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Report: MLB season could include electronic strike zone, 7-inning doubleheaders

Jonathan Daniel / Getty Images Sport / Getty

If baseball does return in 2020, expect it to look much different.

With Major League Baseball trying to determine if, and where, games will be played this season, the league and the Players Association have discussed a number of ideas over the last several weeks that would allow games to be played safely during the coronavirus pandemic, sources told Jeff Passan of ESPN.

Among the ideas:

  • Implementing an electronic strike zone in order to allow the plate umpire to distance himself from players
  • No mound visits
  • Seven-inning doubleheaders
  • Increased use of mic'd-up players
  • Players sitting in empty stands instead of the dugout

The proposals are all part of a larger discussion that could lead to the entire league being played in Arizona. Sources told Passan that teams could potentially live in isolation, traveling only from their hotels to ballparks in the Phoenix area in order to play as many games as possible beginning as early as May.

Those around the game have stressed the importance of thinking outside the box in 2020. Numerous managers have spoken in favor of doubleheaders, while Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner advocated for a Home Run Derby to decide any game that extends past the 10th inning.

The use of an electronic strike zone has been something that baseball has been experimenting with in the minor leagues. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has been in favor of cutting down on mound visits in order to help with the pace of play. Eliminating mound visits altogether would also allow the league to potentially experiment with communication equipment between pitchers and catchers in the wake of the Houston Astros' sign-stealing scandal.

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