The NHL opened its regular season this weekend with a shortened 48-game schedule due to the league’s lengthy lock-out. That’s 58-percent of its normal 82-game campaign, which had me wondering…how would have a shortened MLB season changed the playoffs last year?
Actually, not too much.
Under such circumstances the regular season would have ended after 94-games (which falls in mid July). At that mark only one American League team that eventually made the postseason would’ve been left out–Oakland. And the same in the National League–St. Louis.
(The Cubs were (38-56) after 94-games).
Oakland of course went on to have an incredible second half to win the AL West (they trailed Texas by 6.5 games in mid July) and the Cardinals overcame a 4.5 games deficit to jump Pittsburgh for the wild card. Otherwise, all else remained in tact in the final standings for division winners and wild cards through 162-games.
IS BASEBALL’S SEASON TOO LONG?
In baseball the Fourth of July is typically a good indicator of which teams will make the postseason. Chances are, if you’re not battling for the division on Independence Day, you won’t be come late September, either.
For this reason I feel baseball could benefit from a shorter regular season, perhaps one consisting of 154-games, as it did until 1961 when the league increased its season due to expansion.
Shortening the season wouldn’t necessarily eliminate the late-season drama we’ve seen the past two years (it would just happen sooner), the postseason wouldn’t be as overshadowed by the start of the NFL season, and the World Series wouldn’t end in November.
Besides, it’s not as if the league hasn’t already cheapened the regular season with the addition of a one-game wild card play-in game (that’s another story), so if the emphasis is on brightening the lights on the postseason, why not make it more appealing to the masses by playing it sooner?
It’s unlikely baseball’s owners are willing to come off the gate money from losing four home games a year, but it seems an awfully small sacrifice to give the game the attention it deserves, but lacks, in October/November.
What do you think?
Is less more?
If so, how many games should baseball play in its regular season?