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In the Land of Grapefruit and Cacti

The Mets and the Cardinals in the same division as the Astros and Nationals? The Marlins with all four teams? What could go wrong with that!

As the days continue to creep on, the likelihood of seeing a Major League Baseball season seems like a daydream — a National Pastime home run stopped at the warning track by COVID-19 and not an All-Star center fielder.

So far the proposed plans to bring back the beloved game in 2020 haven’t been hitting it out of the park. In fact, the bubble baseball plan in Arizona split baseball fans and writers on social media — 50% wanting baseball back bad enough to enjoy this concept and 50% (including baseball family members) saying it is irresponsible and outlandish to even purpose this idea.

Essentially, the bubble plan needs to be scrapped. A makeshift baseball bubble seems futuristic, unique and yet it is also complicated when it comes down to logistics and ethics.

So let’s talk about the other plan USA TODAY’s own Bob Nightengale wrote about yesterday.

❛ Major League Baseball, assessing myriad proposals, has discussed a radical plan that would eliminate the traditional American and National Leagues for 2020, a high-ranking official told USA TODAY Sports, and realign all six divisions for an abbreviated season. ❜

(I’ll admit, at first, I didn’t know if I would like this idea or not. Selfishly, I didn’t like it because I wouldn’t be able to return to Busch Stadium in 2020 — but as the day progressed, I begin to wonder if it would work. Even if it meant our normal wasn’t so normal at all.)

All 30 teams would return to their spring training homes divided up between Arizona and Florida. Three weeks of exhibition games, training and brushing off the cobwebs of COVID-19’s sideline. And then the real fun would begin. Again.

With no fans in attendance at all, the teams would play new division opponents and the teams in their league/state. For example, the St. Louis Cardinals would play the New York Yankees, Minnesota Twins, Detroit Tigers and Toronto Blue Jays rather than old foes Chicago Cubs, Milwaukee Brewers, Los Angeles Dodgers and Cincinnati Reds.

What we do know so far,

The DH would be implemented throughout Major League Baseball and there could be the possibility of a World Series between the winner of the Cactus League and the winner of the Grapefruit League in Florida for the World Series.

  • Grapefruit League
    • NORTH: New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, Toronto Blue Jays, Detroit Tigers and Pittsburgh Pirates.
    • SOUTH: Boston Red Sox, Minnesota Twins, Atlanta Braves, Tampa Bay Rays, and Baltimore Orioles
    • EAST: Washington Nationals, Houston Astros, New York Mets, St. Louis Cardinals and Miami Marlins.
  • Cactus League
    • NORTHEAST: Chicago Cubs, San Francisco Giants, Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies and Oakland Athletics.
    • WEST: Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago White Sox, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians and Los Angeles Angels.
    • NORTHWEST: Milwaukee Brewers, San Diego Padres, Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers and Kansas City Royals.

There will be a total of 26 ballparks available for use between the two states — this includes spring training fields, The Trop in St. Petersburg, Marlins Park in Miami and Chase Field in Phoenix.

While time will only tell what happens next with the world, COVID-19, and Major League Baseball — we can only hope for the best and await the return baseball.

Follow along on Twitter @chelseabrooke / @dugoutdish for all your baseball needs.


Photo Credit: Getty Images

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