The Pittsburgh Pirates and the rest of Major League Baseball are anxiously awaiting the start of the 2020 season. Here is a look at what the divisions could potentially look like in a modified season.
Right now, there is really no telling when the Pittsburgh Pirates may take the field again. Every time a start date gets brought up, more evidence comes out that suggests that said date will not work. Still, there will likely be baseball in some capacity by the end of 2020.
One idea that is being bounced around is for the teams to be isolated in Arizona and play games in empty Spring Training facilities. Under this structure, players would have to isolate themselves for the entirety of the season and during games would sit six feet apart from one another.
There has been backlash already with players being concerned about leaving their families for that long during these times. Not only that but also the concern about someone not following the guidelines set in place for player safety. Regardless, any possible season will likely have to be in some sort of nonpublic capacity.
For now let’s say the Pittsburgh Pirates and the rest of Major League Baseball report to Arizona and/or Florida for an isolated season. According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, if this is the plan, then the teams will compete in their Spring Training divisions and not their American or National League divisions. Nightengale said:
"The plan would have all 30 teams returning to their spring training sites in Florida and Arizona, playing regular-season games only in those two states and without fans in an effort to reduce travel and minimize risks in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.The divisions would be realigned based on the geography of their spring training homes."
This would mean that the Pittsburgh Pirates would be in a division with the New York Yankees, the Philadelphia Phillies, Toronto Blue Jays, and Detroit Tigers. This would be really interesting and each team in this division would be a good storyline against the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Yankees obviously having former Bucco Gerrit Cole, who signed for a record amount this offseason. Then playing the Phillies would bring back the old cross-state rivalry when the teams were in the NL East together. The Tigers have long been considered the Pittsburgh Pirates American League rival. Lastly, there’s the Toronto Blue Jays, who the Pittsburgh Pirates took Ben Cherington and Assistant GM Steve Sanders from.
Furthermore, with all the talk of changes coming in the next CBA, now might be a good time to experiment with different divisional matchups. The next CBA is going to introduce the designated hitter into the National League. The league very well could take it a step further and completely restructure the league now that the DH is not the determining difference between the American and National League.
If the league rolls with this plan it could lead to a lot of entertaining games for the Pittsburgh Pirates. The players and fans will get a chance to see other teams they do not normally get to compete against and it could lead to changes down the road with realignment. This is an outside of the box idea that seems logical.