Baltimore Orioles: Could MLB go to a 154-game schedule?
Could the Baltimore Orioles find themselves playing only 154 games in the foreseeable future?
Since 1961, the Baltiore Orioles and every other major league team have played a 162-game schedule each year. When new commissioner Rob Manfred took over this past season, he almost immediately started throwing ideas out there in terms of things that he might change in the sport. At one point along the way, one of those ideas was moving back to a 154-game schedule. Uh, really?!
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We hear about leagues thinking of tweaking their schedules all the time. However norally it’s in the opposite direction; as an example, the NFL has long flirted with the idea of going to 18 games. (And for the record I think that would be a mistake.) So a professional sports league actually trimming their regular season down would in effect be a fairly novice idea, and perhaps even a leap of faith.
Admittedly I’m against it, mainly because I don’t like change. I’ve only known a 162-game schedule. The reasons Commissioner Manfred suggested it vary, however the main ones are that it would give players more days off during the season, it would help players perhaps not to be injured as often, and it might prevent the World Series from trickling into November.
Let’s be honest; taking eight games off of the regular season probably isn’t going to prevent too many injuries. If you lop 20 games off the schedule that might be a different story. However eight games is effectively two four-game series’. Having said that, I suspect that we’d have to play at least ten years at 154 games to truly know if injuries are fewer as a result. It’s entirely possible.
The days off part is obviously something that would appeal to players, and perhaps even owners for that matter. As it stands right now, each team gets 21 days off built into the schedule. However that wouldn’t necessarily translate to 29 days off, as part of the idea would be to prevent the World Series from potentially ending in November.
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And on that point I do actually agree. The World Series doesn’t need to be in November. Especially considering some of the markets in the sport; what is baseball to do if Minnesota meets Colorado in the World Series and there’s a blizzard? I’ve been to Denver in November; not only is it frigid, but there’s a very real chance of snow.
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So I think that MLB should try to ensure that a World Series game in November (perhaps barring a makeup date) never happens. But the relative health of baseball has improved over the past ten years or so. Does MLB really want to make such a large change in actually scaling back the number of games? Maybe it makes things even better, who knows. It just seems like a bit of a risk.