Anthony Rizzo wants MLB schedule to be shorter

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Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo thinks baseball’s 162-game schedule is too long, ESPN’s Jesse Rogers reports. Rizzo said during an appearance on ESPN 1000, “I think we play too much baseball. Yes, guys are going to take pay cuts. But are we playing this game for the money or do we love this game? I know it’s both, but in the long run it will make everything better.”

Rizzo was just activated from the disabled list and is in Tuesday’s lineup against the Cardinals. Temperatures in Chicago around game time (8:05 PM ET) are expected to be around 36 degrees. “I think playing in the cold sucks. I was thinking about this the other day. When you think of Cubs and Cardinals, you think of a beautiful Saturday at Wrigley Field. You don’t think about playing in 20 degrees,” Rizzo said.

If the season can’t be shortened, Rizzo would at least like to have the regular season start later. He said, “In a perfect world, we’d start the season later and play a few scheduled doubleheaders going into an off day. As a fan you’re going to a baseball game in April, and it’s raining, snowing and [with] freezing rain. Is it really that much fun? That’s my question.”

Not only will the players likely take pay cuts if the season were to be shortened, baseball team owners would see a marked decline in revenues. At least one of two things would happen as a result of that: staff would be cut (front office and otherwise), and prices (tickets, concessions, et. al.) would increase.

As a player, Rizzo shouldn’t even be suggesting that the players would take a pay cut. That would obviously need to be collectively bargained, but saying it hypothetically already creates an expectation that that should happen. The season could be shortened and players wouldn’t have to take pay cuts if they were to successfully negotiate as such. In other words: don’t give ownership any ideas.

The players bargained for more off-days in the last round of negotiations for the CBA, which came at the cost of starting the season earlier. Having the season start later might come at the cost of those off-days. It also might simply rearrange when players experience inclement weather as temperatures in October can dip quite low as well. Rizzo’s idea about more scheduled double-headers is unlikely to be accepted by the player’s union because of the added injury risk.

Shortening the schedule isn’t a new idea, but it’s one that has been gaining traction as a result of the abnormally disruptive weather to start the season. Rizzo conceded as much, saying, “This is kind of a freak April.” Given that most stadiums don’t have roofs, shortening the schedule and starting the season later are two short-term ideas to work around inclement weather. But in the grand scheme of things, it may take every new stadium having a roof to fix that issue.

No lease extension, but Orioles and governor tout partnership

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The Baltimore Orioles and Maryland Gov. Wes Moore announced a joint commitment to what they called a “multi-decade, public-private partnership” to revitalize the Camden Yards sports complex.

The statement from the team and the state’s new governor came Wednesday, the deadline for the Orioles to exercise a one-time, five-year extension to their lease at Camden Yards. The team was not planning to exercise that option, according to a person with knowledge of the decision. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the club hadn’t announced its decision.

With no extension, the lease is set to expire at the end of this year, but the team and the Maryland Stadium Authority can keep negotiating. Wednesday’s joint release seemed to be an attempt to calm any nerves in Baltimore about the team’s future.

“I am looking forward to continuing to collaborate with Governor Moore, his administration, and the Maryland Stadium Authority in order to bring to Baltimore the modern, sustainable, and electrifying sports and entertainment destination the state of Maryland deserves,” Orioles CEO John Angelos said.

“We greatly appreciate Governor Moore’s vision and commitment as we seize the tremendous opportunity to redefine the paradigm of what a Major League Baseball venue represents and thereby revitalize downtown Baltimore. It is my hope and expectation that, together with Governor Moore and the new members and new chairman of the MSA board, we can again fully realize the potential of Camden Yards to serve as a catalyst for Baltimore’s second renaissance.”

Republican Larry Hogan, the state’s previous governor, signed a bill last year increasing bond authorization for M&T Bank Stadium, home of the Baltimore Ravens, and Camden Yards. The measure allowed borrowing of up to $600 million for each stadium.

“When Camden Yards opened 30 years ago, the Baltimore Orioles revolutionized baseball and set the bar for the fan experience,” Moore, a Democrat, said Wednesday. “We share the commitment of the Orioles organization to ensuring that the team is playing in a world-class facility at Camden Yards for decades to come and are excited to advance our public-private partnership.”

Angelos recently reaffirmed that the Orioles would stay in Baltimore, although he dressed down a reporter who asked for more clarity on the future of the team’s ownership situation. Angelos was sued last year by his brother Lou, who claimed John Angelos seized control of the Orioles at his expense.