MLB Should Adopt a 134 Game Schedule

Dave Mitchell March 23, 2020 0

Major
league baseball has a dilemma coming at the end of the corona-virus
shut down. That is how to fit 162 games into approximately 5 months.
The baseball season has been shut down since the second week of
March, and was expected to begin next week, the earliest it has ever
started. That obviously will not happen. In fact, nobody knows when
the season will begin, and some question if it will at all.

Step
one of the plan to begin the season has to start with how much spring
training will be used before the first game. At least two weeks will
be needed, just to get the pitchers ready and hitters back in some
form. Toronto Blue Jays President Mark Shapiro told the media from
his home yesterday at least 4 weeks are needed.

“Knowing
that so many players are not even having any access to throwing at
all or hitting at all, but most importantly just throwing, and
probably limited access to just training and exercise, it’s hard to
imagine we could get ready in less than four weeks,” Shapiro
said in a teleconference with reporters.

If
the clock started now, which it won’t, the season would be back
traced to Memorial Day Weekend. For that to happen, spring training
would have to resume around May 4, which is conceivable. And that
sounds like a good start. People will be just getting back into a
routine and the baseball season would be a good kick start.

Step
two is how long will the season be? 162 games? 154? Shorten it to
140? Two points can be made immediately to shorten the season.
First, currently each team plays 19 games with divisional opponents.
Shorten that to just 16. That would cut at least 12 games off the
normal 5 team division.

Then there
is inter-league play. Each
team plays one three-game series against four teams from one
division in the other league, and two two-game series (one home,
one away) against the remaining team in that division.
If that were eliminated, you could cut another 16 games. If just
those two were cut from the usual schedule, it would reduce the
season from 162 to 134. That becomes manageable, if you expand
rosters and increase double headers.

Let’s
say the season starts on Friday, May 29th and the target
date to end the season would be one week later that usual on Sunday,
October 11. That gives us 135 days to play 134 games. Figuring in
one day off for every 20 games, which is about 1 day off a week,
leaves you with about 128 days. That includes 12 Saturday’s from
June 20th thru September 5. On those days you would play
day-night double headers, which could cut the days down 12 days. On
DH Saturday’s you could increase the Major League rosters from 25 to
27, and you could change the rosters from game to game. So if you
needed an additional reliever for game two, you could bring one up.

The
post season would have to be different. Crown the three divisional
winners and two wild card teams play the usual one game playoff. But
the first round will be 3 out of 5 and the League championship round
and World Series being the same 4 of 7. If the season ended on
October 11th and the playoff began on October 13th,
and if each series went the distance, the season would end on
November 6. That would give you two days off ONLY in the World
Series for travel.

Another
item that should be changed for this season is the reliever rule. As
of now any reliever that comes into the game has to face three
hitters. Rescind that rule and begin it next season. With the
shortened spring training pitchers will need help. Major League
rosters should be expanded, at least in the first month from 25 to
30. Of which 3 should be pitchers. As a trade off, restrict visits
to the mound to just one. With this epidemic the last thing people
are going to worry about is the time of a baseball game. When
baseball resumes, it will be a breath of fresh air for this country.

Baseball
will return and the green grass will be back in our minds. But the
game will change just a little. That change will be welcomed,
because even with the differences, the game will remind us the
country is healing and normalcy is returning. Something we can all
agree will be much needed by Memorial Day.

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