A trendpiece’s worth of baseball games have already been canceled this season because of inclement/completely seasonal weather, and also because of a hole in the Blue Jays’ roof. Jackie Robinson Day as well as the Red Sox’s Marathon Monday were hamstrung by poor playing conditions. Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo, among others, thinks it’s dumb to have the season start when some parts of the country still aren’t warm, and he’d be willing to take a pay cut for a shorter schedule.
“I think we play too much baseball,” Rizzo said Tuesday during his weekly appearance on ESPN 1000. “Yes, guys are going to take pay cuts. But are we playing this game for the money or do we love this game? I know it’s both, but in the long run it will make everything better.”
Even if it makes sense to shorten baseball seasons—and it does, just as it makes sense to cut the NBA season by 10 games or end Thursday NFL games—it won’t happen, and that’s because of money. Owners will not sacrifice revenue even if it means improving the quality of the season, and even if the players made enough of a stink about it to catalyze some change, they’d have to make concessions elsewhere to make up for that lost revenue. That doesn’t mean Rizzo’s thoughts aren’t valuable, however. He actually had a better, more detailed idea on how to play a full season without cutting down games:
“I think playing in the cold sucks,” Rizzo said. “I was thinking about this the other day. When you think of Cubs and Cardinals, you think of a beautiful Saturday at Wrigley Field. You don’t think about playing in 20 degrees.”
Even if the season isn’t shortened, Rizzo sees no reason it has to start so early.
“In a perfect world, we’d start the season later and play a few scheduled doubleheaders going into an off day,” he said. “As a fan you’re going to a baseball game in April, and it’s raining, snowing and [with] freezing rain. Is it really that much fun? That’s my question.”
This seems like a good idea! Doubleheaders wouldn’t significantly increase the physical toll on players, and the off-days would be valuable. It might also help to modify the beginning of the schedule such that teams based in colder cities play against teams in warmer ones, or in domed stadiums. Home runs do look cool in the snow, but no one wants to watch or play baseball in cold weather.
H/t to Ben