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Thursday, July 13, 2017

The baseball schedule needs more days and fewer games

To this end, both MLB and the Players Association are trying to reduce the scheduling burden.

Besides the four extra off-days, the new CBA addresses other concerns, specifically travel. MLB has created an algorithm that produces an efficiency metric to score the difficulty of each trip based on such variables as travel distance and arrival time. To lower the scores, there will be more day games on getaway days to try to avoid 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. arrival times in the next city and shorter segments on multi-city road excursions.

I suggest going further with a slightly shorter spring training and beginning the season even earlier to gain a few more off-days. There is concern about Northeast weather in particular, but is the temperature much different on, say, March 29 versus April 4?

The sport must get as ironclad as possible that no team play a night game in one city and a day game the next day elsewhere — and the new CBA does address this in a stronger way.

Lastly, a shorter schedule must be considered. Until the early 1960s, there was a 154-game schedule, so there is precedent.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 13, 2017 at 04:30 PM | 76 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: schedule

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   1. Don August(us) Cesar Geronimo Berroa Posted: July 13, 2017 at 04:34 PM (#5493145)
What a bunch of babies.

And, you kids... GET OFF MY LAWN!
   2. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: July 13, 2017 at 04:52 PM (#5493154)
Anytime I think about the schedule, I think about the era of train travel and the 1911 Cardinals train ride to Boston from Philly which was cut short as the train derailed in Bridgeport (Roger Bresnahan was a first responder in a wreck that killed 14 people). Obviously a plane could go down, or a bus (team traveling from Milwaukee to Chicago for a series, etc.) but man that had to be pretty sucky spending so much time on a train.
   3. Renegade (((JE))) Posted: July 13, 2017 at 05:32 PM (#5493170)
Obviously a plane could go down, or a bus (team traveling from Milwaukee to Chicago for a series, etc.) but man that had to be pretty sucky spending so much time on a train.
Who's this chucker?
   4. Tom Nawrocki Posted: July 13, 2017 at 05:38 PM (#5493171)
The sport must get as ironclad as possible that no team play a night game in one city and a day game the next day elsewhere — and the new CBA does address this in a stronger way.


Does this ever happen? The vast majority of day games are either on Saturday or Sunday, when the visiting team was obviously there the day before, or midweek when it's a getaway day. I vaguely recall the Red Sox having to play on a Sunday night ESPN game, then going home for a Patriots' Day game, but that seems like a thing for ESPN to work out.
   5. Kiko Sakata Posted: July 13, 2017 at 07:09 PM (#5493210)
Does this ever happen?


The Cubs are not allowed to play night games in Wrigley Field on Fridays (they used to also be restricted on Saturday and Sunday, but there must be some kind of "nationally televised game" exemption). This would seem the most likely place for it to happen.
   6. ptodd Posted: July 13, 2017 at 07:26 PM (#5493222)
More double headers need to be scheduled. Not fewer days. Used to be we had 1 double header every week or two. For Dh days, expand rosters to 28.

This idiocy calling for fewer games drives me nuts. 162 has been good for almost 60 years.

Want shorter seasons, shorten spring training by half.
   7. TomH Posted: July 13, 2017 at 07:49 PM (#5493232)
Yeah, but there weren't 3.5 rounds of playoffs in 1969!! A cut back to 158 or so could mean we don't play a WS on Halloween.
   8. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 13, 2017 at 07:52 PM (#5493235)
Yeah, but there weren't 3.5 rounds of playoffs in 1969!! A cut back to 158 or so could mean we don't play a WS on Halloween.

It's a direct revenue hit. Never going to happen.

If you could improve pace of play, double headers are the obvious solution.
   9. SoSH U at work Posted: July 13, 2017 at 07:55 PM (#5493236)
I vaguely recall the Red Sox having to play on a Sunday night ESPN game, then going home for a Patriots' Day game, but that seems like a thing for ESPN to work out.


They were already home. They always play a wraparound series before Patriot's Day. Buck Showalter pissed and moaned about the O's having to play the night game, then the Pat's Day game, but it was a silly comment since it was the same teams playing (and it may have been even more of a pain in the ass for the Sox, since the O's were probably closer to the ballpark).
   10. The Yankee Clapper Posted: July 13, 2017 at 08:00 PM (#5493239)
We need more baseball, not less. There hasn't been a real game since Sunday.
   11. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: July 13, 2017 at 08:01 PM (#5493240)
Yeah, but there weren't 3.5 rounds of playoffs in 1969!! A cut back to 158 or so could mean we don't play a WS on Halloween.

It's a direct revenue hit. Never going to happen.

If you could improve pace of play, double headers are the obvious solution.
Unless you mean day-night doubleheaders, which players hate, then there's the same revenue hit there. And we'd need to improve pace of play massively to make classic doubleheaders a good idea. 7½ hours at the park is kind of tough, even if you're a huge fan.
   12. QLE Posted: July 13, 2017 at 08:11 PM (#5493243)
More double headers need to be scheduled. Not fewer days. Used to be we had 1 double header every week or two.


Historically speaking, was it ever really common to schedule them? One of the regulars here has examined the historic schedules and has claimed that virtually all doubleheaders prior to WWII were a product of rainouts and games that needed rescheduling, rather than being prepared ahead of time.
   13. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 13, 2017 at 08:42 PM (#5493249)
Unless you mean day-night doubleheaders, which players hate, then there's the same revenue hit there.

Day-night for scheduled, true doubleheaders for makeups. The players hate them less than they hate taking a 5% pay cut.
   14. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: July 13, 2017 at 09:33 PM (#5493262)
Historically speaking, was it ever really common to schedule them? One of the regulars here has examined the historic schedules and has claimed that virtually all doubleheaders prior to WWII were a product of rainouts and games that needed rescheduling, rather than being prepared ahead of time.

it depends what era you're talking about--in the 60's the most common schedule for a weekend series was: Friday night, Saturday day, doubleheader on Sunday
   15. Joe Bivens Will Take a Steaming Dump Posted: July 13, 2017 at 09:34 PM (#5493263)
10...you're gonna get about 4 hours of it tomorrow night.
   16. The Yankee Clapper Posted: July 13, 2017 at 09:45 PM (#5493267)
Historically speaking, was it ever really common to schedule them?

