Should Major League Baseball Shorten The Regular Season? YES!

***The blog below was originally posted on 2/20/13 on: http://sportsnuthub.com/   The site is no longer up so I am re-posting on my personal blog.

Prince Fielder doesn’t look too excited here.

Prince Fielder doesn’t look too excited here.

Whoever said more is better never sat through a Pauly Shore movie marathon.  162 games is almost double, double, the NBA’s 82.  The NFL, with its measly 16 game regular season, proves it doesn’t take volume to generate rabid interest and revenue.

The sports calendar is fuller now then when MLB had the landscape to itself back in the 1800’s.  Football has surpassed it as America’s game.  It is time for MLB to catch up.

With expanded playoffs, the season now routinely carries into November and lets face it, it’s just too long in its current format.

By shortening the season to 132 games you can accomplish several objectives that will improve the sport and still finish the season sooner:

  • As there will be fewer total games, you increase their meaning.  This will generate more games with playoff implications.
  • We’ll have a better brand of baseball, as more players will stay healthy and miss fewer games.  This will get owners a greater return on contracts.
  • Pitchers will suffer less “dead arm” issues as the season heads into the playoffs.
  • You can expand the amount of playoff teams while still shortening the season.

For the executives who only care about the dollars, more playoff teams means more teams in the hunt down the stretch.  This would likely translate into fuller ballparks and higher TV ratings.  Higher TV ratings could translate to higher revenue generated from local and national TV deals.  This will help offset a loss of home games due to the shorter schedule.  More playoff games (that you can charge more money for tickets) would also help offset the shorter schedule.  Revenue sharing would help compensate perennial non-playoff teams.

Stephen Strasburg's arm’s doing the above a few less games a season might extend his career.

Stephen Strasburg’s arm’s doing the above a few less games a season might extend his career.

In addition to the health of players, more and more pitchers, either due to youth or recovery from injury, are being placed on pitched counts.  For example, much to the chagrin of the Washington Nationals and fans in general, Stephen Strasburg got shut down prior to the end of the 2012 season and the Nat’s playoff run.  You want your marquee players in as many games as possible.

With innings being less of a concern in a shorter season, there are options of starters going later into games, or not as much concern of overtaxing your bullpen.  There can be more rest between appearances.  Relief pitchers get so burnt out from year to year they seem to have a shorter shelf life than football players.

To the owners I would sum it up like this:  a shorter season protects your assets, increases fan and player interest with more meaningful games… improves the quality of games and ends your season sooner… The media hype, focus on the implications, and excitement for such a big change, would be great PR that you can’t buy.

Is there some financial risk?  You bet.  But the risk is worth the reward.  And if it doesn’t work?  You could always extend it back.

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About The Author:

Jeff Schubert

Formally the host/executive producer of the live web show Filmnut, http://thestream.tv/filmnut, Jeff Schubert now turns his research and writing abilities to sports. In the last couple of years, Schubert started a sports blog on Yahoo and WordPress.  Schubert grew up in New York City where he became a fan of the empire (N.Y Yankees) at an early age. The New York Football Giants would soon become his favorite team lead by his favorite athlete, Phil Simms. His favorite sports are Pro football, baseball, basketball, and tennis. As a blogger, Schubert is no homer. Nor does he just stick to writing about players and teams. Like many other fan of sports, the arrogance the blowhards on TV and radio display gets on his nerves. They think they know more then they really do and they need to be held accountable… And then God said let there be a blogosphere!

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