Like every other major sport in America, Major League Baseball will be suspending operations, which will impact the Los Angeles Dodgers’ schedule.
Major League Baseball released a statement on Thursday that the league would be suspending the rest of Spring Training and delaying Opening Day for at least two weeks in response to the growing concerns of the coronavirus. Fans of the Los Angeles Dodgers will have to wait to see the new-look Boys in Blue in action.
Delaying the season two weeks pushes the potential Opening Day date back to April 9. However, Minor League Baseball, which was set to begin in the first week of April, also announced it would be pushing back its Opening Day without setting a specific timeframe.
There is no real indication of whether or not this will just last until April 9 or if it will last longer. That is a decision that has not been made yet and will likely be made as we get closer to April 9. We simply do not know what the timeframe looks like at this time.
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What we do know is that this is probably going to impact the number of games that the MLB plays this season. While the league could certainly push the season back another two weeks, it could become a challenge playing until the middle of November in the World Series in outdoor ballparks.
As a result, and while nothing has been confirmed, this could result in the MLB slashing games from the season. The year starting on April 9 would result in the Los Angeles Dodgers missing 12 games to start the year.
However, the team was scheduled to be on the road on April 9 against the St. Louis Cardinals in the last game of a four-game series. The problem with a set date to start the year is how it fits in specific teams’ schedules.
For some teams, that is either the last game of a series (like the Dodgers and Cardinals) or is an off-day. For other teams, such as the Philadelphia Phillies and Cincinnati Reds, April 9 is the first day of a new series.
We looked at the schedules of all 30 teams; 10 teams are off on April 9, 12 are playing their first game of a series and eight teams are playing the last game of a series. The best method of action, in this case, would be to start the year on Friday, April 10, simply removing the first game of the series from those teams who start a series on April 9.
The problem with that is that teams are going to be missing a different number of games. Some will be missing 12, some 13 and some 14. The best way to counter this would be to find teams that are missing 13 games and shave one game against each other throughout the year and the same thing with teams missing 12 games, shaving two total games.
This could lead to two-day off periods or random off days in the middle of the week in between series, but that is easily manageable. As a result, we would have a season consisting of 148 games.
Either way, the MLB has to define a set day to start the league and if the postponement is only two weeks then that start day should be April 10. The league is going to have to go through the same process on any other day they choose as well.
So at most, I would expect a 148-game regular season. It will be too difficult to simply move the year back or play the games that were missed after what would have been the end of the season. The smartest route is to just ax some games.
But that is the ‘best-case scenario’. The league always could return to action on April 10 and play in front of empty stadiums, but the delay could even last longer, we really do not know right now.
If the league wanted to start on May 1 then the Los Angeles Dodgers would have somewhere around a 130-game schedule. If it lasted all the way until June 1 then the Los Angeles Dodgers would have somewhere around a 104-game season.
All we can do right now is play it by ear and do our part to make sure that Dodger baseball returns in no time and that we can get this global health crisis under control.
For more information about COVID-19, visit the CDC’s website or the website for your state’s Department of Health.