The Sunday doubleheader was pretty common into the 1960s, usually just July & August when school was out. I remember Roy Campanella doing a between-games show for the Yankees for a few years, and recall reading that Joe DiMaggio had hosted a similar show after he retired. Somewhat less common was the twi-night doubleheader, starting at ~6:00 PM. Made more sense when drawing 1M fans a season was a big deal.
   17. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 13, 2017 at 10:01 PM (#5493271)
More double headers need to be scheduled. Not fewer days. Used to be we had 1 double header every week or two.

Historically speaking, was it ever really common to schedule them? One of the regulars here has examined the historic schedules and has claimed that virtually all doubleheaders prior to WWII were a product of rainouts and games that needed rescheduling, rather than being prepared ahead of time.

That was me, and that's correct, though many of those rainouts were midweek games with low anticipated attendance, and the home team called them off quickly in order to get the attendance benefits of a Sunday doubleheader.** With modern lightweight tarps, most of those rained out games could've been played as scheduled. Doubleheaders that were scheduled before the season were pretty much restricted to Decoration Day, the 4th of July, and Labor Day.

But from World War II through roughly the end of the 50's, most teams other than Brooklyn would schedule Sunday doubleheaders on a routine basis, often as many as 20 or more in a season including twi-night "bargain bills". That practice gradually faded away as the 60's and 70's progressed. The Golden Age of the traditional pre-scheduled doubleheader was only from about 1942 to 1960.

** The 1934 Cardinals had Sunday doubleheaders with attendance figures of 35,000, 32,000 and 24,000, plus others that approached that mark, but their total season attendance was an all-time low for a World Series winner of only 325,000. In 3 World Series games they drew 110,000, or over a third of that entire regular season total.
   18. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: July 14, 2017 at 01:34 AM (#5493313)
Decoration Day?
   19. QLE Posted: July 14, 2017 at 01:46 AM (#5493314)
Decoration Day?


Memorial Day, as it was commonly known in the pre-WWII period.

#17- Would it be safe to assume that the rise of the scheduled Sunday doubleheader was directly tied to the travel restrictions of the WWII period, which made it essential to play as many games as possible in the same place before moving onward?
   20. Vertov Posted: July 14, 2017 at 03:34 AM (#5493321)
I realize this is a complete fantasy, with no grounding in reality, but - if travel is such a problem; if there's no difference in the leagues anymore (umps, prez's, etc); if we've had interleague play for 20 years - I wonder why I've never heard of radical geographic re-alignment.

Look at the west. Sea, Oak, SF, Col in the North, LA, LA, Az and SD in the South.

If these intra-city are so great we have to have them every year, why not put them in the same division. Wasn't the Dodger-Giant rivalry the greatest of all time in NY? Why not have the Yankees and the Mets in the same division, playing ~18 times a year?
   21. McCoy Posted: July 14, 2017 at 07:02 AM (#5493330)
Go to 144 games, cut Spring training in half, expand by two teams, go to 4 divisions in a league, make the division series a best of 7, advertisement on uniforms, and share revenue. The league expansion fees covers any short term revenue losses caused by 9 less games a year and more ticket sales by more teams being shared equally helps take care of any long term declines because of the shortened schedule.
   22. BDC Posted: July 14, 2017 at 07:26 AM (#5493333)
That practice gradually faded away as the 60's and 70's progressed

Technology and geography played their parts. With more clubs in the Sunbelt, the Astros indoors, and fields that recovered better from rain, fewer games got postponed. At the same time, you could go to a true four-man, four-day rotation, so totals of Starts and IP went up, too.
   23. McCoy Posted: July 14, 2017 at 07:37 AM (#5493336)
Jumbo jets.

   24. Lassus Posted: July 14, 2017 at 07:58 AM (#5493339)
The sport must get as ironclad as possible that no team play a night game in one city and a day game the next day elsewhere

Boo ####### hoo.
   25. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: July 14, 2017 at 08:36 AM (#5493345)
I think the night game-travel-day game is something that doesn't happen already so it's a red herring. Let's face facts, this is Joel Sherman saying "I'd like to continue to get paid the same by the New York Post for less work."
   26. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 14, 2017 at 08:45 AM (#5493353)
#17- Would it be safe to assume that the rise of the scheduled Sunday doubleheader was directly tied to the travel restrictions of the WWII period, which made it essential to play as many games as possible in the same place before moving onward?

Yes, although there was also a lot less travel in the early 20th century, when a team's 22 games against each opponent was divided into 6 series, rather than the 8 series that later became the standard. During WWII this practice was revived in order to cut down on travel, and as a result both home stands and road trips could often last for a full 3 weeks or more. After the war was over, the leagues went back to the 8 series format, but the practice of many doubleheaders remained.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

That practice gradually faded away as the 60's and 70's progressed

Technology and geography played their parts. With more clubs in the Sunbelt, the Astros indoors, and fields that recovered better from rain, fewer games got postponed. At the same time, you could go to a true four-man, four-day rotation, so totals of Starts and IP went up, too.


All of these were factors, but I imagine the biggest factor was the near-extinction of the midweek day game with its chronically low attendance. When teams like the Dodgers began drawing 30,000 per date, it started to dawn on the owners that doubleheaders were cutting into their overall take. Obviously this realization didn't hit every owner at the same time,** but once overall attendance started to boom in the mid-70's, it pretty much sounded the death knell for doubleheaders.

** And of course the lightless Cubs were always in a separate category
   27. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 14, 2017 at 08:46 AM (#5493354)
#17- Would it be safe to assume that the rise of the scheduled Sunday doubleheader was directly tied to the travel restrictions of the WWII period, which made it essential to play as many games as possible in the same place before moving onward?

