Although Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred has maintained that he “fully” anticipates the sport will return in 2020, there have been few indications as to how, when or where that might happen.
But according to a USA TODAY report published Tuesday, MLB is considering a scenario in which the season would begin in late June or early July with teams playing in their home ballparks.
Under the proposal, MLB would toss out the traditional American and National Leagues in favor of three 10-team divisions based on geography. Teams would only play against the other clubs in their division, completing a regular-season schedule of about 100 games before playing in an expanded playoff.
The divisions would be divided as follows.
East: New York Yankees, New York Mets, Boston Red Sox, Washington Nationals, Baltimore Orioles, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, Toronto Blue Jays, Tampa Bay Rays and Miami Marlins
West: Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Angels, San Francisco Giants, Oakland Athletics, San Diego Padres, Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies, Texas Rangers, Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners
Central: Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Milwaukee Brewers, St. Louis Cardinals, Kansas City Royals, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians, Minnesota Twins, Atlanta Braves and Detroit Tigers
The previously reported Arizona Plan—which would’ve entailed relocating all 30 teams to Arizona and possibly separating everyone from their families—is still on the table, according to ESPN. But the player-driven backlash against setting up a no-visitors-allowed biosphere has evidently prompted MLB to continue exploring all scenarios.
Even though teams would be playing in their home ballparks, fans wouldn’t be allowed to attend games—at first. MLB officials are reportedly optimistic that the gates would eventually be opened back up to the public, but not until later in the season.
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