Major League Baseball Considering an All-Florida and Arizona Season
Baseball is back. At least in the hearts and minds of its adoring public. Or on video screens as actual Major Leaguers battle it out with joysticks insteads of bats. Or on TV re-runs of historical classics.
But, if the real thing returns this season, it might be a whole new ballgame. Major League Baseball is said to be considering one plan with teams grouped into different divisions, based on the geographical locales of each team's spring training site. Conveniently, 15 of the 30 big league teams train in Florida, the other 15 in Arizona. Here's how the alignment could look:
FLORIDA GRAPEFRUIT LEAGUE
- NORTH: Yankees, Phillies, Blue Jays, Tigers, Pirates
- SOUTH: Red Sox, Twins, Braves, Rays, Orioles
- EAST: Nats, Astros, Mets, Cardinals, Marlins
ARIZONA CACTUS LEAGUE
- NORTHEAST: Cubs, Giants, Diamondbacks, Rockies, Athletics
- WEST: Dodgers, White Sox, Reds, Indians, Angels
- NORTHWEST: Brewers, Padres, Mariners, Rangers, Royals
With this alignment, the Padres might have a shot to win their division.
Games would include no fans at the ballpark and feature match-ups of teams in Florida and Arizona, respectively, in order to limit travel and decrease the possiblity of spreading COVID-19. If this change comes to pass, I have these suggestions to add:
- Houston should be required to trade some of its players to teams in Arizona, so EVERY pitcher will have the chance to bean an Astros batter.
- The outfield walls at Mesa, Arizona's Sloan Park, where the Chicago Cubs play, should include ivy to give it a Wrigley Field vibe.
- There should be a "COVID-19 Night" at the park. Similar to the day each year in which all players wear #42 to honor Jackie Robinson, except players would sport #19 and fans would make donations to aid ongoing pandemic relief efforts.
- All Florida-based games would have a "Florida Man Night," with half-price admission if you bring a clipping of a real headline like "Florida Man Denies Drinking and Driving, Says He Only Swigged Bourbon at Stop Signs"
- The team that finishes dead-last in each state should be replaced by the top two minor league franchises
- Every game in Florida should include a seventh-inning stretch with this Eric Clapton classic rock tune:
- To make it fair, Arizona tilts would include this one from Mark Lindsay of Paul Revere & the Raiders:
If this Florida and Arizona thing works, maybe Major League Baseball could accept bids from other states for future seasons. I’ll get more seventh-inning stretch music ready, just in case.