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Monday, March 26, 2012

Eliminate exhibition games. Just start regular season in FL & AZ.

Somebody please research whether MLB can make more money by starting the regular season in the minor league parks in which MLB teams play these unnecessary and incredibly boring exhibition games.

1. Teams can charge regular season prices.
2. Teams can televise all the games, let's say 20 games.  Even the Yankees only have a few exhibition games on TV.
3. Teams will collect regular season TV revenue, which should make up for the fewer fans attending because the parks have fewer seats.  Attendance at early season games can be low because of bad weather.

Some teams already have their warm weather exhibition parks configured like their MLB parks.  See the Red Sox.

This would eliminate the persistent and increasing friction between starting the regular season earlier and adding games to the post season tournament.  With all teams starting in warm weather locations, the regular season can be played pretty much any time.

Those locations would love it as many more fans would vacation there to see regular season games, not those exhibition games featuring minor league players in split squad games designed to squeeze more money out of fans.  Plus, the fans would sit closer to the action than many could in the large parks in the home cities.

Remember, some teams have started regular season games in Japan.  So why not Florida and Arizona?

Some teams with warm weather homes could play in them: Miami, Tampa, Arizona, San Diego, LA, maybe Atlanta.  Some can play indoors: Seattle, Toronto, Milwaukee, Houston.  That reduces some of the congestion.

But don't the players need those games to prepare?  No.  Non-pitchers need them like a hole in the head.  Pitchers just need to throw more and more pitches to build up their arm strength, something they can do on the sideline and pitching to teammates.

Eliminate exhibition games.

There's a concept that I associate with former star Pittsburgh Pirate pitcher Vern Law: if you're not playing to win, then don't keep score.  MLB teams do not play to win exhibition games but they keep score and play with regular season rules except for maybe stopping after nine innings ... sometimes.  MLB does not even have the sense to spice up the games by allowing flexibility and experimentation.

For instance, if a team leads after the top of the ninth, why not bat in the bottom of the ninth?  Both teams could benefit.  If Alex Rodriguez walks, why not let Yankee manager Joe Girardi ask for a do-over and let A-Rod bat again?  Both teams might benefit as would the fans.

The fact that they don't do these common sense things is another reason to just start the regular season down there at the training sites.

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