MLB is debating several different plans for starting the 2020 season, including having teams centrally located in a variety of “hubs” without fans. Miller Park should be one of these hubs.
There is increasing optimism that we will have an MLB season in 2020, which is great news. The details of starting that season are still to be determined, but seemingly everything is on the table to get this season going. The first plan we heard of had all 30 teams in Arizona playing at Chase Field and spring training complexes, but that one probably won’t work.
The latest iterations that are out there have MLB considering have three main hubs in Arizona, Texas, and Florida. Then there’s also the reports that MLB could realign into three, 10-team divisions for 2020 and also possibly use up to 10-12 different hubs to start the season.
One hub doesn’t seem like enough, and three hubs also doesn’t seem like enough, at least if you want to get games in for every team almost every day. Having several hubs makes the most logistical sense for getting every team to play as many games as possible.
Provided the state of Wisconsin is open and capable of carrying this out, the Milwaukee Brewers home, Miller Park, should be one of these hubs. Here’s why.
Reason No. 1: It’s hosted neutral teams before
In 2007, the Indians and Angels were scheduled to play a series in Cleveland, but a massive snowstorm made it impossible to play. Instead of cancelling three games, MLB moved the series to a neutral location, Miller Park.
In 2008, the Cubs and Astros were scheduled to play in Houston, but Hurricane Ike made that series impossible to play, and they moved the games to Milwaukee.
In 2017, the Brewers were supposed to play the Marlins in Miami, but Hurricane Irma was ripping through Florida. So they brought the series to Miller Park and made the Brewers the visiting team on the scoreboard.
MLB has clearly seen Miller Park as a great neutral location for games that can’t be played in other cities for whatever reason. There’s a very big reason for that.
Reason No. 2: Miller Park has a retractable roof
The key for MLB in 2020 is going to be playing as many games as physically possible. With a retractable roof, teams can play all day and all night in Miller Park.
No amount of rain can stop baseball from continually being played at Miller Park. The last thing MLB can afford this year is rainouts, and that won’t be a problem here.
Part of the reason MLB has been looking in Arizona, Texas, and Florida is that all of those stadiums in those states have domes or retractable roofs to protect from constant rain or sweltering heat. It can be inferred that having a roof is probably a prerequisite for MLB to consider a location being a central hub for this shortened season, although MLB hasn’t outright said that.
Reason No. 3: It’s The Only Viable Hub In The Midwest
Baseball is America’s Pastime, and MLB wants the entire country to have baseball. Yes, southern states are hotbeds for baseball and the weather is warmer down there consistently, but by the time the season starts, being in warm weather won’t be a problem. If the season is starting in June or July, every state is going to have warm weather by that point.
It makes sense for MLB to have a hub in the Midwest and make sure this part of the country has baseball that it at least feels like is close to them.
Think about all the other teams in the AL and NL Central divisions. You have the Cubs, Cardinals, Pirates, Reds, Tigers, Twins, Indians, Royals, and White Sox. Think about the stadiums they play in. Every single one of them is an open-air stadium.
Miller Park is the only stadium in the Midwest with a retractable roof. If MLB wants to get in as many games as possible, Miller Park is the only viable option among that group.
In that proposed three division alignment with 10 teams each, that would add the Braves to that group and take out the Pirates. Guess what? The Braves have an open-air stadium as well, meaning the Brewers would still be the only team with a retractable roof in that division.
If MLB is going to align teams in divisions and in hubs by who is geographically close to each other, Miller Park is the only place that makes sense among teams in the central divisions and in the Midwest.
Hopefully, by the time MLB is ready to start the season, the state of Wisconsin will have the coronavirus under control and be ready to loosen restrictions to the point where being a hub for MLB is a logistically viable option. Time will only tell if that will be the case. But if Wisconsin is to the point where medical experts say the state can viably hold professional baseball games when MLB is ready to kick things off, MLB should definitely make Miller Park one of their central hubs.
We may not have fans in the stands to start this season, but if we can at least have Brewers baseball on TV, it’ll be good news. Having them play in Miller Park would be even better, even if Brewers fans can’t be there.