Nothing is definitive at this point, but according to reports, MLB owners have approved a proposal for a very different-looking 2020 baseball season.
The proposal, which will be submitted to the players' union Tuesday by MLB commissioner Rob Manfred, could have the start of the season as soon as early July. Teams would play in their own home stadiums, without fans, and the season would last 82 games. This is a bit more than half the length of a traditional 162-game campaign.
Another wrinkle to this proposal is an expanded playoff format for the 2020 season. In the reported proposal, 14 teams would make the postseason, four more than the usual 10.
Several hurdles need to be cleared before one pitch is thrown, and there are a handful of other changes to game play in the proposal, but the season length of the proposal and the playoff format should be of interest to the Phillies and their fans.
In the last two seasons, the Phillies were very much in the playoff race at the 82-game mark and would’ve actually made the postseason had the season ended after their 82nd game, if only barely.
In 2018, the Phils were 45-37 through 82 games. They sat in second place, three games behind the Braves in the NL East, and were the second wild-card team.
Last season, they were 43-39 after 82 games and in second place behind Atlanta. That record had them in a 3-way tie for the top wild-card spot with the Brewers and Rockies.
Granted, the previous two seasons may not have gone the same way had the Phillies and other teams known the season was only 82 games, but if this proposal is accepted, expect a thrill ride of a season.
Factor in the potential of a 14-team playoff format and this could be an electrifying return-to-play scenario. Imagine entering the final 2-3 weeks of the regular season with 20 teams (or more) still in the running for a postseason spot.
We know that the Phillies slumped in the second half of each of the last two seasons, but if an 82-game season is in the offing for 2020, it could lead to a rollercoaster ride, one which might see the Phillies return to the playoffs for the first time in nearly a decade.