At 162 games, the MLB season is long. In fact, it’s twice as long as the NBA and NHL.
Rob Manfred may try to change that.
Indeed, the MLB commissioner and MLBPA are thinking of shortening the season to 154 games. While it seems like a no-brainer – playing 162 games in 183 days is incredibly taxing on the body – there are several potential drawbacks and ramifications to consider.
“It’s tough because I don’t know if the players would feel that much of an effect,” MLB analyst C.J. Nitkowski said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “You’re only talking about eight more games that’s going to be the difference, but it’s 120 total games less that would be played. There’s going to be 15 every day and there’s going to be eight less days. I wonder about from a revenue standpoint, more the business side. They say, ‘Well, they can make up for it maybe by expanding the playoffs.’ I hate the idea of even records. There’s zero chance that some records will ever be broken again. I hate that part. But I guess at the end of the day, Rob Manfred will make the right decision for baseball, at least try to push it forward. But it’s going to be a tough sell.”
MLB must also consider its TV contracts.
“TV contracts do not expire at the same time,” Nitkowski said. “They’re staggered all over the place. (Teams could) lose significant dollars. It would be really tricky to pull this thing off. I don’t know if there would be some kind of rebates or refunds or if Major League Baseball would pay the difference. I don’t know. It would be a tough sell. But A few extra off days, I don’t know if fans would really notice the difference. I think that’s the big one. Would they really notice eight less games from their team? From that sense, I’m probably not in favor of it.”
But what players? Surely the players would appreciate more off days, right?
“Maybe,” Nitkowski said. “I will tell you this: Not all, but a lot of guys, will tell you this, especially pitchers: A lot of times the All-Star game, which is a full four days, you don’t always feel the sharpest (when you return). Three days off sometimes would be too much. Now obviously it wouldn’t be consecutive days. I just don’t know if it would make that huge of a difference when we’re talking about basically adding eight more off days throughout the season sprinkled in. You’re talking about one-and-a-half days, not even, per month added. I don’t know if the guys would really feel that big of a difference. It would be nice probably for the West Coast teams because they lose their off days to travel more often than not. If the Mariners are going back to Seattle because they were playing in New York, you lose time. You lose your off days. So when you play for a West Coast team, a lot of times your off days are not what they are when you’re playing in the Central or the East. So those teams might appreciate it a little bit more than maybe those other teams.”