If this deal gets done, the Atlanta Braves could be playing in a month.
The newest MLB proposal on the table is for 60 games in 70 days, but there’s reason to believe that was practically an invitation to get both sides toward a 65-or-66-game compromise since the Atlanta Braves don’t need to have a day off every single week.
Under normal circumstances (and of course, there’s absolutely nothing normal happening this year), teams will start a 3 or 4 game series on Thursdays or Fridays. The MLB proposal of starting on July 19th – a Sunday – therefore makes little sense.
The end date has practically been etched in stone from Day 1 of this saga: Sunday, September 27.
That was the original 2020 season end date before anyone knew the term ‘COVID-19’ and it’s the date that MLB’s ownership group has been obsessing over for the sake of insuring that playoffs could be finished up before (pick any excuses you’d like):
- Cold weather
- A ‘second wave’ of the virus
- Football, basketball, and hockey
Whatever. If there’s a compromise to be had on the schedule, then it’s something like this:
- A 73-day season lasting from Friday, July 17 to Sunday, September 27.
- 66 or 67 games over that period.
The players will argue for 72 games, but they won’t get it. The owners have floated 60, which is obviously light. So something around 2 days off every 3 weeks is likely where the two sides will end up.
Other compromises could include the roster sizes (an active list of 28 to 30 players has been proposed often, but cutting this back by one or two (27 or 28) would save the owners a little money.
Expanded playoffs will undoubtedly be part of the plan… possibly for this season and next. How far that word “expanded” goes is up for debate. 14 teams was probably a given. A 16 team tournament could be on the table now.
The universal designated hitter? Almost certainly will happen, especially if the geo-centric (or perhaps “time-zone centric” is a better term) divisions are created.
But we will wait to find out. Things are moving quickly (finally) and given the reality of the calendar, an agreement needs to be reached on all matters within the next day or two.
If it lingers beyond that… all bets are off. But maybe — just maybe — we’ll see our Atlanta Braves in some meaningful games sooner than later.