With COVID-19 forcing sports into hibernation, MLB and other leagues are left to weigh their options, hoping for a speedy resolution to what has been an unprecedented chain of events. One option on the table for MLB, according to columnist Matt Spiegel of WSCR in Chicago, is to begin an abbreviated 100-game season on July 1 with a neutral-site World Series to be played in November. Los Angeles would serve as the host site. However, if the hometown Dodgers represent the National League (as they have in two of the last three Fall Classics), their road games would be moved to either nearby Anaheim or San Diego.
Obviously, nothing is set in stone—we’re a long way from anything resembling clarity as the coronavirus and its widespread effects continue to wreak havoc worldwide. But Spiegel’s report at least gives us a framework for what a shortened season might look like when play finally resumes.
Should the league opt for a July 1st Opening Day (which would seem to be a best-case scenario given the way things are going), MLB would skip its planned All-Star festivities (the Dodgers were set to host this year) in an effort to squeeze in as many regular-season games as possible. After the regular season concludes on October 15, the league would then begin its postseason. The Wild Card and League Championship Series would play out normally, though the World Series would take place in a neutral “warm-weather” setting with Los Angeles reportedly MLB’s preferred venue. With frigid temperatures making playing conditions difficult in cold-weather cities like Chicago, New York and Boston (the League Championship Series could finish as late as November 3 if MLB adopts these proposed changes), having the World Series anywhere other than a dome or Southern California would have been a stretch.
It’s good MLB has a contingency plan in place and seems to be making good use of the current work stoppage by mulling the league's options. But the truth is, until the coronavirus lets up, it’s anyone’s guess when we’ll be given the green light to play ball again.