Yes, although there was also a lot less travel in the early 20th century, when a team's 22 games against each opponent was divided into 6 series, rather than the 8 series that later became the standard. During WWII this practice was revived in order to cut down on travel, and as a result both home stands and road trips could often last for a full 3 weeks or more, as they had in the dead ball era. After the war was over, the leagues went back to the 8 series format, but the practice of many doubleheaders remained.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

That practice gradually faded away as the 60's and 70's progressed

Technology and geography played their parts. With more clubs in the Sunbelt, the Astros indoors, and fields that recovered better from rain, fewer games got postponed. At the same time, you could go to a true four-man, four-day rotation, so totals of Starts and IP went up, too.


All of these were factors, but I imagine the biggest factor was the near-extinction of the midweek day game with its chronically low attendance. When teams like the Dodgers began drawing 30,000 per date, it started to dawn on the owners that doubleheaders were cutting into their overall take. Obviously this realization didn't hit every owner at the same time,** but once overall attendance started to boom in the mid-70's, it pretty much sounded the death knell for doubleheaders.

** And of course the lightless Cubs were always in a separate category
   28. Buck Coats Posted: July 14, 2017 at 10:10 AM (#5493407)
Let's face facts, this is Joel Sherman saying "I'd like to continue to get paid the same by the New York Post for less work."


He's got a point, though - I'd also like Joel Sherman to get less work.
   29. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: July 14, 2017 at 10:34 AM (#5493427)
Be real. 162 games is staying, and doubleheaders are not making a comeback.

I approve of the idea of starting the season 4 days earlier. Spring training is too long anyways.
   30. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 14, 2017 at 10:35 AM (#5493430)
Go to 144 games, cut Spring training in half, expand by two teams, go to 4 divisions in a league, make the division series a best of 7, advertisement on uniforms, and share revenue. The league expansion fees covers any short term revenue losses caused by 9 less games a year and more ticket sales by more teams being shared equally helps take care of any long term declines because of the shortened schedule.

That's perhaps the worst package of ideas you could put together, and that's assuming you mean 154 games, not 144.

1) Why do we want less baseball? I don't want to lose 8 games off the season. Baseball is fun.
2) 4 divisions is awful. Much more likely to have a sub-.500 team sneak in, and a 95+ win team get left out. There's no way to have a WC with 4 divisions.
3) Expansion is awful. There are no good markets left and it reduces the quality of play.
4) A 7-game division series is silly. Having to play those 4th games in the sweep when your 100 win team faces off with your 82 win team, while a 97 win team watches at home is going to be really compelling TV.
5) Equally shared revenue is 1) totally impossible politically, and 2) a bad idea. Many more customers are happy when big market teams win. A well designed league should always allow the most popular teams to win more often than the least popular.
   31. McCoy Posted: July 14, 2017 at 10:43 AM (#5493437)
No. I mean 144 games

1)We currently have more baseball available to us than ever before. We know that early season and late season games are the least attended and watch. The weather is unfavorable and people don't have the leisure time to commit to the sport during this period. Remove about three weeks of the season and you remove a huge chunk of unfavorable dates from the schedule.
2)So? To all points
3)Expansion historically has not been awful and in the long run has not reduced the quality of play. A long season reduces the quality of play.
4)Unlike other sports it isn't a foregone conclusion that the behemoth will run roughshod over the lower tier team. But again, so? We're talking a 1 game difference in terms of sweeps. Big whoop. Also this contradicts point 1 of yours.
5)Equally shared gate is perfectly fine 2)contradictory and not conclusive. The NFL proves that you can have a viable league with small market teams being the big boys.
   32. Swoboda is freedom Posted: July 14, 2017 at 11:02 AM (#5493460)
2) 4 divisions is awful. Much more likely to have a sub-.500 team sneak in, and a 95+ win team get left out. There's no way to have a WC with 4 divisions.

I would much rather have fewer divisions and reward the best teams. One division. Have 6 teams make the playoffs. Top 2 sit, and the next four play a 2 of 3 or 3 of 5 series to play the best teams. Reward someone for being the best.
   33. Bote Man Posted: July 14, 2017 at 11:09 AM (#5493471)
Many more customers are happy when big market teams win. A well designed league should always allow the most popular teams to win more often than the least popular.

Says the fan of the behemoth of the Major Leagues.
   34. Ithaca2323 Posted: July 14, 2017 at 11:12 AM (#5493476)
No. I mean 144 games


I've always assumed this is a non-starter for nearly everyone. Not only is there less money to go around, I'm sure baseball likes guys going for records and milestones. This would put nearly every single meaningful season and career record out of reach
   35. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: July 14, 2017 at 11:16 AM (#5493487)
The season length is fine. More days off means more days without baseball. This guy's takes are bad.

[31] THE NFL only has to sell 8 home games per year rather than 81, so it's not a good comparison.
   36. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 14, 2017 at 11:30 AM (#5493505)
Says the fan of the behemoth of the Major Leagues.

It's simple economics. The whole MLB revenue pie is bigger when big-market teams win more often.
   37. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 14, 2017 at 11:34 AM (#5493510)
1)We currently have more baseball available to us than ever before. We know that early season and late season games are the least attended and watch. The weather is unfavorable and people don't have the leisure time to commit to the sport during this period. Remove about three weeks of the season and you remove a huge chunk of unfavorable dates from the schedule.

So what? Tens of millions of people watch and enjoy those games. Again, as an alleged baseball fan, why do you want less baseball? I don't want to watch Reds games, I only want to watch Yankee games.

Not to mention Ithaca's point. No season or career records would ever be reachable again.

2)So? To all points

You'd really be happy with a system where you very frequently have 80-85 win teams playing in October, while 95 win teams sit at home?

5)Equally shared gate is perfectly fine 2)contradictory and not conclusive. The NFL proves that you can have a viable league with small market teams being the big boys.

The NFL garners nearly all their revenue from National TV, and has half their audience watching b/c of gambling or fantasy sports. MLB is in no way comparable, since the vast majority of revenue is local.

