Let’s play two, even though we would rather not
The Royals and the White Sox took a financial hit today, thanks to Major League Baseball’s insistence teams play 76 of 162 games within their division.
Due to the (grossly) unbalanced schedule, which took effect in 2001, teams make only one trip per season into the 10 cities within their league but not within their division, and vice versa.
When postponements occur in these situations, or to interleague games, it becomes a cluster you-know-what.
The Royals and White Sox, both members of the American League Central, were scheduled to play members of the AL East, the Rays and Orioles, respectively, Tuesday.
However, rain blanketed the Midwest, stretching from Chicago to Kansas City and well to the west, where many high school events in this part of Kansas were cancelled, including Russell High baseball and softball games.
Knowing Baltimore won’t see the south side of Chicago again until 2020, and Tampa Bay won’t be at the Truman Sports Complex until next year, the White Sox and Royals had to get these games in during the current series.
The Royals and Rays were scheduled for a four-game series, with a night game today and a day game tomorrow. A doubleheader is not allowed on a getaway day unless players on both teams vote to allow it. The players vetoed that idea, so there was no choice but to play a twinbill today.
As for the Orioles and White Sox, there was no choice. The White Sox play the Red Sox tomorrow.
Both the Royals and White Sox scheduled traditional doubleheaders, with one ticket good for both games. Both doubleheaders started at 1205 Central (1305 Eastern).
Traditional doubleheaders are even rarer in MLB in 2019 than the complete game, which is saying something. There was a time where the Sunday doubleheader, or the twi-night doubleheader on a Friday, were ubiquitous.
It’s all about the $$$$$ for professional sports owners in 2019. Combined with player’s unions which threaten legal action over the smallest quibbles, you aren’t going to find anyone who really wants to play a doubleheader, at least those employed by the 30 clubs.
Owners are dead set upon 81 dates for 81 games to maximize ticket revenue. Any reduction in playing dates, even for a Tuesday night game which may have drawn no more than 20,000, probably much less in Kansas City, irritates men like David Glass and Jerry Reinsdorf.
I’m surprised neither team scheduled a split doubleheader, where the stadium would have been cleared after the first game. There are provisions in the collective bargaining agreement governing split doubleheaders. It’s too cumbersome to go into detail here.
It’s a good thing Ernie Banks has passed on. He would not be happy with the lack of doubleheaders.
You’re not going to get rid of interleague play, so MLB should cut back the number of division games. For those of you who don’t know the real reason for the unbalanced schedule–to make sure the Red Sox and Yankees play 19 times a season–are living under a rock.
If MLB wants the Red Sox and Yankees to play 19 times a year, let them. THat would mean fewer games vs. the Orioles, Blue Jays and Rays, and none of those teams would complain. But it’s criminal the Pirates and Phillies are in the same state yet play only once in each city per year.