Major League baseball seriously needs to re-examine its policy of scheduling days off after team’s home opener.
Under the best of circumstances, it’s a drag to get all excited about the start of the Major League Baseball season only to have it come to a screeching halt. But it’s been a real disaster coupled with the Chicago Cubs inexplicable decision to cancel the second game of the season against the St. Louis Cardinals several hours before it was to start, supposedly because of threatening weather.
The Cardinals had TWO days off in the first three days of the season. And, when they finally got back on the field, it was for a day game that most fans can’t watch because they had to work.
That’s three nights without baseball in the season’s first three days. Unacceptable!
I get that the idea is to prevent people who purchased opening day tickets from missing the pomp and circumstance should the home opener get rained out. But might I suggest that many of us who take a day off to go to the opening ballgame as part of an unofficial holiday can’t just go ahead and take a second day off at the last minute?
The result is a poor solution to a POSSIBLE problem which GUARANTEES an awkward situation.
All that’s certain because of taking a day off after the opener is that fans will have the rug of enthusiasm pulled out from beneath their feet. It’s like going to a party where everyone jumps out from behind the furniture to yell “surprise” -- and then the host tells guests to go home for a couple of hours before returning to have cake and punch. It’s difficult to maintain a high level of excitement in that sort of halting atmosphere.
A better suggestion, one that would appeal to Major League Baseball owners as well as fans because it would put management deeper into customers’ pockets, would be to celebrate the opening SERIES as opposed to just one game. Have festivities and appearances by Hall of Famers and local baseball heroes that could make the second and third games of the season more appealing to fans. Then, the significance of Game 1 compared to Game 2 is lessened. So skip the day off.
That’s good for ownership because, as things are, people fill ballparks for opening day, then they stay home in droves from Tuesday and Wednesday night games when the low temperature is in the 40s across the Midwest and kids have to go to bed early because they are still in school.
So make opening day a Friday night game then have games two and three be “opening weekend.”
Owners will make even more money because a lot more folks will show up for Saturday and Sunday matinees with average high temperatures in the upper 60s. And, most importantly, I won’t have to watch re-runs on the second day of the season when there is baseball to be played.
The more I think about it, the more steamed I am with the Chicago Cubs’ phony rainout.
It’s classless move by an organization already being roundly criticized for its ham-handed handling of its top prospect. No matter how you slice it — although I’m still not sure if the motivation was to postpone the game until Kris Bryant arrives in the big leagues or if it was to give the Wee Bears (no pun intended) more time to address the bathroom disaster their disorganized and controversial renovation work caused on opening night. Maybe it was both.
Officially, the Cubs postponed the game because they claimed the forecast called for foul weather. But a check with the National Weather Service reveals that it rained .04 inches Tuesday in the Windy City. And none of the precipitation fell during the time the game was supposed to be played.
The Cubs tried to spin the situation to say that they were concerned about the cold more than the wet. But the temperature never dropped below the low 40s. Are temperatures in the 40s a surprise for Chicago in the month of April? If so, don’t count on the game being played Wednesday afternoon when the high is supposed to be 46. I thought Chicago people were supposed to be immune to bad weather. This doesn’t do much to bolster their image as the City of Broad Shoulders. It kind of makes their fans seem pretty delicate.
If the bathrooms are the motivation for the delay, it’s completely unacceptable and the Cubs ought to be penalized for inconveniencing fans who bought tickets.
I’m not sure who could have thought it was acceptable to have only a handful of available bathrooms available for 40,000 people who are drinking beer in mass quantities. That seems like a pretty basic thing any designer worth his salt ought to be thinking about ahead of time. But maybe, if the Cubs are so afraid of typical Chicago weather they should have been thinking less about rebuilding the Wrigley Field bleachers and putting up video boards and more about building a domed stadium with plumbing from the current century.