   38. McCoy Posted: July 14, 2017 at 11:45 AM (#5493525)
I've always assumed this is a non-starter for nearly everyone.

As I mentioned earlier the expansion fees would cover short term losses. Proper gate revenue sharing would have two extra teams playing 144 extra home games versus a slash of 270 home games for the existing teams. Remove 9 low selling games from the beginning of the year and compare it what is gained and teams probably either come out slightly ahead or its revenue neutral.
   39. McCoy Posted: July 14, 2017 at 11:46 AM (#5493527)
[31] THE NFL only has to sell 8 home games per year rather than 81, so it's not a good comparison.

Bad comparison in terms of what? The NFL despite only playing 16 games a season is a year long industry and they do so while teams like the Green Bay Packers can be a huge part of their success.
   40. McCoy Posted: July 14, 2017 at 11:53 AM (#5493535)
So what? Tens of millions of people watch and enjoy those games. Again, as an alleged baseball fan, why do you want less baseball? I don't want to watch Reds games, I only want to watch Yankee games.

Because regular season baseball games are rather long and boring. Throw in crappy weather in April and I see no point in playing that many games.


Not to mention Ithaca's point. No season or career records would ever be reachable again.


If true, so? I didn't watch Tony Gwynn in 19988 because one day a decade later he might get to 3,000 hits.

Pitcher win record is out of reach. Hell, the season win record has been out of reach decades and we're to the point where even 20 wins a season is rare. So what? There are a bunch of records that are out of reach currently because of the changes to the game. Oh well.

You'd really be happy with a system where you very frequently have 80-85 win teams playing in October, while 95 win teams sit at home?

We've had something like that for awhile. As you said before I only want to watch a specific team. Why do I care if some other team has to stay home? And if my team gets the shaft, well, that's called drama, that's called a rich history.


The NFL garners nearly all their revenue from National TV, and has half their audience watching b/c of gambling or fantasy sports. MLB is in no way comparable, since the vast majority of revenue is local.

The NFL gets huge national contracts because of local markets. Millions of people in the Chicagoland area watch the NFL on Sunday because of the Bears. Millions of people in the New York area watch the NFL on Sunday because of all the various teams in NY. This isn't Seinfeld where NBC is broadcasting the same episode on the exact same day to everybody in the country. And no the NFL is not propped up half because of gambling and fantasy sports.
   41. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 14, 2017 at 12:03 PM (#5493543)
Millions of people in the Chicagoland area watch the NFL on Sunday because of the Bears.

That's their own problem.
   42. Ithaca2323 Posted: July 14, 2017 at 12:49 PM (#5493591)
If true, so? I didn't watch Tony Gwynn in 19988 because one day a decade later he might get to 3,000 hits.


Nor did I. But it was still cool to watch. For a lot of people, records and stats are fun to follow and watch guys chase.
   43. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 14, 2017 at 01:00 PM (#5493612)
Because regular season baseball games are rather long and boring. Throw in crappy weather in April and I see no point in playing that many games.

If true, so?

It sounds like you don't like baseball much. Any day with no boxscores to read is a bad day, IMHO.

The NFL gets huge national contracts because of local markets.

This is obviously false, since they've gone without a team in the 2nd largest market for over two decades.

Many, many NFL fans will watch whatever game is on because 1) in a 16 game season all games are important, and 2) a huge % of fans are gambling on many games either directly or through fantasy sports.

Baseball fans just won't watch random national games in the regular season. If you aired a single national game with good teams on a Thursday night, it would get a tiny percentage of the viewers that 15 games broadcast only in local markets get. That's not true in the NFL.
   44. base ball chick Posted: July 14, 2017 at 01:26 PM (#5493635)
cut the schedule to 144 games???
cmon, get real. the owners and players are ever EVER gonna agree to cut the schedule by 12%

as for the doubleheaders
i disremember ANY regularly scheduled DH - and not makeup games - in my lifetime.

games these days go well over 3 hours unless mah main man brent suter is pitching. ah LUVVVVVVVVV that boy!!!
time between pitches is regularly running 23 - 29 seconds - i know, i've time it, and ordinary 9 inning games are running WELL over 3 hours.

we are not having 2 starters throw CG here because the game is just not played that way no mo. so you are talking about exhausting the entire bullpen between 2 games and having the regulars play like what would be 7 hours straight - possibly longer. The FANS do not want to stay for 7+ straight hours of baseball and the players don't want this

heck fans didn't all stay for the infamous astros/braves 18 inning game won by chris burke and roger clemens and that was the freaking NLCS on the line.

so they are NOT staying for 2 straight games running that long.

and can we pls not say - oh, well, then we'll mandate the starters have to pitch CG - or some such nonsense so we can pretend it is 1930 all over again, because it ain't like that no mo
   45. Tony S Posted: July 14, 2017 at 01:58 PM (#5493655)
I don't believe it's either necessary or desirable to cut the season to 144 or 154 games, but the idea that "baseball does best when the system is rigged to favor the big markets" is debateable at best. The highest-rated World Series ever was Phillies-Royals in 1980. Baseball attendance mushroomed when the Yankee stranglehold on the American League finally ended and the pennant races were opened up; granted, there were a lot of other factors behind the explosion in the game's popularity, but it's hard to imagine attendance booming like it did in the face of the utter predictability of Yankee championships, year after year.

I guess the NBA succeeds despite its determinism, but those of us who follow sports because we enjoy good, honest competition and drama don't need baseball to be that way, too...



   46. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 14, 2017 at 02:08 PM (#5493666)
I don't believe it's either necessary or desirable to cut the season to 144 or 154 games, but the idea that "baseball does best when the system is rigged to favor the big markets" is debateable at best. The highest-rated World Series ever was Phillies-Royals in 1980. Baseball attendance mushroomed when the Yankee stranglehold on the American League finally ended and the pennant races were opened up; granted, there were a lot of other factors behind the explosion in the game's popularity, but it's hard to imagine attendance booming like it did in the face of the utter predictability of Yankee championships, year after year.


Not rigged, but tilted towards them. The NY, Chicago, LA etc., clubs should probably win twice or threes as often as the teams with the fewest fans, e.g. Rays or Marlins.

