Bryce Harper has thoughts.
These apply not just to his effervescent hair, but to how the major-league season could play out under 2020’s never-before-seen circumstances.
Among Harper’s pitches for change: a 10-team, round-robin postseason tournament which leads to the standard seven-game World Series.
What would that look like?
Thanks for asking.
As it stands, five teams from each league -- three division winners and two wild-card clubs -- enter the postseason. Single-elimination wild-card games ensue. Then five- and seven-game rounds follow until Halloween hits and Daniel Hudson throws a slider to Michael Brantley.
The College World Series has eight teams participating in double-elimination series. Thereafter, the winners of each bracket meet in a best-of-three final.
What Harper is proposing -- which would include a loser’s bracket -- would extend the earlier round. Here’s how he phrased it:
“10 teams round robin format College World Series kinda style at the new Texas Stadium or whatever stadium/ stadiums are best. 3 game series. You win the series you move on. You lose you play the other loser in a 1 game wildcard. Winner of that moves on. Other team is out.”
So, let’s play this out with last year’s postseason entrants.
The seeding would run like this:
2. Los Angeles
3. New York (AL)
7. Tampa Bay
8. St. Louis
That’s a Nationals-Dodgers first-round matchup. This setup still plays well for the Nationals. Presumably, Max Scherzer starts the first game. If they lose, Stephen Strasburg pitches the second. Win, then Strasburg is available to help you advance. Patrick Corbin looms for a chance to advance out of the initial series or to pitch the do-or-die game if the team loses the first two. Scherzer would come back around in a single-elimination game in the loser bracket. Then the process would begin again.
The loser’s bracket would be manic. Say the Dodgers lost to the Nationals. And the Yankees lost to St. Louis (not happening, but hey). Then a one-game, win-or-go-home scenario is presented to those two heavies, possibly against each other.
Harper suggested the whole thing take place in the Rangers’ new stadium, Globe Life Field, situated in Arlington. He also threw out his native Las Vegas as a location. He knows baseball could use a splash whenever possible. This would be one.
Nothing is out of play in the circumstances created by the pandemic. Round-robin instead of traditional structure? Sure. Why not? Playing it all in one stadium to eliminate travel and elevate quarantine possibilities? Sure, why not? Harper for commissioner? Well, maybe not. But all ideas are welcome at this time.
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