Passan came up with an idea for six cities with five teams per city.
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Here’s how he lays out his idea for a schedule:
- Oct. 1-20: Every team in the division (he uses each of the current teams’ by their current division for clarity purposes) would play a four-game series against each division opponent with a day off in between. The two best teams from each division would advance on to the next round.
- Oct. 22-Oct. 31: The six American League teams that advance congregate at one hub and the six National League teams gather at another. They would play each of the other five teams twice in a “round-robin format” with an off day for all teams occurring on the same day in the middle of the round. The four teams with the best records in each league advance. In the meantime, teams that were eliminated in this round would meet at a hub and play one game against the rest of the teams there. The winner of that “round-robin” would be rewarded with reentry to the playoffs. If it was a tie, a one-game playoff would be held.
From there on out, the normal postseason schedule would happen (Wild Card Game, 5-game LDS, 7-game LCS, 7-game World Series). However, they would take place between November 2nd and November 29th.
As Passan notes, his format would make it so every team would have at least 24 games that would be like a playoff-like atmosphere. As a result, the teams could make up some of their lost revenue.
Will MiLB play games in 2020?
When games do resume, teams will likely need an expanded roster, likely around 30 players, like Rockies manager Bud Black mentioned recently. Partially due to that, Passan has a surprising opinion on whether minor league teams will play in 2020: “Probably not, nope.”
Especially with a quarter of minor league teams potentially being dissolved, I personally think that this is a colossal issue with MLB’s possible plan. Some minor league teams are already on the brink of financial hardship so eliminating an entire season would likely decimate teams, even the ones that would remain.
They will also be receiving fewer players since the draft will be shorter.
Of all things, hopefully, this will change and hopefully they will come up with a better resolution for the minor leagues in the coming weeks because, frankly, it looks like they may be hit the hardest by all of this of all areas in professional sports.