The pandemic has affected everyone and distorted the usual way of doing things. Some businesses closed while others were invented in the pandemic. This has led to the ‘new normal’ which is using standard operating procedures everywhere you go and anytime.
The pandemic caused an unprecedented shortened regular season of the Major League Baseball which expanded the postseason from 10 to 16 teams in 2020. This has given over half of the teams a chance at a World Series crown.
Brace yourself for big changes in the 2020 postseason, though some aspects will look familiar. Are you excited to know more about the 2020 MLB post season? Get comfortable and keep reading.
The Shortened Season Ends with a Sprint to Sort out 16-Team Playoff Field
During a normal MLB season, the first week of June sees the arrival of Game 58. Also, around this time, the weather is warmer, all-star balloting has started in full gear and teams have started drawing conclusions regarding what they have on their rosters and what is lacking.
This means that about two-thirds of the regular season remains to be played. However, in this schedule shredding, star-crossed and pandemic-shortened season, Game 58 for most games takes us to the final weekend.
This arrival feels both miraculous and premature given everything this sport has endured to get there. As much as the weather has turned cooler, a signal of the approaching postseason but amidst the playoff races to be seen, desperation has set in.
Seeding in this season is no small matter having all eight-first round series happening at the home stadium of the better-seeded team in three consecutive days. AL first-round series are scheduled to begin first followed by the NL series the next day.
Here is how seeding will work this year. In each league, the top three seeds go to the winners of each division, following record. The fourth seed which has a benefit of home-field advantage will go to the second place team with the best record.
In the same way, the fifth and sixth seeds go to the second-place teams while the seventh and eighth seeds will go to those teams having the next-best records, irrespective of division.
The format of the MLB season has also been twisted in this year’s season. Ties will not be settled with Game 163 as it has always been. Rather, all ties will be settled mathematically starting with head-to-head records, if applicable.
If not, they will be broken down by intradivisional records. (Note that Three-way ties would be settled the same way starting with head-to-head records among the three teams after which they default to intradivisional records).
The 2020 MLB season has another chaotic contingency that hangs over the National League half of the Bracket. Following the current schedule, the Cardinals have to play only 58 Games which are less by two for every other contender due to the two-week interruption owing to the pandemic and the decreasing number of days they have to make up the lost games with doubleheaders.
If the Cardinals qualify for the postseason on the winning percentage basis, the two games won’t be made up for the sake of seeding.
But if the two outstanding games are the difference between losing a playoff berth and Cardinals securing, they would have to play a doubleheader’s one or both ends at Detroit a day prior to the scheduled end of the season.
This scenario will affect seeding throughout the bracket’s first half. Consequently, it would mean none of the NL playoff teams know where they will play in the first round.
Can Fans Attend?
Yes, for the very first time in 2020, fans are allowed to attends MLB games. However, there are a limited number of tickets for both World Series and NLCS games.
Since Texas is in Phase 3 of its reopening plan, it will allow a maximum of 50% capacity in its open air stadia. Therefore, fans have to observe SOPs like social distancing. Find more about MLB safety here.
The Novel Corona virus has affected almost the entire process 2020 MLB Baseball Playoffs are being played. While a normal MLB season saw the arrival of Game 58 around the first week of June, the pandemic-affected season sees Game 58 in the schedule’s final weekend.
It is no doubt that most baseball players and fans have been disappointed by pandemic.