Everywhere you turned today, the media was whining and moaning about the schedule, and how MLB doesn't have a clue at what they are doing. Well, I absolutely agree that MLB doesn't have a clue about what they are doing. I can't, however, say that I agree that the schedule makers have it all wrong. Of course, looking at the Tribe today might make you think I'm absolutely crazy.
It's cold up north in April. We all know that. How many times have you sat at the Jake, or at the Muni in the olden days, and flat out frozen you butt off during the home opening series? I remember an opening day at Municipal Stadium that was ripe with frozen rain, that my girlfriend made me leave during the delay. I took her home, and made it back in time for the start of the game. It was miserable, and continued to get worse. But you know what? It was opening day. I don't think the smile ever left my face that day. THERE IS NOTHING LIKE OPENING DAY. For us old-time Tribe fans, it used to be the only day we had a shot.
Now there's a push to have the cold weather teams without domes start their games in a warm weather city, or a city, like Milwaukee, with a dome. On the outside looking it, this looks like it would be a smart move. Who wants to start their season in the snow? Who wants to SIT in the snow to watch a baseball game?
I DO, THAT'S WHO! I'd be there right now, if I could, freezing my ass off. Why? It's opening day. The thing about today's game is that it's not opening day. For three straight years, we've had to stomach a trip to Chicago. It's bad enough not having a game at home, but to have to travel TO Chicago, a city just as cold, with a team that ranks in the vacinity of your nearest toilet. There's a magic to opening day that ranks somewhere slightly above the FRIDAY after opening day, after three games have already been played, for your opening day.
Leave it to Bud Selig to even PONDER this idea. No, he hasn't made the decision yet, but it sure would be the wrong one, which is right up his alley. The rumored switch in schedule would be to have historically cold weather teams not play at home for the first week of the season, to ensure that they aren't playing in the frozen tundra (pssst...Bud...you are from Milwaukee. Will ONE WEEK MAKE THAT MUCH OF A DIFFERENCE?). It wouldn't be longer than 1 series, or 1 week.
Now, I've already mentioned how special opening day is, or at least, used to be. During the Selig era, opening day has gotten a little less special. I'm not sure if it has anything to do with anything other than Selig, but the tradition seems to have taken a hit. It doesn't help that the opening game was taken away from Cincinnati. In a league struggling in this NFL market, it needs every traditional aspect that it can get. We'll find that out later this year when MLB loses the Hank Aaron record. Having half the team assured of not having that game EVERY year takes away something from those cities. Like I said, "Hey, let's go see game #7, Cleveland is finally at home," sounds a lot different than, "IT'S A BEAUTIFUL DAY FOR BASEBALL! IT'S OPENING DAY!"
I also seem to recall somewhere, that most teams do better at home, than on the road. I know this isn't always the case, but I know it's better than 50%. I'll leave the statistical wizards figure it out. I can tell you this, coming home every year after a season starting 6-game road trip doesn't exactly start you off on the right foot. I can't imaging Major League Baseball owners ever agreeing to it.
When it's all said and done, the ONE time we can be thankful for the Yankees and the Red Sox is now. I can't imagine either one of these teams WANTING this to happen. That, combined with the fact that Bud Selig splits his time in the back pockets of both. Still, Bud Selig is about as trend-following as it gets. So many times, without having any foresight for the future, he makes a move that screws the league long term. This would be such a move.
Hey Bud, do you want a suggestion? How about this, and it's complicated so pay attention. START THE SEASON A WEEK LATER! Seriously, do we really need 162 games a year? Does it have to ALL be about money? Couldn't you find a way to start the season a week shorter, shrink the season from 162 games to 156 games, and GET RID OF MOST OF THE INTRA-LEAGUE GAMES! You keep one series a year, or perhaps, a home and home series. Now, you are immediately saying that it's not fair to the teams that don't have a traditional national league rivalry. Yo Bud, here's the deal. THAT'S HOW YOU CREATE RIVALRIES! Personally, I'd like to see intra-league play go away. It serves no purpose other than to carry a bit of uniqueness to seeing a strange team come to your ballpark. Personally, the novelty has worn off. But that's for another day. So Bud, if you really are that concerned about the weather, get rid of the games that happen WHEN IT'S COLD. Start the season later, and get rid of some games.
As I report this, the Cleveland Indian game has been PostPoned due to snow, with the Tribe up 4-0, with 2 outs in the fifth inning. That's when that jackweed Mike Hargrove strolled out on the field at the speed of constipation, and began whining about the weather. Out came Eric Wedge, and the two managers began verbally sparring. Normally, I would applaud this, but it worked to Hargrove's favor. The umpire called a delay, and the game would never resume. The 4-0 lead will forever be wiped out. Remember this one folks, because these are the kinds of games that can change momentum. Hargrove also spent some time trading barbs with the fans. Wonder if there's any harsh feelings lingering for the "Human Snow Delay?" The game is rescheduled as part of a day/night doubleheader tomorrow at 1:05. The bonus? Snow is predicted. Looking forward to counting how many times the fans boo Hargrove. The bad? In a game that doesn't count at all, Victor Martinez left with a strained quad. I blame it on Hargrove, and Selig. They both HAD to have something to do with it. I've never been a Hargrove fan. Now it grows from indifference, to a bit of hate.
Now, what are we going to do about those games at the end of October?