Major League Baseball remains in a state of flux due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Opening Day, originally scheduled for March 26, has been pushed back a minimum of eight weeks with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that gatherings of 50 or more people be cancelled at least through May 10.
While new guidelines could be issued shortly after that depending on the situation at hand, the hope is that baseball activities will be able to resume at some point in May.
A second Spring Training will likely be needed for players to get back into game speed, meaning the regular season could kick off in June, at the earliest. The Fourth of July is also being floated around as a potential target for Opening Day.
Regardless of when play starts, the idea of a 162-game schedule being salvaged has already been ruled out by MLB commissioner Rob Manfred. The consensus around the league, however, is that players want to make up as many games as possible and are willing to play deep into the calendar year.
Prominent MLB agent Scott Boras suggested that postseason play begin in December as a way to squeeze in all 162 regular season games, via Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times:
Under the Boras plan, wild-card games would be played Dec. 3, the division series would be Dec. 5-9, the league championship series Dec. 11-17 and the World Series on Dec. 19- 26. There would be no days off in postseason series, and games would be played in Los Angeles, Anaheim, San Diego, Miami, Seattle, Arizona, Milwaukee, Toronto, Houston, St. Petersburg, Fla., and Arlington, Texas.
“All the players I’m talking to want to play all the games, and we can map this out,” Boras said. “We’re just trying to let [MLB] know we have the ability to do it, that there’s a logical way to do it. You have the facilities. You have the sites to do it. The difference is how the playoffs are run and where they’re played.
“I think having a planned World Series at a designated site would be a tremendous economic gain for our industry. You could secure corporate sponsorships and have entertainment surrounding it. The Super Bowl has one game. Here, we can have five to seven days of festivities.”
Under Boras’ proposal, postseason series would take place in either warm weather cities or stadiums with retractable roofs. The possibility of a World Series game being played on Christmas Day is also on the table.
While it remains to be seen whether Manfred would be open to Boras’ creative plan, it is clear that he wants to get in the bulk of the 162-game schedule. Other ideas being tossed around include a significant amount of doubleheaders being scheduled to make up a plethora of games in a short period of time.
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