Sunday, May 27, 2012

Baseball shows how life can be "unfair", doesn't it (look at scheduling glitches -- they invite more injuries)

Well, back to a favorite legacy topic, baseball.  The Washington Nationals, having spanked the Atlanta Braves in the Braves’ own park yesterday a second day in a row, have to play a Sunday night game again, on national cable (ESPN).  And it’s an hour later, at 8:05 PM, as if in the Midwest.

The Monday, Memorial Day, the Nats have to play a Memorial Day road game at 1:10 PM in Miami’s new Marlins Park.

Now it’s true that Miami’s park is retractable, so I guess there will be air conditioning against Miami daytime heat. But you’re asking the visiting team to play late on one night, risk extra innings or storms, and travel  500 miles or so (by charter to be sure) and suit up before noon in another city the next day.

Of course, this puts the visiting team at an increased disadvantage.  But the biggest objection to this schedule anomaly is that increases the risk of more player injuries.  And the Nationals already more than their share.   Jayson Werth broke his wrist during the last unusual Sunday night game, after making a foolish outfield dive for an uncatchable single.  I had to watch this gruesome event while dining in a sports bar during the game (Thirsty Bernie's).  Other teams are hurting, too, including the Braves.

It’s a little surprising that the players’ union or even the clubs allowed financial greed from cable media to impose such a risk.  Either the Atlanta game should have been played at the usual Sunday afternoon time, or the Miami Memorial Day game should be played in the evening.  Why not?

I can remember, when I first started following baseball, that teams in the 1950s didn’t always use air travel.  Getaway games sometimes were shortened so visiting teams could catch trains.  I remember a particular Senators’ loss in Detroit so it could catch a train to Cleveland.  In those nostalgic days, in the AL, Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago, and Kansas City (or even St. Louis) were “the West”.

In 1965, when I visited a graduate student friend at the University of Pittsburgh by bus (from DC), I had the “privilege” of encountering the New York Mets at a Greyhound bus station, having just been swept in Pittsburgh.

Life’s not fair, they say.  Sometimes it’s more about the “common good” than perfect justice for the individual.  (I’ve written about individual unfairness and “sacrifice” a lot here under my “rules of engagement” and “personal ethics” labels.)  But in this case, baseball, it suddenly is about corporate greed again.

I wonder how “conservative” columnist George Will (who wrote “Men at Work: The Craft of Baseball”) will weigh in on this one.

Wikipedia attribution link for Marlins Park. 

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