MLB: Sliding into home plate takes on new meaning on November 29th

For the New York Yankees and all of MLB, the new reality is that baseball may last almost until December.  Commissioner Rob Manfred and all the decision-makers are coming closer to a plan to get in 100 baseball games in a shortened season, that may see an expanded postseason ending on November 29th.

The plan that is gaining the most traction if a plan that does away with the American and National leagues for the season.  Industry sources close to the negotiations tell of a 3 division or league that will be broken up into geographic regions.  All the east coast teams, regardless of the league will play each other, which would include teams from the Toronto Blue Jays to the Florida Marlins.

All the teams that play in the center of the country will be pitted against each other.  Teams from all around the Great Lakes, from Cleveland and Detroit to the Minnesota Twins and south to the Kansas City Royals and St. Luis Cardinals, will be lumped together In the Central.  Teams all along the Pacific Coast, including the Colorado Rockies and both the Texas Rangers and the Houston Astros, will be composed into the West Division.

As it stands now, MLB is looking to a late June or very early July for the start of the baseball season.  If this is to be accomplished, the COVID-19 coronavirus will have to continue to recede, and greater testing availability will have become a reality.  Right now, health officials and MLB are negotiating the exact time that a regular-season can begin.  As these decisions come closer, the New York Yankees and the other 30 MLB teams are contemplating a resumed spring training to start as soon as next week. The exact location of those games has got to be determined as well, but most likely will be Grapefruit and Cactus league locations.

This is, of course, the best-case scenario.  If baseball starts much later than that, getting in 100 games will be near impossible.  It appears that regular-season games will go well into October.  At this point, MLB, the owners, and players are willing to do just about anything to get the boys of summer out on the playing field.  The plan, if adopted, is not without problems to be ironed out.  Everything from how much players will be paid for a truncated season to where games will be played late in November where Stadiums like Yankee Stadium and Target Field could have a foot of snow on the field.

ESPN’s Jeff Passan suggested a possible two-month, round-robin tournament similar to the World Cup. Yes, a 60-day shootout that would guarantee teams at least 24 games, ending with a champion being crowned on November 29.  That’s a totally new look to a traditional Baseball World Series.

The first realignment suggested by MLB never really gained much support and the “Arizona plan”, now seems less likely as stay at home restrictions are being lifted in many areas of the country. That plan would have had all 30 teams play all their games in and around Chase Field the home of the Arizona Diamondbacks.  Chase Field, all the minor Cactus league parks and some college fields would have to be used to accommodate all the games.

The last thing that MLB wants to do is start the season too early, and if the virus bounces back, have to stop the season.  That would be a total mess, not good for baseball or the nation as a whole.  Whatever plan is adopted will come to fruition in the next week or so, as teams will need a month of resumed spring training.  Exact plans and details of what the postseason will look like may not come until later. American Baseball fans are more than ready for games to start, and televised Korean Baseball just doesn’t cut it.