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California Love: A Southern California-Only Plan to Salvage the 2020 MLB Season

California Love: A Southern California-Only Plan to Salvage the 2020 MLB Season

News of a plan to salvage the 2020 Major League Baseball season, by playing it entirely within the Phoenix metropolitan area surfaced Tuesday, inviting speculation about how MLB might actually pull something like that off. The story came six days after Chicago radio host Matt Spiegel, tweeted claims of a source within baseball leaking another contingency plan to him (see below).

The Spiegel-floated plan is unlikely to come to fruition, as it calls for a 100-game season and a "neutral site" World Series at Dodger Stadium, which would serve as a trade-off for a cancelled All-Star Game at Chavez Ravine.

The Dodgers, favored to win the National League pennant, would play their Fall Classic "road" games at Anaheim or San Diego, should they qualify. Neither of the above mentioned plans are anywhere near realization at this point, but here’s an alternative idea for your consideration: What if you combined the best aspects of the two plans into one? What follows is a plan to salvage the 2020 season:

Normally with 30 clubs, 15 venues are in use most game days. With no fans allowed and no one to clean up after, clubs could turn a park over for a second game rather quickly. Ten ballparks would probably suffice, and a dozen would be more than enough.

For more about the MLB 2020 schedule proposals, please click here and here.

Start with the three stadiums already mentioned (Dodger Stadium, Petco Park and Angels Stadium) and then bring in the four ballparks which are home to the California League's Southern Division clubs; the Inland Empire 66ers, Lake Elsinore Storm, Lancaster Jethawks and Rancho Cucamonga Quakes.

Fill in by drawing from the 25 NCAA Division I venues in the Golden State. Pepperdine is a must-see, as the ballpark sits in an idyllic, picture-postcard setting with an ocean view in Malibu. USC, UCLA, University of San Diego, Cal State-Fullerton and UC-Santa Barbara would also be play.

With the exception of the domed Chase Field, the greater-Phoenix area, because of the heat from June through September, is far from an ideal location. Southern California’s pleasant climate is considerably more conducive to summer baseball. And while every game will be played in empty stadiums, the media may be invited, and if it is, and with Los Angeles being the nation's second largest market, the league could maximize coverage.

The league would have an easier time pitching the idea to the players themselves, via negotiations with the Major League Baseball Players Association, given that the area is infinitely more compelling a location that Phoenix.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly appears on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation.

You can follow Banks, a former writer for NBC and Chicago on Twitter here and his cat on Instagram at this link.