A Shorter Summer?
Baseball is a quintessential Summer sport and is THE sport of the season. This is fact, and I know it is fact because The Sandlot told me so.
This picture makes me feel all old and nostalgic.
Now, baseball may be THE sport of summer, but the Major League Baseball Season goes from Spring Training in early February (which is actually Winter) to the World Series in early November (even though its referred to as October Baseball). That’s a lot longer than summer. There are 162 games per team in the regular season, anywhere from 12-19 games in Spring Training, and a team needs either 11 or 12 wins in the Postseason depending on if they’re a Wild Card team. While an extreme long shot, a team could potentially end up playing 202 games in one year. That’s a lot. Too much many would argue, especially when an average game lasts around 3.5 hours. Basically, if you were to take all the baseball played and make it continuous it would last for almost an entire month.
Why am I mentioning all this?
Because on his weekly appearance on ESPN 1000, Anthony Rizzo said the following:
“I think we play too much baseball.” -MLB Superstar Anthony Rizzo
He would go on to say that he thinks this would need to happen gradually over time, and players would need to be willing to take pay cuts for playing less games. It was immediately met with the full gamut of responses on Sports Twitter from praise to calling him an overpaid athlete who shouldn’t be complaining about playing a game for a living.
I can see where he’s coming from. He’s just coming off the 10-Day DL, and the Cubs just had a game postponed because it was supposed to be in the 20’s in the later innings, which is a temperature baseball was never meant to be played in. (Remember, its the sport of SUMMER). You wouldn’t be chomping at the bit to play a bunch of baseball in the current conditions either.
One of the arguments he’s making here is: shorter season = fewer injuries. This is probably true, but only if there is more time for rest and recovery between series. I think this is a great reason, but not the best argument for why the season should be shortened.
As of this writing, a total of 24 games had been postponed throughout MLB since the beginning of the season. That’s 24 games in 2.5 weeks of play. Some because of rain, some because of snow, some because it was just too damn cold. And that doesn’t include the games that have experienced rain and weather delays in the middle of them.
Making the most out of a bad situation … pic.twitter.com/wDyCTT9MeY
— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) April 14, 2018
This is a photo of the Baseball Team from Cleveland playing the popular video game Fortnite on the outfield scoreboard during a rain delay that would eventually lead to this game against the Blue Jays being Postponed. It doesn’t matter what city you’re in, the weather in April is fast changing, and often shit. The teams in the South fare much better than the teams in the North, but there are a lot more teams in the North than the South so you can’t just load all the games down there for the month. UNLESS…
You don’t start Spring Training until the Spring.
Take roughly 30-40 games out of the season, move spring training forward a few weeks and go from there. This would also allow MLB to mandate at least one day off per week so players can do a better job at staying healthy. More star players playing at higher levels = more ticket sales for the games being played. I have no evidence to back this up, but I imagine overall season ticket sales would be roughly the same even with a shorter schedule. Sure teams would lose ad revenue from fewer days of televised games, but that’s where the pay cuts to player’s salaries come in.
Is this an extreme change? Yes. Will it happen? Of course not. Should it be discussed at length this offseason? Absolutely. Because at this point, any progress is good progress for America’s Pastime. Especially if it wants to keep that title.