A 100 win Dodger team is going to draw 4 million fans, while a similar team in Tampa draws 2 million. Same with TV viewers. It's sub-opimal for overall revenue to have everyone equal.

It's not to say small-market teams shouldn't have a chance; the same teams winning every year is bad too.

I guess the NBA succeeds despite its determinism, but those of us who follow sports because we enjoy good, honest competition and drama don't need baseball to be that way, too...

But the nature of MLB playoffs means it is never deterministic like the NBA. The problem in the NBA is there are no playoff upsets. The Braves won 14 straight division title, and only 1 World Series. Upsets are always plentiful in MLB.
   47. McCoy Posted: July 14, 2017 at 02:15 PM (#5493674)
This is obviously false, since they've gone without a team in the 2nd largest market for over two decades.

So the networks just give them money just because? You honestly think if all the teams moved to towns like Reno, Omaha, Boise, Bismark, and such they'd get the same contracts?

Baseball fans just won't watch random national games in the regular season. If you aired a single national game with good teams on a Thursday night, it would get a tiny percentage of the viewers that 15 games broadcast only in local markets get. That's not true in the NFL.

Circular reasoning. There is a 162 games, that's why.
   48. BDC Posted: July 14, 2017 at 02:20 PM (#5493678)
You honestly think if all the teams moved to towns like Reno, Omaha, Boise, Bismark, and such they'd get the same contracts?

I'm half-joking here, but of course there's huge money in football played in Lincoln, Norman, South Bend, Tuscaloosa … and Boise too, for that matter.
   49. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 14, 2017 at 02:25 PM (#5493685)
I'm half-joking here, but of course there's huge money in football played in Lincoln, Norman, South Bend, Tuscaloosa … and Boise too, for that matter.

Yup. You can fill a stadium anywhere if you only need to do it 8 times a year, mostly on Sundays.
   50. Tony S Posted: July 14, 2017 at 02:37 PM (#5493702)
Not rigged, but tilted towards them. The NY, Chicago, LA etc., clubs should probably win twice or threes as often as the teams with the fewest fans, e.g. Rays or Marlins.

A 100 win Dodger team is going to draw 4 million fans, while a similar team in Tampa draws 2 million. Same with TV viewers. It's sub-opimal for overall revenue to have everyone equal.

It's not to say small-market teams shouldn't have a chance; the same teams winning every year is bad too.


"Tilted" is just a softer version of "rigged". If NY and LA and Chicago win more often, let it be because they have strong ownership and good front offices making smart decisions, not because of any geographic advantages. If the teams in large markets are poorly run, like the Mets sometimes and the Angels pre-Scioscia and the White Sox just about forever, let them lose like any other organization would.

Popularity is as much a function of on-field performance as it is of market size. The Cincinnati Reds were immensely popular in the 1970's -- it seemed like every grade-school classmate of mine was a Reds fan. (This was in Puerto Rico.) The St.Louis Cardinals are one of the most popular teams in baseball, despite playing in a tiny market by MLB standards. They probably have a bigger (or at least more widespread) fan base than the Angels or Mets. The Minnesota Twins draw phenomenally well when they win (which, alas, isn't often). Tampa (terrible stadium situation) and Miami (terrible ownership) are more than capable of developing large fan bases if the cited inherent organizational issues are addressed.

But the nature of MLB playoffs means it is never deterministic like the NBA. The problem in the NBA is there are no playoff upsets. The Braves won 14 straight division title, and only 1 World Series. Upsets are always plentiful in MLB.


There aren't any stories like the 1969 Mets or the 1991 Twins in the NBA, either; even surprise contenders that ultimately fall short, like the 1972 White Sox or the 1974 Rangers, are extremely rare. (Edit: When a team DOES improve dramatically from one year to the next, it can always be attributed to the addition of one dominating player -- Alcindor in Milwaukee, Bird in Boston. "Surprise" turnarounds are all but unheard of in the NBA.) The die is pretty much cast before the season even begins. I believe that in baseball, if you're smart, you should win,and when you win, you breed your own popularity. There's no need to "tilt" things in the direction of certain franchises.
   51. SandyRiver Posted: July 14, 2017 at 03:38 PM (#5493762)
it depends what era you're talking about--in the 60's the most common schedule for a weekend series was: Friday night, Saturday day, doubleheader on Sunday


When I first got seriously interested in MLB (about 1956) it seemed like every Sunday had 8 doubleheaders scheduled, and Monday was an off day for all - needed for travel back when surface transportation was the rule. I recall lots of twin bills into the late 60s, well into the jetliner age, mainly in relation to the '68 Mets. That team, on the edge of getting good - we never imagined just how close - had a horrible record in doubleheaders that season, their first out of the cellar (barely) but with .500 ball in two-a-days they'd have contended for the 1st Division.

Day games after night time getaway games: Didn't the Red Sox have a gefluffle with the Tigers last year? Sox played well into the night in (IIRC) Baltimore, then asked the Tigers if they could at least bump the start time from 1 PM back to 4. Not surprisingly, Detroit said too bad so sad. (And won the game.)
   52. Hysterical & Useless Posted: July 14, 2017 at 05:39 PM (#5493826)
the '68 Mets... that season, their first out of the cellar (barely)...


Tiniest of nits -- the '66 Mets didn't finish last, as they improved by 16 games over the '65 edition, while the Cubs dropped from a 72 win juggernaut to a sad-sack 59-103.

"No night games on getaway days" was, if I recall, a Big Deal back in the days before free agency, something the players really wanted.
   53. Sunday silence Posted: July 15, 2017 at 01:31 AM (#5493977)
in relation to the '68 Mets. That team, on the edge of getting good - we never imagined just how close - had a horrible record in doubleheaders that season, their first out of the cellar (barely) but with .500 ball in two-a-days they'd have contended for the 1st Division.


are you misremembering something? They won 5, split 5 and lost 9 double headers in 1968. (I didnt count the Sept 2 DH which game 2 was a tie, I assume it was played and SEpt 3 and I did count that).

That team finished 16 games under .500. Weirdly they were like 15 games under in home games.

