I read Hal Bodley's column in USA Today this morning and could not believe that a national publication puts such utter nonsense in its pages.
Let's deconstruct each part of this ridiculous writing, shall we?
First, Bodley talks about the terrible weather that's been inflicted upon this year's World Series, last night's postponement (the first WS postponement in ten years), and the chance (Horrors!) that with the new WS schedule starting next year (beginning on a Tuesday rather than a Sunday), that the WS will begin (Horrors again!) a whole two days later in the calendar than this year's.
Let me first disabuse any of you of the idea, promulgated by the MSM, that baseball's season lasts "far longer" than it used to. Let's take, for example, the 1965 World Series (I chose that one, rather than the one a year later, exactly 40 years ago, because it went seven games). It ended on October 14.. a whole two weeks earlier than this year's could, barring further postponements. And that Game Seven was in Minnesota -- perhaps the coldest major league city, but a city on which the average high for October 14 is 60 degrees. The 1965 season began on April 12 -- about ten days later than the 2006 season began.
So, baseball's season lasts approximately three weeks longer than it did forty years ago. Compare that to the NFL, where in 1965 the season began the weekend after Labor Day and ended with the championship game on January 2, 1966 (and that was a week later than planned -- there was an unscheduled divisional playoff game that forced the title game to be pushed back a week); the current NFL season is over a month longer, or the NBA season, which is now almost eight months long, more than two months longer than it was in the 1960's.
Of course, in those days all World Series games were played during the day, and it's colder at night -- even in St. Louis, a warmer city than Minneapolis, where the average high on October 26 -- today -- is 65 degrees, hardly too cold for baseball.
The weather in the northeastern third of the country has been unusually wet and cold this month. It could just have easily been pleasant and mild. But it wasn't. I don't find the baseball season too long -- I savor every date, every game that's left in it (dull as this postseason has been, maybe the NEXT game will be exciting!), for when it's over, we go into a long, dark, empty winter, until spring training begins in February.
As if that weren't enough, Bodley also wrote that there have been "39 postponements" in World Series history, including "10 caused by the San Francisco earthquake in 1989". Well, that's not right either -- the San Francisco postponement was ten days long, not "10 postponements". I can see what he's trying to say, but he didn't write it very well.
I just don't see where lopping 8 games off the major league season, as is frequently wistfully proposed by those who remember the 154-game season that was in effect in the major leagues from 1904 to 1960, will make any appreciable difference -- plus, there's no way team owners are going to be willing to forego the revenue from four lost home dates.
On another topic, Bodley wrote:
That's not what Phil Rogers writes:
"I really don't know," MacPhail said. "I've been working to get to this day. I knew that I'd have time after this to consider that."
Given his standing as a third-generation baseball executive and a guy who learned the business from the ground floor up, he's frequently been mentioned as a possible choice to replace the 72-year-old Selig, assuming the workaholic commissioner actually steps aside after 2009, when his contract expires.
But MacPhail said he is open to opportunities outside of baseball, as well as something within the game.
And finally, Bodley finishes by touting Dusty Baker for a managing job:
Apparently, Bodley's the only one who thinks so.