ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported that the MLB should have a restart plan by the end of May if the coronavirus situation keeps improving at the rate that it currently is. He said that if a plan is in place by then, a regular-season start could be possible around the fourth of July.
Commissioner Rob Manfred has been pretty confident throughout the entire COVID-19 situation that baseball will return at some point in 2020. He just isn’t sure to what extent.
From what Passan has heard from league and team executives, a 100 or so game schedule is the most likely from July-October with the postseason taking place in November in warm weather locations. It still may be possible to play regular-season games in home stadiums, but they will have time to figure that out.
Whether it’s with fans or without fans, playing at home stadiums is the best-case scenario for everyone. Easier on the TV crews and media, and players would likely be able to live at home with family and not in hotels, isolated.
The postseason would likely be expanded to give more bubble teams a shot. The DS, CS, and World Series would likely remain the same, but a few more best of three or winner takes all games like the Wild Card game may be added earlier on in the postseason.
To make up for a lot of lost money, expect to see a lot more games on national television. Games would likely be scheduled into different TV slots so different carriers can pick up more games. That would be another win-win for teams, fans, and networks.
The MLB has a lot to figure out over the next month, but they have plenty of ideas that will work for all parties.