EDIT: at one pt. the 68 team was like 1-1-7 or something so maybe it did feel that way at some pt in the season.
   54. QLE Posted: July 15, 2017 at 02:41 AM (#5493980)
#31- With regards to your point #3- expansion has not reduced the quality of play not because of expansion itself, but because the historical expansion that has taken place has tended to parallel new sites of talent that can enter the Major Leagues. With Latin America well-integrated, East Asia largely limited as a source of talent by various agreements with the existing leagues there, and the rest of the world largely not interested, where is that new talent going to come from? As for the last part of the point: if length of season were all that mattered, the quality of play should have been better in the nineteenth century than it has been ever since, and even the devotees of nineteenth-century baseball would never claim that.

#45- It is almost certainly not a coincidence that the period when the New York teams were the perpetual World Series contenders correlates strongly to the period in which the popularity as a sport (even granted such factors as the rise of television) plunged like a rock.

#46- How is it in the interest of the game as a whole to reward every incompetent that manages to field a team in something that can be considered a major market? If the example of the Cubs means anything, quite a few of those teams will draw large crowds regardless of the quality of the teams playing- will them winning something really make as much of a difference as it does in other markets?
   55. McCoy Posted: July 15, 2017 at 07:18 AM (#5493981)
Your talent restraints are artificial. They don't have to exist. They also have a large black population in America that they can tap again. The 19th century point is silly and needs no rebuttal beyond that.

The Yankees were the team of the 20's and 30's and the popularity of the majors skyrocketed. Post WWII saw a readjustment in America of our living standards. Motion picture companies also struggled is that because of the Yankees as well? In the 50's we saw the decline of cities, the rise of TV, and the spread of suburbs. The minor leagues all across the nation folded in the 50's. Was that because of the Yankees as well? When the majors moved into new population areas in the 50's and 60's they drew well.

   56. QLE Posted: July 15, 2017 at 06:26 PM (#5494085)
If said large African-American population comes back- the Majors also used to heavily staff themselves from white folk from the urban Northeast, and that doesn't seem to be regarded (in spite of Mike Trout) as a place and group to go looking for talent anymore either.

As for your Yankees argument, four major holes:

1) The argument wasn't based solely on the Yankees, but based on them in combination with both the Giants and Dodgers in the National League.

2) Between 1920 and 1939, there were five World Series (1921, 1922, 1923, 1936, and 1937) in which the Yankees faced off against a National League team from New York (in all cases, the Giants). Between 1946 (when all the Major Leaguers are back from WWII) and 1957 (the last year before the Giants and Dodgers leave New York), there were seven World Series (1947, 1949, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1955, and 1956) in which the Yankees faced off against a National League team from New York (and, other than in 1951, always the Dodgers).

3) Between 1920 and 1939, the Yankees won eleven pennants- but the As also built a dynasty, the Senators managed to obtain three pennants, and the Tigers two. Moreover, several of these were in neck-and-neck competition- only 4.5 games ahead of the 1921 Indians, only one game ahead of the 1922 Browns, only three games ahead of the 1926 Indians, and only 2.5 games ahead of the 1928 Athletics. On the National League side of the equation, there was a similar state of competition- the Giants won seven pennants, yes, but the Cardinals won five, the Cubs won four, and the only National League teams to not win any were the Braves and Phillies. Moreover, there is also considerable seasonal turnover in the National League- after the Giants' streak of pennants ends in 1924, the most any National League team wins in a row in this period is two.

In contrast, let us turn to the period between 1946 and 1957. During those years, the Yankees won nine pennants. In fairness, many of these were also against notable competition- the 1949 Red Sox came within one game, the 1950 Tigers within three, the 1951 Indians within five, the 1952 Indians within two, and the 1955 Indians within three. In the National League, on the other hand, we end up with a five-year period (1951 to 1955) where there is either no pennant race or where the pennant race is between the Dodgers and Giants- fun for those who live in the Five Boroughs, but not so much for anyone else. It is the fact that these two situations are present at the same time that causes the problem- if the Indians have better luck or if someone in the National League was able to challenge the Giants and Dodgers between the rise of the Braves in 1956, this would be less of an issue.

4) Yes, suburbanization and television were issues, which I why I mentioned them in passing in my post. However, the period between the late 1940s and the 1950s is also the period when football rises in popularity, when professional basketball is able to establish itself permanently, when boxing is a prime spectator sport, where horse racing still has a ton of fans, and when we have a mass media explosion around all sorts of sports generally. Why didn't baseball benefit from any of this?
   57. McCoy Posted: July 16, 2017 at 09:08 AM (#5494277)
Because of the Yankees? I don't think so.

Baseball handled TV poorly. Baseball didn't see a decline in ratings. Baseball saw a decline in attendance which wasn't because of the Yankees.

It also doesn't help that entering the 50's you had an aging Mack, and absentee Wrigley and Comiskey. Ownership in the 50's and 60's was not effective.
   58. Nero Wolfe, Indeed Posted: July 16, 2017 at 09:52 AM (#5494281)
i disremember ANY regularly scheduled DH - and not makeup games - in my lifetime.


Yeah, but you're a young'un. I distinctly remember scheduled doubleheaders, and they occured 2-3 times a season. Always on Sundays, and the games were played about an hour apart, which was wonderful for concessions.

I had a friend who lived in a small country town in northern California and was in his 40's and had never seen a professional game in person. Hell, he lived 180 miles from San Francisco and had never set foot in it. To him, "going into the city" meant a trip to Chico. Anyway, I decided to take him to a Giants game, and picked a scheduled doubleheader against Houston. As it ended up, the Giants were in second, .5 behind the Astros after winning the first two games of the series. The Giants hadn't seen first place in a long time, and they went ahead and swept the DH in front of more fans than they'd usually see (other than Opening Day).
   59. Lance Reddick! Lance him! Posted: July 16, 2017 at 10:50 AM (#5494289)
i disremember ANY regularly scheduled DH - and not makeup games - in my lifetime.

