Major League Baseball released its tentative 2015 schedule today -- big season-ending series between the Diamondbacks and Astros! -- and I have one major issue.
The season begins April 5 with a "Sunday Night Baseball" game on ESPN, with the full Opening Day on April 6. The final day of the regular season is Oct. 4. I'd prefer the season start earlier, like it did this year, when the Sunday night game was played March 30 and Opening Day came on March 31.
Starting the season a week earlier can be an important factor come October. The deeper World Series games get pushed back, the more likely you will see bad weather or cold weather for games in the Midwest or Northeast. Witness the 2012 World Series in Detroit, with games played in a wind chill below 40 degrees. That's not baseball weather. What kind of sport plays its most important games in its worst weather of the season? That World Series would have stretched into November if the Giants hadn't swept the Tigers.
Sure, World Series games have always been played in October, but they used to be played during the day. Before the wild-card era and during the divisional era (1969 to 1993), the World Series was often completed in mid-October, although that started getting pushed back as the league championship series was extended from a best-of-five to a best-of-seven and the regular season took longer to complete as fewer doubleheaders were played.
So I like starting the season in late March. Yes, you get some cold games in certain locales early in the season, but attendance is lower in April anyway. And you can get around some of those weather issues by playing more day games in April. But starting the season April 5 will mean there's the possibility of World Series games dragging into November.
Plus, why does the season have to start on a Sunday? OK, ESPN wants to televise that first game. Fine, televise the first game on a Tuesday or Wednesday or whatever date falls late in March. As with this season, the regular season should end in late September.
Actually, to save more time on the calendar, I wouldn't mind cutting the schedule back to 154 games, but good luck with that.
Consider this: The 1955 World Series, when the Brooklyn Dodgers finally beat the New York Yankees, began on Sept. 28. Game 7 at Yankee Stadium took place on Oct. 4 with temperatures in the high 60s. It was a Fall Classic. Not a Winter Classic.