With the end of Memorial Day weekend, I started thinking about Major League Baseball (MLB) and how baseball needs to shorten its season. The current format has a 162-game regular season, which is far too long.
Currently, every MLB team has played around 50 games. If that happened in the NBA or NHL, the season would be more than halfway over, since those sports play 82-game regular seasons. Also, baseball players play around 30 spring training games in preparation for the season and must win another 11 games to win the World Series. This means the teams playing in the World Series would have played more than 200 baseball games.
As an all-around sports fan, the season seems to drag on. I do not care about baseball in April, when the season starts, because I am focused on the NHL and NBA, which are heading into postseason play. Is one game in April really that important when there are 162-games to go? I didn’t think so.
Jayson Stark, a baseball writer for ESPN.com, proposed shortening the season by eight games to allow for an extension of the postseason. However, Stark’s idea still does not make the season shorter. Adding two more teams to the playoff mix would only make the postseason longer, but it does not fix the problem of the length of the regular season.
Christina Settimi of Forbes.com said she thought the baseball season should be reduced by 20 to 40 games. She said many of the division winners were already decided with 120 games to go, so there is no point in playing 40 more games. Also, Settimi said she would be in favor of expanding the playoffs to add two more teams. While I disagree with her on that point about the playoffs, I do think the divisional round of the postseason should be extended to a seven-game series.
While thinking about this subject, my proposal would be to also have the baseball season reduced by 42 games to 120. Also, I would start the regular season in May and conclude the regular season by the middle of September. That way, the playoffs could start toward the end of September and conclude in October. I know shortening the season will not improve competition, but what is the point of playing meaningless games for teams that are out of contention? I am tired of watching games played by teams that are 20 or more games out of a playoff spot.
With a shortened season, the entire season would be more compelling, rather than an emphasis on second-half baseball. In the current setup, teams can play poorly for the first couple of months but turn it on late to make the playoffs. A shorter season means teams have to be playing solid baseball from the start or risk missing the playoffs.
This proposal would help keep interest high in the sport because games would be more meaningful and important. It would keep baseball as the prime summer sports attraction and it would not have to compete against the NHL or NBA, since the beginning of the season in the MLB is not as important. Therefore, by the time those two sports end, baseball will be in full swing.
Also, there is an increase in performance enhancing drugs in the past decade in baseball. Maybe if the season were shorter there would not be as much use of those drugs? I do not know for sure, but I do think reducing the number of games would help.
In looking at the reality of the situation, baseball is run by the owners and the TV networks who will want the revenue that the current situation generates. The owners want fans continuing to come to the ball park, paying the high prices for both tickets and concessions.
With the money running baseball, the game will continue to remain as it is with a 162-game season. Despite this fact, it is time baseball considers a shorter season to help alleviate the boredom of the middle of the season and inject more excitement into the game.