It’s a double whammy for minor league baseball schedule makers, ISI’s Anton Dahbura, Boston Globe

April 9, 2020

Barry Chin/Global Staff

The work output, and lack of it, from a squad of applied mathematics undergraduates in Baltimore are all the proof you need of the heightened state of uncertainty that swirls around baseball’s minor leagues.

Members of the Johns Hopkins Minor League Scheduling Research Team are trying to create a new batch of pandemic-shortened 2020 schedules for eight Triple A, Double A, Single A, and Rookie leagues. They’re working with a moving target of start dates that begin no earlier than July.

That’s in progress, but what’s stuck in neutral is work on a schedule for the 2021 season, a schedule that should have been in the hands of leagues and teams for review months ago.

Turmoil from the contentious negotiations between Minor League Baseball and Major League Baseball over a new operating agreement that could reshuffle leagues, teams within leagues, and, significantly, reduce by 42 the number of total teams has rendered that 2021 exercise of complex algorithms and heavy-duty computer programming virtually useless until the conflict can be resolved.

“It’s been quite a 1-2 punch for Minor League Baseball,” said Tony Dahbura, who oversees the scheduling team and is also executive director of the university’s Information Security Institute. “All sports are reeling, but I’d say minor league baseball stands out.”

The work on the 2020 schedules comes at the behest of MiLB, which has postponed games officially only through this month. Now, MiLB is seeking to obtain the fairest and longest schedule possible — as soon as it’s safe to return.

“In most cases, what we are doing is, the leagues are saying, ‘OK, what if we pick up on July 1? With the current schedule, what would it look like?’ ” said Dahbura. “We’re looking at how we can make use of off days and how we can make use of time at the end of the season, after Labor Day when we would normally have the first round of the postseason.

Read more at Boston Globe.


JHU Information Security Institute