May 16, 2020
Does Bryce Harper want to be baseball commissioner someday?
On a late-night Instagram post early Saturday morning, the Phillies outfielder had a pretty fully-flushed out plan as to how Major League Baseball can structure it's late-starting season.
The Harper plan differs from the plan MLB has proposed to the players in a variety of ways, including more games (135 instead of 82), seven-inning double headers, an East-West conference split (like the NBA), and a College World Series-style playoff system. Here's the full post (we'll break it down after):
View this post on Instagram
Baseball Season:⠀ Beyond the health and safety which comes first for all players, staff, workers, fans, and families. ⠀ ⠀ Just an idea I have been thinking about. ⠀ ⠀ East/West like NBA. ⠀ ⠀ July 31 days⠀ August 31 days ⠀ September 30 days ⠀ October 31 days ⠀ November 15 days ⠀ 135 games. ⠀ Off day every 2 weeks on a Monday and Sunday double header 7 innings. ⠀ ⠀ 30 players. 6 man rotation. Save arms. IF pitchers wanted this. If not no big deal. DH and any other ideas possible.⠀ ⠀ Playoffs ⠀ 2 week World Series. Like Super bowl week. ⠀ ⠀ 10 teams round robin format College World Series kinda style at the new Texas Stadium or whatever stadium/ stadiums are best. 3 game series. You win the series you move on. You lose you play the other loser in a 1 game wildcard. Winner of that moves on. Other team is out. ⠀ Or you could play it in Vegas so you have the Strip Hotels and could use one hotel for all the guys and contain possibly? ⠀ ⠀ 2 teams left 7 game World Series. They get 2 days off before the series. With those 2 days off you do a All Star Game and homerun derby. Could do the MLB awards as well at that time. ⠀ ⠀ Open this up on all platforms. No blackouts. Open it for everybody to watch. ⠀ Then you back up season the next 2 years. May 1st 2021. April 1st 2022. Maybe I’m crazy. Just fun to think about and throw around ideas🤪
Some of Harper's ideas could actually help save baseball, a sport that — as we discussed Friday — would greatly suffer from any kind of lost 2020 season. His ideas have staying power, and an experimental shortened 2020 season is a great proving ground. A few more interesting ideas from the Harper Plan:
• A two-week World Series, like Super Bowl Week
Making the playoffs a condensed event like this, having 10 teams play in a round-robin at a neutral site with a double-elimination format would certainly add some spice to the end of the season, as it competes with the NFL for eyeballs each fall.
• Open this up on all platforms. No blackouts. Open it for everybody to watch. ⠀
An interesting idea that would probably be unlikely, as it would take TV rights money away from owners. Still, having everyone able to watch the baseball playoffs across "all platforms" would certainly take away a barrier for fans to watch.
• 6-man rotations
This makes sense for Harper's proposed 135-game season with double-headers. A condensed schedule would almost require teams to have more starters, which a 30-person expanded roster could provide. Plus, no reason the Phils can't skip someone to still start Aaron Nola every five days.
• All-Star Game during World Series Week
As currently constructed, the MLB All-Star Game is played on a random weekday in July. Though pure baseball fans love the event and would watch it anytime, casual fans are probably not circling the date on the calendar. Would an All-Star Game, Home Run Derby and MLB Awards held two days before the World Series in the fall package the game together so it can hold onto center-stage? The NFL tries it with the Pro Bowl, but the Pro Bowl is awful no matter when it's held. The unique thing about an MLB All-Star Game is everyone can play at full strength without much injury concern. The question is if the players would be into it.Harper also suggests that baseball push back the start the next two seasons to ease it back into April, instead of giving players what would be a very short offseason (assuming his plan is used with 15 regular season games and the playoffs held in November).
Harper is a thinking man. His ideas are quite interesting and some of them are pretty good. The biggest caveat here, as it is with the actual plan the owners are presenting to the players, is the health and safety of the players. Which is why Harper opens his IG post with: "Beyond the health and safety which comes first for all players, staff, workers, fans, and families. Just an idea I have been thinking about."
Making baseball more fun and exciting — Harper's got a few really great points. Making it safe enough to resume this season... Harper will direct you to the CDC for that one.
Here's hoping Harper runs for some kind of office some day. We need ideas like this right now!
Follow Evan on Twitter:@evan_macy
Like us on Facebook: PhillyVoice Sports