Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Nighttime Baseball Is Slowly Taking Over The Game

The White Sox hosted the Indians on Sunday night -- a made-for-ESPN event. It was billed as Opening Night.


First of all, it's Opening Day, not Opening Night.

Second....well, it's Opening Day, not Opening Night.

You don't start a baseball season at night. In fact, you shouldn't start it any later than 2:00 in the afternoon, although several teams broke that rule on Monday, too.

Ironically, the Texas Rangers, who play most of their home games at night due to the heat, opened their home schedule Monday during the day. Even the night owls in Arlington got it right on Opening Day -- so why can't so many others?

Night baseball is a necessary evil, and I'm okay with that. I even like attending the occasional evening contest. But we're already phasing out day games at a rapid enough rate: Gone are day playoff games, for example. And Saturday afternoons are slowly being replaced with Saturday nights. The only safe haven for daytime baseball, it seemed, was during the opening couple of weeks of the season, when most teams loaded up on day games -- especially the northern cities (the domeless ones), to combat the chilly April nights.

So now even that is being infiltrated by night baseball.

The Tigers didn't used to play their first night game until well into April, and only a few for the month, period. But now they play a night game Friday the 14th, and then they're off and running into the crisp evening air.

The more I gnash my teeth about it, the more I'm convinced the Cubs had it right all those years, and the more I wish they had never installed those darned lights in Wrigley Field. To FORCE day games is a delicious thought.

Again, I don't want to sound as if I hate the night game. Because I don't. You have to have them. This isn't 1935 anymore -- I understand that. All I'm saying is, can't baseball squeeze a little more room for the afternoon contest played beneath the summer's toasty sun? Isn't there a demand out there for games played and completed before the 5:00 rush hour traffic begins?

Can't ESPN suck it up and open the season with a Sunday afternoon match?

We'd watch -- I promise.

And a whole lot of fans would be saved from frostbite.


Blogger Ian C. said...

I wish there were more day games too. That's the first thing I look for when the Tigers schedule comes out.

What I don't get is the lack of Saturday games. That just seems like an ideal time for a day game, and I would think it'd be good for the restaurants, clubs, and bars surrounding Comerica Park. Go to the game, and then hang out in the city.

2:45 PM  
Blogger Greg Eno said...

The only thing I can think of, Ian, is that they're taking your approach, but in reverse: hang out, have dinner, THEN take in the ballgame.

Ya think?

2:48 PM  
Blogger Lee Panas said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:54 PM  
Blogger Lee Panas said...

They've had quite a few Thursday afternoon games the last few years but not a lot of Saturday afternoon games. It doesn't matter as much to me because I live in Mass
but it does seem backwards. I agree opening day should be during the day.
And all of the late night post season games are a HUGE pain in the butt.

11:56 PM  
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