Volume 93, Issue 4

Wednesday, May 28, 1999


Women's World Cup making strides

Players in the sun a little too long

Millenium Moment

Players in the sun a little too long

One-hundred-and-sixty games is how long the Major League Baseball season has become. Are all those games really necessary? I enjoy watching baseball but the season is just a little too long for my tastes.

When Major League Baseball went on strike in 1994, the 1995 season was cut by 18 games. Baseball purists then complained the season was too short when actually, it was still way too long. The problem with the baseball season is by the middle of June, half the teams are out of playoff contention and those team's players are simply collecting pay cheques.

Here are some solutions for Major League Baseball. First the season should be cut down by either 60 or 80 games. By doing this, each game will have a little more meaning. The National Basketball Association is considering maintaining a 50 game season, much like this year's lock-out shortened season. The NBA is considering this option because they found their per game attendance increased. If baseball wants to attract more fans then their season should also be shortened. By doing so they make each game count.

The second part of the solution for baseball is to share revenue. What makes a season long in baseball is a losing year. If you are a Milwaukee Brewers or Montreal Expos fan, you know at the beginning of the season your team will not be contending by the time the dog days of summer roll around. By sharing their revenue, owners could put a more competitive game on the field and each team would have an equal amount of talent.

Along the same lines, baseball should either institute a salary cap or stop paying players $10 million a year. The entire payroll of some teams is barely over $10 million – how are they to compete in a market which allows only a few teams to have the best players? Think about how many of the league's best players have come from the Expos organization – perhaps the name Larry Walker rings a bell.

The third idea is a little simplistic but here it goes. By cutting down the season the World Series would no longer be held at the end of October. I thought baseball players were the boys of summer? By cutting down the season baseball could have the World Series in August or early September. And if they really wanted, instead of having eight teams in the playoffs maybe they could let 16 or 12 teams battle for the World Series, thereby generating more revenue from television rights by having the playoffs last longer – it works for the NHL and the NBA.

Having more teams in the playoffs would allow more cities to remain interested in baseball past August. Baseball has 30 teams yet they only allow eight into the playoffs and that makes little sense. The solution? Drop 60 season games and add more playoff games.

Finally, get rid of Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig and get an impartial commissioner who will piss off the players and the owners equally. Selig is an owner and is not objective. I would rather see a bad impartial commissioner than listen to billionaires complain about not having money. Players should play baseball for the love of the game, not for financial reasons. Owners should do the same.

Call me crazy but I think baseball would be a lot more fun to watch if I knew there was an outside chance the Expos could be in the playoffs or that the New York Yankees were not going to win the World Series.

In all honesty, it seems all sport seasons are a little too long. However, what other kind of bar conversation would people have without the previous night's game to talk about? Of course, it would be a lot more fun to talk about games which have meaning than those which are just a part of a long season.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999