The start of 2018 season was a weird one, games were snowed out, and the games that missed the snow, was played in practically Arctic temperatures, but that shouldn’t be the case anymore. This spring may have been an anomaly, just a weird weather cycle that won’t repeat itself again, but it may not be. The MLB has an issue that is going away anytime soon. With the current season structure, that has games going from the last week of March to the first week of November, the MLB will always deal with less than ideal conditions, but why? The Twins opened up Target Field in 2010, a field without a roof, which is insane. I understand the opportunity to watch baseball outdoors on a warm summer afternoon is one of the best feelings one can experience, but you have to be realistic, it’s Minnesota, it snows in March, April, October, and even September at times.
How can you have the best of both worlds? Retractable roofs, six MLB stadiums currently use some form of a retractable roof, all except Marlins park were built well before Target Field even broke ground. Sorry to pick on Minnesota, they aren’t the only one at fault for this oversight, Yankee Stadium, Citi Field in New York, Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Nationals Park in DC, and a few other colder weather teams that did not see it fit to equip their stadiums with a retractable roof.
Many will point to price and aesthetics for reasons why these stadiums don’t have retractable awnings of some sort, but that isn’t good enough for me. The MLB is a multi-billion dollar industry with profits, not just revenue, increasing every single year, and they only lose money when games are canceled due to weather. The league should mandate teams building new stadiums in certain climates equip their stadiums with a roof, retractable or not, and if there is some resistance from the owners due to cost, put together a revenue pool that all teams have to pay into to help cover the costs of the structures.
Even if the MLB made this mandate tomorrow, it wouldn’t solve the problem the league faces, but there could be a bit more drastic of a solution, shorten the season. Before you all jump down my throat, I don’t like the idea of reducing the baseball season. The numbers and records in baseball are sacred, and changing the number of games for the first time since the 1960’s would change all of that. However, this exact idea has started to gain some ground among the players, fans, and reportedly even the league itself for a few reasons. First off, players want real days, not just travel days, added to the season. Second, this would help the season stay within more warm weather games, which again, players don’t want to play in anyways and fans don’t want to go to anyways.
This idea would also mean the players should technically get a pay reduction, as the owners aren’t going to want to lose possible revenue games without getting compensation themselves, but some players would be willing to take a small pay cut if it meant a new schedule. Anthony Rizzo of the Cubs is one player who would be ready to receive a slight pay cut for a shorter season, and even brought up the idea of playing scheduling doubleheaders to help shorten the season and gain more off days. The MLB used to use scheduled doubleheaders through the 1960’s, usually on Sundays, and a return to this probably would be welcomed by the fans.
Rob Manfred has said a reduction in the schedule is likely coming at some point, which would help a lot of the issues with weather early and late into the season, but why stop there? Baseball is pretty much the only major sport where you buy a ticket that may not even be played in that month if the weather intervenes. It is too late for the MLB to mandate roofs for current stadiums in cold weather regions, but it isn’t too late for future stadiums, as some of the older stadiums like Fenway park may undergo renovations or even replace at some point in the near future. The MLB needs to make a real change to fix this issue facing baseball, and when its eventually done, everyone will be much happier because of it.
Article by: Maxx Hotton
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