Bryce Harper had plenty of time to think while quarantining during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the Phillies outfielder made it clear on Friday that only one thing was on his mind: returning to play baseball.
Harper shared a very detailed proposal for the return of the MLB season through his Instagram, which included a regular 135-match season, a College World Series format for postseason and some other interesting news.
For those who don’t want to read that paragraph mountain, here are the five most interesting things about Harper’s proposal:
135-game regular season, East-West conference
Many numbers have been thrown about the number of matches that will be played this season. The MLB owner agreed to a plan to restart the season which included an 82-match regular season schedule, but Harper seemed to think there was room to be squeezed in 135 from July to mid-November. Here are the calculations:
- July (31 days) + August (31 days) + September (30 days) + October (31 days) + November (15 days) = 138 days
- The team gets a day off on Monday every two weeks and plays seven innings on Sunday.
This is an interesting idea, although it seems like many of those “leave” days should be used to make the game bombarded.
Harper also suggested that all teams move to a rotation of six people to ease the workload on the pitcher, although he said the idea was flexible depending on what pitchers were more comfortable doing.
Perhaps the biggest overhaul is the move from the American League / National League division to the East-West division, similar to the NBA conference. The logic behind it makes sense if the team will be limited to where they can play and travel, but it’s hard to imagine MLB making this kind of drastic change because, well, that’s not for God’s sake.
World World Series format for postseason
This part of Harper’s proposal is significantly more complicated. He suggested 10 teams, a round robin playoff round that included a three-game series and a wildcard elimination game. Sounds like a lot of chaos happened in the span of two weeks, so we will explain to Harper:
“The 10 teams in the College World Series round robin format are rather stylish in the new Texas Stadium or whatever stadium / stadium is best. Series 3 matches. You win the series you move. You lose you play another loser in wildcard 1 matches. Winners of moving. Another team is out. “
College World Series usually consists of 16 Super Regional winners, divided into two groups consisting of eight groups that play in a double elimination tournament until one team stays on each side. It is unclear whether the CWS Harper reference is to break 10 teams into two groups of five and then play round robin, or just the playoff elimination double aspect.
All-Star Game, regular season award before the World Series
Harper has some good ideas for what happens after the World Series battle is decided. Following the busy playoff schedule, the two remaining teams will have two days to rest. During that time, he suggested the league hold All-Star and Home Run Derby matches. This is an interesting proposal that can get more attention on the sport by placing the two biggest league events in sequence.
Harper also suggested that the league announce its award winners during those days, which made far more sense than waiting until the end of the season when many fans no longer paid attention.
‘Open for everyone to see’
This is perhaps the most important aspect of Harper’s talk; MLB has been widely criticized over the past few years for TV outages. It never made sense for leagues to struggle to gain popularity with younger demographics to make it harder for them to watch their matches. Now, with fans who cannot come to the ballpark and be stuck in their homes without anything better to do, this is the right time to get rid of all these blackouts and give fans the chance to fall in love with an American hobby.
Push back early in 2021, 2022 season
Another question that follows what should be done this season is what should be done about the coming season? Players will need time to recover, especially if they are stuck in 135 match schedules in 138 days.
Harper suggested that MLB push back to the beginning of the 2021 season until May 1, and then encourage the beginning of the 2022 season to April 1. It seems simple enough.
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