Ahem
   60. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 16, 2017 at 10:52 AM (#5494290)
Baseball attendance plummeted in the 50's for many reasons: The existence of two-team cities like St. Louis, Philadelphia and Boston that couldn't support both teams; the practice many teams had of televising all their home games and none of their road games, contrary to the far more sensible practice of the NFL; competition from television in general; the rise of home air conditioning; the persistence of attendance-killing weekday day games in many key cities; the deterioration of many of the older stadiums, plus the lack of adequate parking for an increasingly suburban customer base; and so on.

The Yankees were a mixed blessing or curse, depending on how you look at it. On the one hand, they were far and away the biggest draw of any team, especially once Mickey Mantle became known for his tape measure home runs. OTOH they frequently killed interest in pennant races by effectively clinching the championship as early as June. Crowds of under 2000 people for late season games between second division teams were common enough to be barely noticeable. During games like that, it was great to be able to sit in a box seat for the price of a general admission ticket, but it wasn't so great for the ball club's bottom line.

Yeah, but you're a young'un. I distinctly remember scheduled doubleheaders, and they occured 2-3 times a season. Always on Sundays, and the games were played about an hour apart, which was wonderful for concessions.

Interesting, because when doubleheaders were routinely scheduled on nearly every Sunday, the time between games was exactly 20 minutes. As soon as the first game ended, you'd see the second game pitchers beginning to warm up, as the ground crew watered down the infield dirt. I guess that's one of the reasons you could go to a 1:30 doubleheader and easily be home in time for dinner.

   61. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: July 16, 2017 at 11:23 AM (#5494293)
[60] That and games were shorter then. Nowadays that double header would be 7 hours of game time instead of 5.
   62. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 16, 2017 at 11:48 AM (#5494298)
[60] That and games were shorter then. Nowadays that double header would be 7 hours of game time instead of 5.

Just for grins, I looked up the first doubleheader I remember going to, a May 2nd, 1954 Indians-Nats twin bill that launched Cleveland to its 111-win season. The first game took 2:42, with 10 runs and 5 pitchers, while the second game, which went 10 innings, took 2:53 with 9 runs and just 2 pitchers. So that's 5:35 for 19 innings worth of games.

The first game started at 1:30, and the second game began 20 minutes after the first one ended, which meant that the entire affair took 5 hours and 55 minutes from start to finish, ending at 7:25 and giving most of the crowd time to be home before 8:00, with multiple bus and trolley lines operating right outside the ballpark's entrance, always with enough cars to meet anticipated capacity. And the total game times for these two games was actually 33 minutes longer than the average for 1954 (2:31 per game), meaning that for an "average" doubleheader, you would have left the ballpark at 6:52. Today it'd be more like around 8:15, and in most cases you'd be lucky to be home by 9:00 or even 9:30, and that's assuming they'd still only need 20 minutes between games.
   63. BDC Posted: July 16, 2017 at 12:03 PM (#5494303)
the first doubleheader I remember going to … The first game took 2:42 … the second game, which went 10 innings, took 2:53

I looked up the last doubleheader I went to, 14 June 1989 in Arlington. The games were played in 2:50 and 2:36. It was a twi-nighter on a Wednesday; it must have rained the night before, because the Rangers didn't play on Tuesday the 13th.

The Rangers swept the Angels. Nolan Ryan, who wasn't a particularly fast worker for his day, threw 141 pitches in the first game. As people have been saying in these threads, it was still a long evening at the ballpark. I remember that we arrived late for the first game and left early in the second. Attendance was 40,159.
   64. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: July 16, 2017 at 12:15 PM (#5494306)
I looked up the last doubleheader I went to, 14 June 1989 in Arlington. The games were played in 2:50 and 2:36. It was a twi-nighter on a Wednesday; it must have rained the night before, because the Rangers didn't play on Tuesday the 13th.

The Rangers swept the Angels. Nolan Ryan, who wasn't a particularly fast worker for his day, threw 141 pitches in the first game. As people have been saying in these threads, it was still a long evening at the ballpark. I remember that we arrived late for the first game and left early in the second. Attendance was 40,159.


The last DH I went to was also in Arlington, 1 year later, Aug 17 vs the White Sox. Game 1 went 13 innings. Ryan 10 innings, struck out 15 and allowed 0 runs, walks, and 3 hits. GS of 101. Sox starter Greg Hubbard had a GS of 81. Game took 3:22. Game 2 was a more conventional 4-2 in regulation. Game took 2:52.
   65. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 16, 2017 at 12:46 PM (#5494312)
So how long does it take you two (BDC and Misirlou) to get home after a game? Do you drive or take public transport? What's the public transport like around the new Rangers ballpark?

I ask only because BITD the DC bus and trolley system was such that even if you lived in the suburbs, it would seldom take more than 45 minutes to get home, because Griffith Stadium at Georgia & Florida Aves. was the 1954 counterpart of today's Metro Center. You were never more than one connection from the bus or trolley line that took you home. That was definitely a major factor in making doubleheaders so popular.

Not to mention that the fares were a fraction of what they are today, even in inflation-adjusted dollars. The bus or trolley fare in 1954 was the equivalent of about 90 cents in 2017.

Of course the 1954 Nats were a team of minor league quality compared to their 2017 counterparts, but back then there was no way of knowing that. We just took it on faith that we were watching a Major League Baseball team, even if that faith was strongly shaken whenever the Yankees or the Indians or the White Sox came to town.
   66. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: July 16, 2017 at 12:51 PM (#5494313)
I don't live in Texas. I live about 90 minutes from Marlins Park. I of course drive there. I usually go once a year, when the Cubs are in town. I go to the Sat and Sun games, and stay at a hotel near the airport about 10 min drive from the park on Saturday night.
   67. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 16, 2017 at 01:04 PM (#5494316)
I don't live in Texas. I live about 90 minutes from Marlins Park. I of course drive there. I usually go once a year, when the Cubs are in town. I go to the Sat and Sun games, and stay at a hotel near the airport about 10 min drive from the park on Saturday night.

