Yankees and Phillies as division rivals? MLB's shortened season could feature weird divisions

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If Major League Baseball is able to pull off its quarantined version of a season, fans could see some drastically altered divisions. Have you ever wanted to see the New York Yankees beat up on the Pittsburgh Pirates for multiple games? In 2020, you may get that chance.

One of the rumored MLB season ideas revolves around eliminating the American League and National League in 2020 and instead using the Grapefruit and Cactus leagues as their replacements. In this scenario, teams would be split up in much different divisions, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today.

Nightengale included a sketch of what the new divisions could look like. It’s unclear whether this is the exact alignment MLB is considering, or if Nightengale is using team proximity to make his best guess at how this proposal would work.

Here’s what he included in his article:



There’s no guarantee this will happen. Nightengale is quick to note the league is considering many options at this point. The Grapefruit and Cactus league plan is one of them.

Those are some unique divisions, though. It would be fun to see the Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies duke it out more often, but watching the Yankees destroy the Detroit Tigers and Pirates would be less fun. These alignments would also hurt a few surprise teams like the Chicago White Sox and Cincinnati Reds. Those teams could have taken advantage of weaker divisions under a normal alignment. In this scenario, they would have to fend off the Los Angeles Dodgers. Also, the Grapefruit League South looks particularly tough.

MLB’s spring league division plan makes some sense

If MLB is hoping to hold a season in 2020, the Grapefruit-Cactus league idea makes some sense. The only way games are likely to be played in 2020 is if MLB tries to quarantine teams. Under this plan, games would only be played at spring training sites in Arizona and Florida. It would be MLB’s way of trying to limit the spread of coronavirus outside those states.

There are plenty of reasons to question whether that’s even a good idea. Any game would feature more than 50 people once you factor in both teams, coaching staffs, trainers, umpires, essential stadium personnel and broadcasters. To expect all those people to remain quarantined, and away from family, for the duration of a season doesn’t seem feasible. Still, if MLB is going to play games in 2020, this is likely how it would have to happen.

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