As I write this, we’ve managed to elect two new governors in this country, and scores of other officials locally—yet we haven’t crowned a baseball champion.
That’s right—-Election Day came and went and the World Series was still going on.
Now, it’s likely that by the time you read this, either the Phillies or the Yankees will have emerged triumphant. But there was no winner as November 4th dawned, and there just seems to be something inherently wrong with that.
Late isn’t so great.
If the Series goes the full seven games (the Yanks lead 3-2 as I write this), it will end on November 5, which will officially be the latest any MLB champion has been determined. If the Yankees wrap it up in six, it will tie the 2001 World Series (Arizona beat New York in Game 7 on 11/4/01) for lateness.
What if the Colorado Rockies had managed to emerge from the National League playoffs? Can you imagine WS games in Denver in November? You might have to wait until the following spring to find out how the thing turns out.
The World Baseball Classic helped push Opening Day back to the end of the first week of April, which has, in turn, put the World Series into November. And this is with most of the LDS and LCS series going nowhere near their maximum length. If those earlier series had gone longer, the World Series would be threatening to hit double digits—-as in November 10, 11, etc.
But you know what? Baseball’s Opening Day being April 6 or 7 was the norm, and not too long ago. But that was in the day of the traditional Sunday doubleheader, which has gone the way of the dinosaur, and flip phones.
You’d have a DH—-and I don’t mean designated hitter—-every Sunday afternoon in just about every ballpark in the big leagues. It was as American as the sport itself. So you could start a season as late as April 10-12, for example, and still fit the 162-game schedule in before too many days occurred in October.
Of course, there was no third tier of playoffs, like you have now thanks to Bud Selig’s Wild Card.
But knowing that the post-season, from LDS to WS, can now take about one full month to complete, I think it’s time to look at pushing back Opening Day into late March.
Look, I’m not crazy about that, either, but I’m willing to concede some games in March. It’s the lesser of two evils: early season games in March, or World Series games in November? I’ll take Option A, please. BUT—-and this is a biggie—-let’s be smart and schedule as many March games as possible in either domed stadiums or warm weather climates. Can’t we have a small modicum of common sense?
I’m not a meteorologist, nor an editor at The Farmer’s Almanac, so for all I know the temperatures in early November don’t vary all that much from late October. But two things: a) they MIGHT vary quite a bit; and b) who cares if they vary at all—-baseball simply wasn’t meant to be played in November!! Unless it’s in places like Venezuela.
I admit that I’m a traditionalist. Guilty as charged. But is it too much to ask to get baseball over with before trick-or-treating? Will we one day be flipping channels between the World Series and election coverage? (It could have happened this year; it was only by luck that this year’s Election Day fell on the World Series off day).
And what of post-season nicknames for playoff and World Series heroes of the 21st century?
What do we call Alex Rodriguez from now on? Mr. Octember? Or do we go the hyphenated route: Mr. October-November?
Seriously, this is nuts. Since MLB absolutely refuses to hold doubleheaders unless they’re forced to because of rainouts, then they MUST start the season earlier. Because one year Mother Nature is going to have herself a little fun and wreak all sorts of havoc on a November World Series.