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How would Bryce Harper’s round-robin MLB postseason proposal look?

How would Bryce Harper’s round-robin MLB postseason proposal look?

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.

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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:

1. Houston
2. Los Angeles
3. New York (AL)
4. Minnesota
5. Atlanta
6. Oakland
7. Tampa Bay
8. St. Louis
9. Washington
10. Milwaukee

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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How will MLB's new extra inning with a runner on second rule work strategically?

How will MLB's new extra inning with a runner on second rule work strategically?

Major League Baseball is going to be bizarre in 2020. A 60-game schedule. The designated hitter in the National League. No fans.

But the change a lot of baseball fans might have the toughest getting used to is the tweak to extra innings. Each team will begin each extra inning with a man on second base. The crew from the Nationals Talk podcast had differing opinions on the new rule.

“I absolutely love it,” NBC Sports Washington's Nick Ashooh said.

Team reporter Todd Dybas did not agree.

“The rule is dumb. It goes against everything that baseball is about.”

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Chase Hughes broke the tie. “I’m a no on the rule too. I’m with Todd.”

What about the strategy of starting with a man on second base? Could team's exploit or alter the ending of the previous frame to set up a new inning? 

The rule states: “The runner placed on second base at the start of each half-inning shall be the player (or a substitute for such player) in the batting order immediately preceding that half-inning’s leadoff hitter.”

Dybas wondered if it would be wise to end the previous inning on purpose if a speedster is at the plate with two outs.

“Would it behoove [Giants'] Billy Hamilton to make the final out? So the next inning he would start at second base?” Hamilton is a career .242 hitting but has 299 stolen bases in 809 games played. 

RELATED: COULD MORE OPT-OUTS BE COMING? 

Frustration will also be inevitable. “I can’t wait to hear from the players on the first team to lose by that rule,” Hughes said. “What are they going to say?” 

2020 has already thrown us plenty of curveballs, the changes to baseball will just be a couple more the sports world will have to adjust to. 

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Report: 6 Nationals among players MLB didn't test for COVID-19 before flight from Dominican Republic

Report: 6 Nationals among players MLB didn't test for COVID-19 before flight from Dominican Republic

One of two flights chartered by Major League Baseball from the Dominican Republic to Miami carried multiple players that tested positive for the coronavirus after arriving in the U.S., The Washington Post reported Thursday evening. None of the more than 160 players and staff members were tested by MLB for the disease prior to flying.

Among the passengers on those flights—which flew out of Santo Domingo on July 1—were Nationals players Juan Soto, Victor Robles, Wander Suero and Fernando Abad as well as two of their prospects in Luis Garcia and Joan Adon. All six players are isolating in D.C. and one of them, The Post reported, tested positive for the coronavirus during intake screening July 2.

The Nationals announced Sunday that two players had tested positive upon arriving to D.C. and were in isolation. In addition to the six players who flew from the D.R., Howie Kendrick, Starlin Castro and Roenis Elías were absent from practice at Nationals Park this week. Although Castro returned to the field Thursday, Washington has yet to give any updates on the remaining players not cleared for play.

RELATED: MIKE RIZZO SAYS ‘I COULDN’T LIVE WITH MYSELF IF WE WENT ON HAPHAZARDLY’

“We’re still waiting to hear about those other guys,” manager Davey Martinez said in a Zoom press conference Thursday. “But they’re working diligently, MLB and our medical staff, to get those guys cleared. Hopefully, we’ll get them soon.”

The lack of testing prior to those flights was a result of insufficient resources in the D.R. to accommodate the number of people who were to board, The Post reported. The news comes three days after the Nationals opted to cancel practice due to test results taking over 72 hours to come in. General manager Mike Rizzo issued a strong statement that afternoon stressing the importance of quick testing.

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“We cannot have our players and staff work at risk,” Rizzo wrote. “We will not sacrifice the health and safety of our players, staff and their families.  Without accurate and timely testing it is simply not safe for us to continue with Summer Camp.  Major League Baseball needs to work quickly to resolve issues with their process and their lab.  Otherwise, Summer Camp and the 2020 Season are at risk.”

MLB’s 2020 season is scheduled to begin July 23, when the Nationals are set to host the New York Yankees on Opening Night.

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