Friday, November 06, 2009

Baseball in November? It MUST Not Happen Again

As I write this, we’ve managed to elect two new governors in this country, and scores of other officials locally—-yet we haven’t crowned a baseball champion.

That’s right—-Election Day came and went and the World Series was still going on.

Now, it’s likely that by the time you read this, either the Phillies or the Yankees will have emerged triumphant. But there was no winner as November 4th dawned, and there just seems to be something inherently wrong with that.

Late isn’t so great.

If the Series goes the full seven games (the Yanks lead 3-2 as I write this), it will end on November 5, which will officially be the latest any MLB champion has been determined. If the Yankees wrap it up in six, it will tie the 2001 World Series (Arizona beat New York in Game 7 on 11/4/01) for lateness.

What if the Colorado Rockies had managed to emerge from the National League playoffs? Can you imagine WS games in Denver in November? You might have to wait until the following spring to find out how the thing turns out.

The World Baseball Classic helped push Opening Day back to the end of the first week of April, which has, in turn, put the World Series into November. And this is with most of the LDS and LCS series going nowhere near their maximum length. If those earlier series had gone longer, the World Series would be threatening to hit double digits—-as in November 10, 11, etc.

But you know what? Baseball’s Opening Day being April 6 or 7 was the norm, and not too long ago. But that was in the day of the traditional Sunday doubleheader, which has gone the way of the dinosaur, and flip phones.

You’d have a DH—-and I don’t mean designated hitter—-every Sunday afternoon in just about every ballpark in the big leagues. It was as American as the sport itself. So you could start a season as late as April 10-12, for example, and still fit the 162-game schedule in before too many days occurred in October.

Of course, there was no third tier of playoffs, like you have now thanks to Bud Selig’s Wild Card.

But knowing that the post-season, from LDS to WS, can now take about one full month to complete, I think it’s time to look at pushing back Opening Day into late March.

Look, I’m not crazy about that, either, but I’m willing to concede some games in March. It’s the lesser of two evils: early season games in March, or World Series games in November? I’ll take Option A, please. BUT—-and this is a biggie—-let’s be smart and schedule as many March games as possible in either domed stadiums or warm weather climates. Can’t we have a small modicum of common sense?

I’m not a meteorologist, nor an editor at The Farmer’s Almanac, so for all I know the temperatures in early November don’t vary all that much from late October. But two things: a) they MIGHT vary quite a bit; and b) who cares if they vary at all—-baseball simply wasn’t meant to be played in November!! Unless it’s in places like Venezuela.

I admit that I’m a traditionalist. Guilty as charged. But is it too much to ask to get baseball over with before trick-or-treating? Will we one day be flipping channels between the World Series and election coverage? (It could have happened this year; it was only by luck that this year’s Election Day fell on the World Series off day).

And what of post-season nicknames for playoff and World Series heroes of the 21st century?

What do we call Alex Rodriguez from now on? Mr. Octember? Or do we go the hyphenated route: Mr. October-November?

Seriously, this is nuts. Since MLB absolutely refuses to hold doubleheaders unless they’re forced to because of rainouts, then they MUST start the season earlier. Because one year Mother Nature is going to have herself a little fun and wreak all sorts of havoc on a November World Series.

Play Snowball!


Blogger The Colonel said...

Bud Selig is an idiot.
The breaks between games also takes starting rotations down to 3 guys, tops - which shifts the balance to a team with one or two dominant starters. You play 6 or 7 games a week in the regular season, why play 4 games a week in the postseason? It's not the same game.
They need more day games also. But supposedly TV dictates all this.
My 8-year LOVES baseball. Not many kids do anymore, because it's largely inaccessible to them. IF his homework and reading was done, he'd get to stay up until 8:45. The most he ever got to watch is 2 and a half innings of a game!
Silly me, it seems more logical that a game would attract more viewers the final 3 innings, or extra the Tigers-Twins play-in game. Which started at 5:00 EST, and ended in prime-time.
Owners will never go to the traditional doubleheader, two-for-one format. But why not two gates on one day? Spare me the players' laments of it being a long day at the office. It likely would make room for a couple more full off-days a season and get the World Series over before Halloween.
I'd send this to Bud - but he'd dismiss it. First, because it comes from a fan - he doesn't give a rats ass what a fan, or fans think. Secondly, it has some logical points, which he clearly wouldn't understand. Because Bud Selig is an idiot.

8:35 AM  
Blogger Joe said...

I agree 100% that they should condense the schedule by bringing back double headers. They don't have to be every weekend, but scatter 6 throughout the season and we take a week off of the schedule.
I also agree with what The Colonel says about fewer off days in the post season. Play the game. I know they are tired. I know that TV dictates the schedule, but these guys play 6-7 days a week all season. They can do it again to finish what they started.

9:05 PM  
Blogger Michael David said...

Greg-it's like your reading my mind, man. This is scary. I've been preaching the double-header deal for a few years now. It would solve a lot of problems. Having a game snowed-out in April is no fun, and we won't see the best baseball in the World Series in sub-zero weather. I'm glad the Metrodome and the Twins are divorced, but think they are crazy to put an open ballpark in Minnesota.

12:47 AM  
Blogger Greg Eno said...


Thanks for the comment! However, Minny had an open air stadium from 1960-81 and I don't remember too many problems. I'm ALWAYS for open air stadiums. Sadly, I think the DH is a thing of the past.

Heaven forbid!!

1:29 AM  
Blogger xman said...

I'll continue on the Colonel's point that the playoff schedule is far worse than the occasional DH in extending the season. There are too many days off between series and too many days off within a series.
TV is dictating the schedule, with far too many days off, which, I would argue, actually reduces momentum for the VIEWER, who has to keep up with playoffs in between college games, Monday Night Football and the latest episode of Dancing with the Stars.
It affects the outcome as well: The Yankees may not have prevailed in the W.S. if they had to play the way they did during the season: with five starters (or even four). The Tigers were out of momentum with a 9 game wait in 2006.
In the modern world, there are almost no stadiums left which have to share with football teams, so there should be no conflict on use...get the thing moving and become THE talk of sports for 3 weeks...rather than second-fiddle for 5 weeks.

4:43 PM  

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