Baseball plays a long season. There are 162 games over the course of the year and sometimes there is a 163rd game if two teams are tied at the end of the season. With MLB adding new rounds of playoffs, the season runs deeper than ever before.
I remember watching World Series games on my birthday as a child. My birthday is in the middle of October. In the not so distant past, we have seen the World Series last out into November! Depending on where it is played, some areas are already getting snow in November. Now days, I am lucky if I get to watch a playoff game.
During Bud Selig's tenure as Major League Baseball commissioner, one thing has become more apparent to me than anything, baseball is all about the money.
With the new alternate jerseys, alternate hats, special Fourth of July/Memorial Day and 9/11 hats, it's all they can do to milk every dollar out of the fan. But when they are paying grown men billions of dollars, and yes I did mean billions, to play baseball, they have to find a way to recoup that money.
But what do I miss more than anything? I miss the days of scheduled doubleheaders. Teams do not have scheduled double headers anymore because that is a whole day's worth of tickets that are being given away for free.
Last year, the 2011 season, the A's scheduled a traditional doubleheader for Saturday afternoon in July against the Angels. But those are rare. Before the A's schedule double header in 2011, the most recent one before that was on August 2, 2003 when the Padres visited the Philles.
The only way teams play doubleheaders today are if a game is rained out and a make-up game is needed. If that is the case, and a free date is not available, then a doubleheader is added to the schedule. However, after the first game, the hosting team clears out the stadium and makes everyone who wants to go to the second game pay for a new ticket, or use their ticket from the rained out game.
Just last year, New York Yankee's General Manager Brian Cashman was quoted as saying "We're not interested in going from 81 home games to 80."
But at the same time, as baseball's schedule goes farther into October and November, MLB is also having to start the season sooner. Last year (2011) several teams, the Cardinals included, opened up regular season play in March. March!
I would love to see MLB return to its glory days. I would love to see baseball cut its schedule back to 154 days of games with the use of doubleheaders. Think about this for a minute.
If every team plays eight scheduled doubleheaders throughout the season, that can cut eight days off the schedule. Now, instead of finishing the season in late October or early November, a mid-October finish is realistic.
Page 2 of 2 - The way it would work is every team schedules four home doubleheaders and then plays four on the road. With six full months of baseball season, April through September, it would be easy to play a second game on eight scheduled days.
Using St. Louis' 2013 schedule as a model, the Redbirds play a four game series against Philadelphia between April 18 and April 21. Why not make the Saturday game a doubleheader instead of playing just a night game?
In May, the Cardinals have a four game series in Milwaukee. The Redbirds could again make the Saturday game into a doubleheader. And the same thing can be done in July when the Cardinals visit the Cubs. A four game weekend series could have a double header on Saturday the 13th of July.
June has the Diamondbacks visiting St. Louis for a four game series. One of those games could be made a home doubleheader and in August both the Braves and the Dodgers visit. Here is another chance to have a Saturday doubleheader with the Braves and a Tuesday doubleheader against the Dodgers.
Yes, Tuesdays are not optimal days for doubleheaders, but it would give the Cardinals a needed day off as the Redbirds are otherwise in the middle of a 20 consecutive day stretch of games.
That is six days I could ideally cut of the schedule.
Playing doubleheaders is not new, teams used to routinely have them, back before lights were installed. As a baseball fan, I love the idea of doubleheaders. Getting the chance to go to watch two baseball games in one day is awesome.
The closest I have ever come to attending a doubleheader was in 2004. I was in Chicago to see the A's play the Cubs on a Saturday afternoon. When the game was over I decided to drive up to Milwaukee to see the Brewers play the Twins that night. Pulling off the two game, two state doubleheader was a great experience.
Of course, now I have a new goal that will be hard to do, three games in one day.
I had a friend pull off this very feat this year. Thanks to a rainout, the Washington Nationals played a day-night doubleheader. In between, my friend drove over to Baltimore to see the Orioles play. He missed the first three innings of the second Nationals game, but he still pulled it off.