Buck Showalter called into MASN’s “Wall-to-Wall Baseball” program this past Saturday, and he said a plethora of things during his time on the show. However one of the things that stood out to me was that he felt that series’ should be played over seven days as opposed to having off days in between each city’s leg of the series. In an age where we’re constantly trying to ensure that the playoffs don’t go into November, that’s a very interesting point. In my view, it’s also a valid one.
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Showalter said that teams seemingly play everyday during the season (with 21 off days built in), so why not keep going at full throttle during the postseason? Quite frankly, this makes a lot of sense to me. I recall that in the 1996-97 postseasons (which involved the Baltimore Orioles), the day in between legs of the series was referred to as a “travel day.” This year it seemed they were called “workout days.”
It’s ultimately up to each team when they want to travel. However it seemed that most teams would mirror what they all do during the regular season; travel immediately following the last game in one city and head onto the next. The Orioles were no exception to this, as they had full days in both Detroit and Kansas City in between games (along with scheuled workouts in the ballparks). During the regular season, teams travel after the final game of any given series – be it at night or an afternoon game. It’s not uncommon for teams to get into the next city just before or while the sun’s coming up.
Granted the league wants it’s “product” to be as fresh and crisp as possible during the postseason, hence the off days. And I suppose I understand that, although if guys are used to just plugging on indefinitely, perhaps off days could actually disrupt their progression. Then again, no player is going to want less rest. On one hand, I would submit that off days aren’t necessary in some cases. For instance, the O’s took on New York in the 2012 ALDS. There’s probably not a need for an off day in a series between cities that close.
But as much as I’d like to say that they should get rid of days off in those situations, on the other hand that would put players in that series at a disadvantage as opposed to their counterparts in other series’. The fact is that there’s no real cure-all for something like this, although if MLB wants more of an emphasis on scoring runs, the days off allow for pitching staffs to re-charge a bit. All in all, it’s doubtful that anything will change – at least in this regard.