Baseball Should Have Scheduled Better Matchups For Opening Day
Mad Bum Would Be Facing His Old Team Opening Day Had MLB Created a Better Schedule
Major League Baseball has spent nearly three months fouling pitches off its own ankles, botching nearly every opportunity to agree on terms to resume the season. Finally, at the very end of June, MLB connected for a base hit.
With fans so eager for the sport to come back, that metaphorical hit could have been at least a double. When some of the veteran players decided to sit out the season amid rising cases of the COVID-19, the hit had to be downgraded to a mere infield single.
Still, as even casual fans know, a base hit is better than making an out. At least there is a runner on, so the club has a good shot at driving him home.
It turns out we were not seeing a base hit after all, not even an infield single. After looking at the much-anticipated Opening Day schedule, one realizes that MLB's latest at bat has resulted in just another foul off the ankle.
Instead of rewarding our patience with matchups of intense rivals for the opening weekend, baseball has instead offered us little but the most uninteresting series.Rebuilding Kansas City plays the Cleveland Indians, who just over the winter traded its ace in an effort to lower payroll.
Similarly rebuilding Seattle opens in Houston, which has run away with the American League West for the last five years. Last place Pittsburgh opens against N.L. Central champion St. Louis, yet one more unenthusiastic pairing.
Baseball officials have had to overcome geographic limitations, given that there will no interdivisional games this year. Mundane matchups such as the Marlins vs. the Orioles or the Pirates vs. the Tigers are inevitable, but schedule makers should have taken more pains to ensure an exciting opening weekend.
We do get to see one intriguing series, where the defending World Series champions host the club that owns more than twice as many titles as any other team. It is that game between the Washington Nationals and New York Yankees which will be the first of the 2020 regular season, as the first pitch should be delivered at seven o'clock in Thursday July 23.
The only other game scheduled that day in other years might have been noteworthy, seeing that it involves century long rivals. Unfortunately, the rebuilding San Francisco Giants offer almost no threat to the Los Angeles Dodgers, winners of two pennants in the last three years.
Instead, schedule makers could have created more buzz by having the Dodgers open against the Houston Astros in a rematch of the 2017 World Series, which has become controversial because of the allegations that the Astros cheated. The Giants should have opened against the Arizona Diamondbacks, whose new ace is former Giant and World Series Most Valuable Player Madison Bumgarner.
Additional series that would have garnered interest are the Chicago Cubs against the St. Louis Cardinals, two bitter geographic rivals who are expected to contend again this year. They will meet ten times before the season is decided, but it might have been nice to ramp up enthusiasm by having them do battle on day one.