Major League Baseball’s scheduling snafu

It’s been exactly one week since the start of the 2018 Major League Baseball season, and many teams have been forced to fight an extra opponent: Mother Nature.

Poor weather conditions forced four teams to sit out Opening Day 2018. In both Detroit and Cincinnati, steady rain and cold temperatures spoiled the start of the season for players and fans alike.

In just this first week of the season, eight games have been cancelled due to inclement weather. This includes a game in Kansas City, two games in Cincinnati, a game apiece for each New York team, and three games for the Detroit Tigers.

The Tigers were forced to play on what should have been an off-day last Friday, and were trapped into playing in a double-header against the Pirates this past Sunday. The cancellation of Wednesday’s game against the Royals will force them into yet another double-header being played on April 20. There was an excellent case made as to whether or not these events are avoidable made by MLive’s Evan Woodbery on Thursday morning.

With the weather being as dismal as it has been in many cities in early Spring, it quite honestly doesn’t truly feel like baseball season. When I think baseball, I think sunshine, not snow showers. It’s really hard to get excited for baseball when every other day fans wake up and see that their favorite team’s game is cancelled, AGAIN.

Unfortunately, Mother Nature is an undefeated opponent. When she wants to win, she always wins. However, there is definitely a strategy as to how to play her game. A strategy that for some reason, whoever makes the MLB schedule has yet to figure out.

It’s easy to look at some of these early-season matchups across the league, and can’t help but scratch your head. It’d be an interesting explanation from the league as to why the New York Yankees are hosting the Tampa Bay Rays at the beginning of April. Yankee fans had to have been crushed to have all the excitement build for the home opener, only to wake up to see a foot of snow on the ground and a cancelled game. Here’s a crazy idea: the Rays play in Florida, inside of a dome – play the series in Tampa Bay!

Not to mention, you have matchups like the Astros playing the Rangers, while the Pirates are playing the Tigers. Whether you play in Houston or Arlington, you’re getting 80 degrees and sunny. And whether you play in Pittsburgh or Detroit, you’re getting 35 degrees and 35 mile-per-hour winds. Ship the Tigers to Houston, and fly the Pirates out to Arlington, and not a single game gets cancelled. Crazy, right?

Even watching the games in bad-weather cities that don’t get cancelled is just miserable. TV audiences have to watch guys bundled up like they’re going on a ski trip, pitchers praying their hand doesn’t freeze and snap off, and most can’t even see the batters on television because it’s raining sideways.

There’s an argument that it’s unfair statistically that Mike Trout gets to go tanning in the outfield in Anaheim, while Miguel Cabrera is trying to defrost his body to swing a bat for an entire month in Detroit.

I shouldn’t have to sell you on the aesthetic value of watching a game with a sold-out crowd, either. The cold weather can lead those at home to believe they’re watching batting practice when entire sections of seats are empty. It begs the question: why would they spend their money on subpar baseball in potentially dangerous weather?

Since nobody can seem to put two and two together, let’s help out the MLB schedule-makers.

The MLB has made a million changes to the game all to speed up play and make the game more interesting to get people to actually show up at the park and turn a game on the TV.

Instead of limiting the communication coaches and catchers can have with their pitchers, maybe you shorten the season up a bit. How about we cut down the 162-game season to somewhere between 142-152? Bump the start of the season back a week, and end the season a week earlier. Have your cold-weather teams start on the road to buy some time for the weather to get better, and the MLB postseason can start a week earlier to potentially avoid some of that brutal late-October weather. Maybe even throw in a few scheduled doubleheader dates.

Yes, games still get cancelled during the middle of the year, but there is a difference between having to cancel eight games during the first week of the season because it’s still snowing in half of the hosting cities, versus cancelling one game in the middle of July because there’s a tropical storm in the South.

And no one needs to hear the sob story about how West Coast and southern teams might get stuck playing a bunch of road games later in the year. They get to play the whole year in sunshine and warm weather, I’m sure they can make an exception so Michigan natives don’t have to watch the Tigers play in what looks like something out of a Christmas movie.