American Association Releases 2020 Schedule
In American Association Daily, Robert Pannier looks at the 2020 American Association schedule, which was released on Thursday. This includes a look at the top series, an early start to the season and the likely All-Star Game venue.
2020 American Association Schedule Announced
The American Association released the schedule for 2020 and it starts with some exciting news for fans who have long wanted a longer schedule. The season has traditionally began on a Thursday sometime around the 19th, and this year will begin on May 19 as well, but that is on a Tuesday. Instead of a 100 game schedule in 109 days, the regular season will be 112 days long.
The early start features five games, including the St. Paul Saints opening the defense of their league title with a three game series against the Lincoln Saltdogs. The first series of the season also features a rematch of the South Division championship series as the Kansas City T-Bones welcome the Sioux City Explorers to town for three games. That should dispel any concerns some may have had that the T-Bones would not be playing in Kansas City in 2020.
The most interesting part of the early schedule is that the Milwaukee Milkmen and Chicago Dogs will not take to the field until Friday, May 22. Both teams will have three additional days of spring training before getting underway. The Dogs welcome the Sioux Falls Canaries, who will play three with Gary Southshore to begin the year, while the Milkmen open in Gary.
A Balanced Schedule
One part of the schedule that is good to see return is the balanced schedule. Teams will play a 100 game schedule with three series against each team in their division and a home and away series with each team in the other division.
The top two teams in each division will qualify for the post-season. There will also be an All-Star break from July 20-21. The site of the game was not named, but it is expected that the Chicago Dogs will host the mid-summer event at Impact Field.
Early Season Losers
The schedule looks to be a tough one for the Lincoln Saltdogs and their new manager. They begin the year in St. Paul, then travel to Sioux City. Nothing like opening with six games against the two teams that were in the championship series last year. The Saltdogs then go to Fargo-Moorhead to take on the RedHawks, another playoff team from 2019, before heading to Gary to close out the month. They then welcome the RedHawks to start June. At least they will have their two series against Fargo-Moorhead out of the way right off.
The Saints also have a grueling May. After three against Lincoln, they welcome Kansas City, then go to Winnipeg before traveling to Fargo to close out the month. This road to a repeat is not at easy one early on.
Early Season Winners
The team that should have a great opportunity to jump out in front is the Gary Southshore RailCats. They open against Sioux Falls, then take on Milwaukee at home, then travel to Milwaukee before welcoming Lincoln. Those three teams combined to go 67 games under .500. They open with 13 games in 13 days, but this team could very well be 10-3 and on their way to a trip to the playoffs.
By Robert Pannier