Which brings in another factor: Cost. In high school I took a pair of week long baseball trips by train and bus from DC to New York, when in 2017 dollars the train ride was about 33 bucks, the bus ride a lot less, the 5th Avenue hotel in Washington Square was about $82.00, the subway was the equivalent of about a buck and a quarter, and a general admission ticket of $10.60 (again, in 2017 dollars) got you an upper deck seat behind home plate. The schedule included 9 games and 2 doubleheaders in 7 days, and a Mayor's Cup game with Willie Mays and the San Francisco Giants.
   68. BDC Posted: July 16, 2017 at 01:38 PM (#5494321)
how long does it take you to get home after a game?

Ten minutes if I drive. An hour if I leave my car at the office and walk. The walk is kind of sketchy so I tend to do that only for day games, and the heat precludes that unless it's April. Parking is $20. I pay $11 for a game ticket.

I'd say it takes most Ft. Worth-area Ranger fans 30-50 minutes to get home after a game, and most in Dallas or suburbs 45-75 minutes, depending on where they live. People aren't fazed by that. Texans think that's a short commute.
   69. Nero Wolfe, Indeed Posted: July 16, 2017 at 02:05 PM (#5494328)
Interesting, because when doubleheaders were routinely scheduled on nearly every Sunday, the time between games was exactly 20 minutes. As soon as the first game ended, you'd see the second game pitchers beginning to warm up, as the ground crew watered down the infield dirt. I guess that's one of the reasons you could go to a 1:30 doubleheader and easily be home in time for dinner.


I may be misremembering, and the amount of time is somewhere between your 20 minutes and my hour. I would believe that as time went on, the break got longer.

The start time was around 1pm, and the two games each went around 2.5 hours. I know we went to Original Joe's in SF after the game, and drove 180 miles home and were back home around midnight.
   70. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 16, 2017 at 04:36 PM (#5494411)
how long does it take you to get home after a game?

Ten minutes if I drive. An hour if I leave my car at the office and walk. The walk is kind of sketchy so I tend to do that only for day games, and the heat precludes that unless it's April. Parking is $20. I pay $11 for a game ticket.

I'd say it takes most Ft. Worth-area Ranger fans 30-50 minutes to get home after a game, and most in Dallas or suburbs 45-75 minutes, depending on where they live. People aren't fazed by that. Texans think that's a short commute.


Okay, that's not too bad, and it must not take you too long to get out of the parking lot. But what sort of a ticket do you get for that $11? Is it between the bases, down the line, or in the outfield?

What I'd like to see is a true apples to apples comparison of the ticket prices for each ballpark, for an uppermost upper deck seat behind the plate. Of course with dynamic pricing it's not quite that simple, so maybe just get it for a ticket for a Yankees / Red Sox / Cubs / Dodgers game on the one hand, and a Twins / A's / Marlins / Reds game on the other.
   71. BDC Posted: July 16, 2017 at 05:40 PM (#5494432)
what sort of a ticket do you get for that $11? Is it between the bases, down the line, or in the outfield?

Depends. For popular games it could be third deck behind the RF foul pole. For less so, third deck behind home plate. Always use StubHub.

I hear tell, though of course I am too scrupulous to test such a theory myself, that the ushers at my local park aren't very vigilant after a couple of innings. Some lower-deck sections apparently have no ushers at all, and for your $11 entry you can sit wherever you find an empty seat. I wouldn't know about this first-hand, mind you.
   72. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 16, 2017 at 05:56 PM (#5494440)
I asked only because anytime anyone mentions how cheap ticket prices used to be BITD, they're always met with citations of ultra-cheap seats from today, often from StubHub, without mentioning where those seats are or who the opponent is. That's why I was asking about apples-to-apples comparisons.
   73. BDC Posted: July 16, 2017 at 06:18 PM (#5494442)
Basically, these days, I can see twenty Rangers games from the upper deck (with some roaming possible most of the time :), for what it would cost me to see a single Cowboys game from the top row of their upper deck (a quarter of a home season vs. an eighth, respectively). And the differential between the two only gets greater as you move downstairs to better seats. Baseball is still a nice deal.

Parking, of course, cuts into the differential a little, but Cowboys parking is $50-70 and up. I've never parked at the stadium for an NFL game. I always walk from downtown.

Plus I prefer baseball :-D
   74. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 16, 2017 at 09:57 PM (#5494486)
Basically, these days, I can see twenty Rangers games from the upper deck (with some roaming possible most of the time :), for what it would cost me to see a single Cowboys game from the top row of their upper deck (a quarter of a home season vs. an eighth, respectively). And the differential between the two only gets greater as you move downstairs to better seats. Baseball is still a nice deal.

Parking, of course, cuts into the differential a little, but Cowboys parking is $50-70 and up. I've never parked at the stadium for an NFL game. I always walk from downtown.

Plus I prefer baseball :-D


At RFK during the first Gibbs era, when the Redskins were winning championships, the best midfield seat at RFK for the Dallas game cost $30, there was plenty of free street parking within a 10 to 15 minute walk from the stadium, and the subway let you out practically right at the door.

At FedEx when the Redskins are an international joke on the order of Donald Trump Jr. (whose father Dan Snyder is a big fan of), the best midfield seats for this year's Dallas game cost about $380, there's no good public transportation to the stadium, and parking sets you back $50.

P.S. The CPI hasn't even doubled in the last 25 years, so that $30 midfield ticket from 1992 would only be $52.50 without Snyder's, er, added value tacked onto it.
   75. OsunaSakata Posted: July 17, 2017 at 09:15 AM (#5494531)
MLB should play on the Thursday after the All-Star Game again.

Also, the number of post-season off days should be closer to the regular season. That way, a strong regular season team has a better chance to win the World Series. This year, a team plays on 89% of the days (the All-Star Break is included in the calculation). It looks like in this year's post-season, a team plays on 65% of the days (assuming all series go the distance). In the 1980s, that was closer to 70%.
   76. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 17, 2017 at 10:42 AM (#5494545)
MLB should play on the Thursday after the All-Star Game again.

Good point. Just what happened in 2009 that made the two day break so necessary? The All-Star game has been around since 1933, and prior to 2009 there were always games played on the following Thursday.

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