The MLB should have fewer games

A shorter season would benefit the fans and the players.

The Major League Baseball season kicked off on March 29, and the 30 teams have more than their opponents to outplay: mother nature. Weather has frustrated a series of games due to snowfall and rain. Just last Sunday, on April 15, there were 6 rainouts, an as of April 19th, the MLB has postponed 21 games.

Every year, Major League teams have to play through rigorous weather first several weeks of the season. Often, the players will bundle up in warm gears or miss games due to impossible playing conditions. The interleague game between the Twins and the Pirates was played through 37 degree weather, 20 mph winds, and wintry snow on April 4th; Francisco Cervelli, a catcher for the Pirates, was equipped with a long sleeve under the jersey, balaclava, and winter gloves. According to MLB website, Twins Starter Jake Odorizzi said, “It’s one thing to have a temperature like that. But when you add in wind and snow, it’s an interesting viewpoint out there. It’s probably the coldest game I’ve ever thrown in, in my life. I tried to get a feel for the ball. But I didn’t feel comfortable with my release point or a feel for the ball.” Because of the distracting conditions, the game was played sloppily and definitely not up to their full potential; Cervelli lost a regular pop up due to the snowy sky. Twins second baseman Brian Dozier also commented, “It wasn’t really bad to see until that last inning. Usually, I’m hoping they hit it to me but in the ninth, I was Ok [sic] they didn’t.”

Poor playing condition is not the only struggle for the Major League players. After two postponed games in Cleveland, Toronto Blue Jays were returning to Roger Centre, their home field. Since Roger Centre is a dome, they expected the roof to protect them from snow or any other weather disturbance. Icefall from the 1750 feet CN tower, however, had ripped through the right field roof, subsequently postponing their series against the Kansas City Royals. The Blue Jays now had missed three games in a row throwing the entire team off the rhythm. Kansas City had faced a dangerous issue as well. While the team bus was transporting the players to the stadium, a piece of ice flew through the windshield injuring the driver. A chunk of ice had hit the driver and cut his face. Luckily, Royals reliever Blaine Boyer was able to grab the steering wheel but this could’ve been a catastrophic accident.

Major League teams play 162 games during their regular season. This is far more than what the NFL, NBA, or NHL teams play a season; the NFL plays 16, both the NBA and the NHL play 82. Baseball season lasts significantly longer as well; the MLB season lasts from the end of March through mid-October. I believe it would be best if the season was shortened to 154 games or less.


It would benefit the fans.

The hellish weather and with many students in school, the attendance is extremely low first month of the season and especially with the unusual cold this year, the attendance has plummeted from last year; Jeff Passan reported that MLB’s average attendance of 27,532 is down 2,700 fans which is a 10% drop. If the season kicked off few weeks into April, teams could avoid fanless games since the attendance usually jumps 3,000 fans near the summer.


It would benefit the players.

The extensive season is exhausting. Players have to travel all over the country to play 3-4 hour games almost every day. To play 162 games a year, health issues are unavoidable; pitchers blow out their arms and batters are often placed on the disabled lists due to muscle strains. Per ESPN, there were 165 disabled list stints in the first 25 games last year. The health constraints on baseball players can be resolved through a shorter season. In case of a postponement, especially, players have to play a doubleheader.

Now, there are obvious concerns that follow if the Major League Baseball decides to shorten its season. First is a player pay cut. Because fewer games are played, salary cuts are expected; organizations lose profit from tickets, broadcasting, and any miscellaneous revenue. Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo said 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.” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred commented, “I think that Anthony [Rizzo]’s comments were realistic in the sense that he linked the fact that if, in fact, you’re going to go to 154 games or some lower number of games, that players would have to be participants in that process.” Even though the players will have to expect pay cuts, it will benefit their health and will also solve MLB’s salary inflation issue.

Another concern is player statistics. A Dozen fewer games mean a dozen fewer opportunities to hit home runs, throw strikeouts, or record saves. Baseball is a competition focused on numbers. But this concern is overthought. Looking back at the Steroids Era where Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds, and Mark McGwire blasted 60+ home runs, these numbers are completely arbitrary when comparing to today’s athletes. Over time, the records adjust itself and will be valued not relative to other seasons but to other players.

Baseball’s a beloved sport where audience from all over the globe pays great attention to. The games could be made much enjoyable if fans are able to attend games without concerns for postponement and if players can play up to their full potential. MLB should shorten its season.