Friday, August 13, 2010

After 115 games, finally Cubs @ Cards. What to do about MLB scheduling: Part 1…The problem

Abnormalities like the fact that the Cubs are over 2/3 of the way through the season and haven’t played a single game in St. Louis yet should be immediate red flags for some action to be taken.

I know this isn’t entirely the schedule maker’s fault here. Over the last 12 years, Bud Selig has done his best to absolutely destroy what was once (at least in the National League) a nice, beautiful symmetry to the schedule.

The chaos that the schedule is now is comes from 5 things…

  1. Interleague play. Interleague play, by far, has disrupted the schedule more than any other single thing.
  2. Expansion: The teams added in 1998 disrupted any number of thing associated with the schedule.
  3. The rigidity of sticking to a 162 schedule. When initial expansion happened in 1961, baseball decided to change the schedule from 154 games to 162 to keep the schedule sane…so it can be done.
  4. Unequal division size. 30 teams…6 divisions…the solution seems simple enough.
  5. Rivalry games. This, more than anything, makes the schedule absolutely unfair.

What has this resulted in?

1. Long distance road trips with teams going from New York to San Francisco on the same trip.
2. Uneven schedules, not only for interleague play, but in intra-league play.
3. Uneven distribution of intra-divisional games (like the fact the Cubs only play the Pirates in one series in the last 1/3 of the season...and no trip to St. Louis until now).
4. The posibility of a team not playing on a traditional "baseball" holiday like Memorial Day, Independence Day or Labor Day.

I don't believe there is a single person who seriously follows the game who likes the results of the MLB schedule over the last decade.

So, how do you fix this problem?

I am going to do a series of posts on how to fix the MLB schedule, so keep an eye out for them over the next week.