I really enjoy the month of April. There’s nothing quite like the newfound hope for 28 teams* this early in the year, all thinking they have a chance at a postseason berth. It’s that time when the post-football sports schedule escalates quickly, between the NCAA basketball tournaments, NHL playoffs, NBA playoffs, and the beginning of the baseball season.
I’m writing this from my hotel in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where I had planned a trip to see a Minnesota Twins game at Target Field. This was meant to be my seventh MLB ballpark in a quest to see as many as I can, but the weather has not cooperated.
When I planned the trip about a month ago, I had purchased a ticket for the Saturday game, but quickly flipped the ticket when I saw the ominous weather forecast. My hope was that if the Twins just played one of their three weekend games against the White Sox, I’d be able to grab a seat at the last minute and check Target Field off the ballpark list.
I arrived Friday night from Boston, and the call was made pretty quickly cancelling the night game due to a wintry mix. The snow has continued throughout the entirety of Saturday, cancelling any chance of an afternoon game, and now the call has been made to wipe Sunday’s game as well. This leaves me with three days in Minneapolis without seeing a single pitch thrown.
My trip is not completely ruined. Mall of America is incredible, transportation to and from either of the Twin Cities is remarkably cheap, and the area has plenty of indoor attractions. I’m using the money I would have spent on a Twins game to see the Game 3 of Wild-Jets on Sunday night, and looking forward to the second half of my journey, as I visit Milwaukee, where the Brewers actually have a functioning roof.
Is April too early for baseball? There are many issues with adjusting the schedule, and changes would not even be considered until the next CBA, but I think moving the start of the season to mid-April has to be possible with one of two options:
- Shorten the regular season to 140 games. Each team loses 11 home games, which is made up for by expanding the playoffs. By expanding, I mean letting more teams in the postseason without expanding the one month of postseason play. I think most teams would take the chance of getting multiple playoff home games at the expense of several regular season games, especially given the disturbing attendance numbers around the league.
- Doubleheaders every Sunday. Every team plays two on Sundays over the course of the regular season. The first game starts around noon, and the second is an early evening game. Separate admission so that teams aren’t (theoretically) losing money, and roster sizes are expanded to accommodate the impact on pitching staffs. This would also not affect the number of days off for players within the regular season.
Either of these options would be possible with Opening Day scheduled around April 15th, and the regular season ending in late September/early October as it does now. Of course, tomorrow is April 15th, and the Twins will probably be snowed out. Maybe they just shouldn’t have built a $500 million ballpark in the middle of Minnesota without a roof.
*You’re probably thinking this refers to the Mets and Marlins. Or perhaps the Mets and Rays. Nope, it’s actually the Marlins and Rays. My daily picks are suffering mightily as a result of the Mets’ 11-1 start. I will begrudgingly acknowledge that so far, they have a good baseball team, and I’m willing to accept them back into consideration as a functioning franchise. Maybe I’ll even pick them to win eventually (yes, I’m 1-11 picking winners of their games this year).