Blog Entry

A modest proposal to the schedule-makers

Posted on: April 13, 2009 5:53 pm
 

As the final batch of home openers is played this week, please join me in a standing ovation for those in Cleveland who braved that entire fiasco on Friday.

All 500 of them.

In case you somehow missed it, the Blue Jays beat Cleveland 13-7 in the Indians' home opener on an afternoon that included a 3-hour, 47-minute rain delay.

So for the few hundred fans who made it through the ninth inning -- out of a first-pitch crowd of some 42,000 -- score that a 7-hour, 12-minute opener.

Biggest reason they didn't call the game? Toronto was making its only trip to Cleveland of the year.

Which is exactly the problem. It was shades of Seattle playing Cleveland the first week of the Indians' home schedule two years ago, when a blizzard killed four games and sent the Indians' and Mariners' schedules into chaos.

I thought the schedule-makers would have learned their lesson then, that lesson being: In cold weather cities, early-season opponents should all be clubs that will make two or three visits to that particular city during the season.

But the schedule-makers are a stubborn lot.

Look, I'm not jumping on them, because they've got a tough, tough job. And I get tired each year of listening to the whining about how the cold-weather teams should all open on the West Coast or in domes.

Yes, it makes sense on the surface.

But in the big picture, you're going to tell the Indians, Detroit Tigers, Chicago Cubs and others that they can never open the season at home? And deprive those fans of ever getting the first game of the season at home?

And furthermore, possibly put other clubs at a competitive disadvantage because, if the eastern teams always open the season on the road, then they're going to get an inordinate share of home games later?

Sending the eastern teams west, or to domes, early in the season is not as obvious an answer as it seems. Bottom line is, it's baseball, it's outside, and in April there's going to be some weather. There was a 51-minute rain delay Friday night in San Diego, of all places.

But to send Seattle or Toronto to Cleveland early, when the Mariners and Blue Jays don't have a trip there the rest of the season (and, thus, no easy way to make up postponements), the schedule-makers have got to find ways around that.

Likes: Love all of the day games this early in the season. Wish there were more later. ... San Francisco coach Tim Flannery hitting fungos during batting practice, bouncing one final grounder to second baseman Emmanuel Burriss and shouting as he hits it, "I've got a 100-game hitting streak on the line!" -- and then running to first base to challenge Burriss as he fields the ball. ... Boston outfielder Jason Bay, a class act. ... The Rally Monkey video in Anaheim in which the primate plays the Tom Cruise role, dancing to Bob Seger's Old Time Rock and Roll. ... The chicken parmesan pizza at Spirito's in Carlsbad.

Dislikes: If the start of this season gets any sadder, we're all going to need extra boxes of tissues. First Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart is killed in an auto accident, and Monday Hall of Fame Phillies broadcaster Harry Kalas is found passed out in the broadcast booth in Washington, D.C., roughly 30 minutes before the start of the Nationals' home opener. Sleep well, Harry. You're already sorely missed.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Lazy stadium night
"Catfish on the mound.
"'Strike three,' the umpire said,
"Batter have to go back and sit down.

"Catfish, million-dollar-man,
"Nobody can throw the ball like Catfish can.

"Used to work on Mr. Finley's farm
"But the old man wouldn't pay
"So he packed his glove and took his arm
"An' one day he just ran away.

"Catfish, million-dollar-man,
"Nobody can throw the ball like Catfish can.

"Come up where the Yankees are,
"Dress up in a pinstripe suit,
"Smoke a custom-made cigar,
"Wear an alligator boot.

"Catfish, million-dollar-man,
"Nobody can throw the ball like Catfish can.

"Carolina born and bred,
"Love to hunt the little quail.
"Got a hundred-acre spread,
"Got some huntin' dogs for sale.

"Catfish, million-dollar-man,
"Nobody can throw the ball like Catfish can.

"Reggie Jackson at the plate
"Seein' nothin' but the curve,
"Swing too early or too late
"Got to eat what Catfish serve.

"Catfish, million-dollar-man,
"Nobody can throw the ball like Catfish can.

"Even Billy Martin grins
"When the Fish is in the game.
"Every season twenty wins
"Gonna make the Hall of Fame.

"Catfish, million-dollar-man,
"Nobody can throw the ball like Catfish can."

-- Bob Dylan, Catfish


 

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