Major League Baseball has just released its tentative schedule for the 2015 season. It starts a bit later and ends a bit later than usual. It begins with ESPN’s “SundayNight Baseball” on April 5. A full slate of 15 Opening Day games is currently set for Monday, April 6. The season ends on Sunday, October 4.
Which is not unprecedented. I fondly recall watching the final game in the old ballpark in Cleveland on October 3, 1993 while scoreboard watching the end of the Braves-Giants NL West race that year. Of course, back in 1993, the playoffs were nothing more than a league championship series and a World Series. It was much simpler then. Game 6 of the World Series that year concluded on October 23.
In the two-year history of the wild card play-in game, the season ended earlier one year — on September 29 last year — and as on October 3, once again, in 2012. Last year, a Game 7 of the World Series would’ve been on October 31. In 2012 a Game 7 would’ve been on November 1. Worth noting that in 2012, we also had 20 degree temperatures in Detroit for Games Three and Four.
Presumably, then, the playoff schedule for next season will either be compacted somehow or else we’ll have another year when the World Series, if it goes the distance, will end in November. Here’s hoping for Derek Jeter’s sake that, if it does, no one hits three homers in a Game 7 or something, because then The Captain would lose one of his nicknames.
Of course, MLB might be in a damned if they do, damned if they don’t situation. If they started earlier, they’d risk snow-outs as we’ve seen in past years. And, it’s worth noting, the weather was just fine in Boston last October 31, so if they had played a Game 7 that day it would’ve been OK. You can’t predict weather — well, not this far in advance anyway — and if you’re going to have several rounds of playoffs, a 162-game season and no scheduled doubleheaders, you’re dancing with Jack Frost on one end of the schedule or the other.
Heck, it may be better to risk a cold World Series game. Those tickets are already sold and the commercial time is already on the books. And it’s just one or two games affected. If you get a blizzard on Opening Day, those teams are out a lot of gate, I imagine.