As I watched the NFL yesterday on the Red Zone – sports for those with ADHD – it came to me how much Major League Baseball could learn from football when it comes to scheduling.
All of yesterday’s games were played within the division, which illustrates a major flaw in baseball’s scheduling. There were ten games that had some kind of playoff implications, whether it was winning the division or playoff seeding.
Conversely, the Mets ended their season with an interleague game against Houston. Regular readers of this blog know I am vehemently against interleague play, but in particular on Opening Day and in September.
There was an interleague game nearly every day of the season, including two for home openers and eight series in September. How can you legitimately promote pennant races with that many September interleague series?
MLB would be wise if its September schedule, or at least the last three weeks of it, were played within the division. The Mets’ 2015 September interleague series is against the Yankees. If neither team is in the race then there could be a lot of empty seats at Citi Field.
Another thing the NFL does I like with its schedule is the opening week. Clearly, the NFL wrestled the “magic’’ of an Opening Day from baseball with its Thursday night game featuring the Super Bowl champion.
Baseball’s Opening Day used to highlight Washington – the team in the nation’s capital – and Cincinnati, the oldest franchise, the day before everybody else.
This past season, the first regular season game was played in March, while another team was still in its exhibition schedule. There have been other times, notably when the Yankees and Rays went to Japan, when the season openers were played abroad and those teams returned to complete their exhibition schedule.
Opening Day used to be special, now it’s a hodge-podge. The NFL gets it when it comes to scheduling while MLB is falling short.