New York Yankees the New World Series Favorites as MLB Restart Plans Ramp Up


Throughout the Major League Baseball off-season and preseason, we’ve seen a trio of teams essentially take turns as the overall favorite: the Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees and Houston Astros. With MLB now ramping up plans to somehow return to action in 2020, the odds are shifting once again.

Despite all the obstacles and question marks, baseball brass are reportedly optimistic that we’ll have some kind of season in 2020, and that it could begin as early as July.

With that in mind, we’ve seen the Yankees now listed at the top of most world series odds listings, backed at about +350, the same or slightly more favorable than the Dodgers. Sites like SBD have seen the Yankees odds slashed recently, mostly due to the extra time the shutdown has afforded the team to recover from the rash of injuries that hit them during spring training. The Yankees had a blockbuster offseason, and their roster upgrade now puts them on par with the Dodgers and Astros.

The Bronx bombers have an advantage over both those teams however. They don’t have the recent run of postseason failure like the Dodgers, nor the outside distraction of scandal/being everyone’s least favorite team like the Astros. Of course, all this bullishness on the Yankees prospects for 2020 don’t matter if MLB cannot start its season, one that will certainly be severely truncated and extremeley altered. Baseball will only be played this season if the league can overcome the logistical issues and limit the travel as much as they can.

It’s a near certainty that all the games will be played behind closed doors, and possibly only in “neutral venues.” We’ve seen various plans calling for all the games to be confined to one metropolitan area, state or region. Up until Tuesday, when Korea’s KBO commenced their season, Taiwan’s CPBL was the only league in the entire world playing professional baseball in 2020. We spoke with Richard Wang, a FOX Sports MLB Broadcaster/Commentator (TWN) who calls games in the CPBL, and got his insight about what American baseball can learn from the Taiwanese league in order to get play restarted. 

“I recently read the proposal of having three 10-team division while playing in each team’s homefield and I think it is extremely risky to do so,” said Wang.

One of the reasons we are able to have a better result in fighting against COVID-19 here in Taiwan, besides the swift action by government and cooperation by citizens, is because we are a small country with only 14,000 square miles.”

“The maximum travel for any baseball team here, would be from New Taipei City (Guardians) to Tainan (Lions), it’s 180 miles and it takes about 3 and 1/2 hours to drive. The fact that you do not need to spend a lot of hours and mileage on travel is a positive element amidst all these things.”

As it currently stands, baseball is still looking to play their games in home stadiums, but that may prove to be ultimately implausible, given the severity of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States.

The U.S. is far and away the leader in COVID-19 cases and deaths, and we’ll really need to see much more flattening of the curve, and a substantial decrease in the numbers before we can get big time team sports off the ground again here.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports, which is partnered with News NowBanks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly contributes to WGN TVSports IllustratedChicago Now and SB Nation.

You can follow Banks, a former writer for Chicago Tribune.comon Twitter and his cat on Instagram.

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