There is set to be Major League Baseball this year in America. MLB is preparing to hold Opening Day on July 23 or 24 with the 60-game season set to conclude on Sept. 27 and then a "regular" playoff month with five teams from each league making the postseason. Many fans might be wondering what the schedule will look like. And while we don't have the specific schedule yet -- be prepared for that to drop late this week or early next week -- there's a framework in place.
Here's what we know.
Due to efforts to contain extra exposure to COVID-19, teams will not venture outside their "regions." That is, the Easts (NL East and AL East) will only play each other, just as the Centrals and Wests will. We will see zero regular season games between, say, the Braves and Dodgers. We will see zero between the Cubs and Phillies. We will see zero between the Yankees and Twins (the Twins just breathed a sigh of relief). You get the idea. No team will stray from its region in the regular season.
Emphasis on division
The schedule is not balanced. Within the region, teams will play a majority of games against their own division instead of more interleague games. Each team will play 10 games apiece against its division-mates for a total of 40 games. The remaining 20 games will come against the other division, though it's unclear if it will be an even breakdown of four games against each interleague opponent.
Let's use the World Series champion Nationals as an example to better illustrate the situation.
The Nats schedule could look like:
- vs. Mets, Phillies, Marlins and Braves 10 times each
- vs. Yankees, Orioles, Red Sox, Blue Jays and Rays four times each
There are your 60 games.
Business as usual. There will be three division winners per league along with two wild cards. The wild cards play one game at the home of the team with a better record while the top division winner squares off against the winner in a five-game divisional playoff. The two other division winners play each other. The league championship series rounds are seven games and so is the World Series.
The league has reserved the right to play wherever is needed. That is, if there's a big breakout somewhere and they need to move the venue, the league will do so. Anything and everything is on the table to get the job done. We could end up seeing a neutral-site World Series.