After a season with only seven teams, the FIBS (Italian Baseball and Softball Federation) has proposed to have a twelve-team league next year. Plans were presented today.
In a meeting today, FIBS president Andrea Marcon presented the plans of expansion for the Serie A1. This year, the league would start with eight teams but after Rimini fell away because almost all players left, the season was played with seven teams.
The presented plans show an expansion of four teams to make it a twelve-team league with two six-team divisions. The four additional teams will enter by placing a request that has to be approved of course.
The regular season will take place with two divisions. Every weekend, a series of two games will be played by each team. At the end of the regular season, the top two teams of each division will continue to a so-called Scudetto Pool (championship round). The four qualified teams will play three games per weekend. The two teams that will finish on top of the Scudetto Pool will advance to the best-of-seven championship series.
The eight teams that do not make it to the Scudetto Pool, will play a kind of consolation round, name Salvation Pool, in which the results of the regular season will be taken with them. The team that will finish in last place, will go down to the Serie A2.
Opening Day of the 2020 season will be played over the weekend of 10-11 April 2020 with the first phase ending on 20 June. The second phase, both Scudetto Pool and Salvation Pool, will start on June 26th-27th and the Italian Baseball Series will take place from August 7 to 19 (with the series that will develop on the Friday-Saturday scheme, Wednesday-Thursday-Friday, Tuesday -Wednesday).
All clubs that attended the meeting have agreed on the new plans.
You can wonder if an expansion to twelve teams will lift the quality of play. The 2019 Serie A1 was vastly dominated by Unipol Sai Bologna that finished on top of the standings with a six-game lead over runner up Nettuno Baseball City. San Marino and Parmaclima Parma managed to stay close to Nettuno as all three still had a winning record. There was a gap between Parma and number five Rangers Redipuglia of three games. Rangers Redipuglia and the teams that trailed them, all had a losing record. One can wonder if the pool with talent is big enough to support a twelve-team league. And since Italian baseball also has its financial problems, most of the clubs will not have the financial resources to hire foreign players like Fortitudo Bologna is doing.