The status of the upcoming MLB season has been a heavily-discussed topic for months. Many plans have been proposed, such as a season in spring training stadiums, divisional realignments to minimize travel, and expanded playoffs to make up for the shortened season.
Early Saturday morning, Philadelphia Phillies slugger Bryce Harper weighed in on Instagram with his own plan for how the 2020 MLB season should commence.
The main aspects of his plan include the following:
- NBA-like East and West divisions
- 135 regular-season games played in 138 days (between July and mid-November)
- 30-man rosters
- Universal designated hitter
- Six-man pitching rotations
- Round-robin (College World Series style) playoffs in a warm-weather location, culminating in a standard seven-game World Series
- Every game is available for everybody to watch on all platforms with no blackouts
The post starts with, “Beyond the health and safety which comes first for all players, staff, workers, fans, and families” This implies that he agrees safety measures must be taken. Presumably these precautions will be similar to MLB’s most recent proposal which includes regular testing of players and coaches, socially-distancing in clubhouses, and isolation of players within hotel rooms while on the road.
Harper’s idea was released on the heels of his endorsement of Rays starter Blake Snell’s recent controversial comments regarding revenue sharing.
Snell said, “If I’m going to play, I should be getting the money I signed to be getting paid.”
He added, “Bro, I’m risking my life. What do you mean, ‘[Money] should not be a thing?”
Harper said Snell “is speaking the truth.”
Since Harper supports Snell in his statements, while not directly mentioned, it is presumed that pay cuts are not in Harper’s plan. Unfortunately for Harper and Snell, salary reductions, to some extent, seem to be one of the few things that are certain in all of the negotiations between MLB and the MLBPA.
With pay cuts appearing imminent, it may be hard to get the MLBPA to sign off on the Harper plan as it is even more physically demanding than a standard MLB season, which many players may not be willing to participate in for less money.
His idea of making all games viewable on all platforms also seems like a dream come true for fans but it could be difficult to get the owners to sign off on because it could jeopardize their lucrative TV deals, which will be their main method of generating revenue during a season with no fans.
At any rate, whether the Harper plan will gain traction or not, the idea of an MLB season with so few days off, a round-robin playoff format, and no TV blackouts may be the most unique of the ideas proposed so far and is certainly something unique to think about.