Had the MLB season started on time, the Minnesota Twins would be a month into their campaign as the defending AL Central champions. Sadly, ballparks and streets across America remain mostly empty as the new coronavirus pandemic continues to usher in uncertainty.
The 2020 MLB season's future is certainly uncertain, although it appears the groundwork is being laid for the league to play with or without fans...eventually. According to USA Today's Bob Nightengale, there is talk of an "at least" 100-game season – reduced from 162 games – beginning no later than July 2.
But instead of having three divisions – West, Central and East – in each league, MLB is "considering a three-division, 10-team plan in which teams play only within their division," writes Nightengale.
Here's how he has the divisions shaped:
East: Yankees, Mets, Red Sox, Nationals, Orioles, Phillies, Pirates, Blue Jays, Rays, Marlins
West: Dodgers, Angels, Giants, Athletics, Padres, Diamondbacks, Rockies, Rangers, Astros, Mariners
Central: Cubs, White Sox, Brewers, Cardinals, Royals, Reds, Indians, Twins, Braves, Tigers
Previous reports indicated that the MLB was considering the idea of playing all games in Florida, Texas and Arizona, where there are numerous spring training and minor-league ballparks capable of housing the necessary games to complete a season.
That plan, however, received pushback from players who don't want to be away from their families for an entire season.
ESPN's Jeff Passan hasn't reported on the 10-team divisions model, but here's what he feels offers some semblance of the most realistic scenario unfolding this summer into the fall:
"Finalize a plan in May. Hash out an agreement with the players by the end of the month or early June. Give players a week to arrive at designated spring training locations. Prepare for three weeks. Start the season in July. Play around an 80- to 100-game season in July, August, September and October. Hold an expanded playoff at warm-weather, neutral sites in November."
All in all, there's plenty of talk about baseball resuming this summer, which would be a welcome sight for weary fans, even if it means they can't watch the games in person.