Record Rate Of Postponements Leads To Length-Of-Season Questions In MLB

If the season is to be shortened, players would need to take notable pay cuts.

Bruce Levine
April 18, 2018 - 12:07 pm
The grounds crew at Wrigley Field cleans the tarp off.

Dennis Wierzbicki/USA TODAY Sports

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By Bruce Levine--

CHICAGO (670 The Score) -- In the first three weeks of the season, the Cubs have had five games postponed due to inclement weather.

The magnitude of this awful spring weather has wreaked havoc on players, coaches, owners and fans alike, and it's led to questions of whether the 162-game season should be shortened. The Cubs-Cardinals game that was called off Wednesday was the 25th postponed game of the season, which paced at a record rate.

Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo is among those who support the idea of a shortened season.

"We play too much baseball," Rizzo told ESPN radio host David Kaplan on Tuesday morning. "Yes, guys are going to take pay cuts. But are we playing this game for the money or do we love this game? I know it's both, but in the long run, it will make everything better." 

Rizzo lightened his comments a bit later in the day.

"That gets a little blown up in the interview," Rizzo said. "It is just my humble opinion. Like I said in the interview, I also play first base for the Cubs, so I know my lane, too."

The idea of a 142-game schedule has been floated. Any schedule reform like that would change the compensation structure of the game for owners and players. 

The Cubs bring in about a $4.5 million per home game from ticket sales and per-capita sales (food, beverage, merchandise, etc.), according to two industry sources. So if 10 home games were eliminated as part of a 20-game trimming of the scheduled, the Cubs would be out about $45 million in regards to the ballpark sales. On the television front, the Cubs (and White Sox) receive roughly $700,000 per cable broadcast, sources said. That would constitute a loss of around $14 million. 

In such a situation, the players would need to take a notable pay cut. Would they be open to that all in the name of not having to play a handful of games in chilly weather and lengthening the offseason a few more weeks?

It should also be noted that contesting games in bad weather isn't top of mind for many players. West Coast teams, those farther south and those who play in domes or under a retractable roof playing most all of their games in comfortable conditions.

"This answer will be different depending on what time of the year you ask players and fans," Cubs reliever Brian Duensing said. "When you are in the middle of a 20-game grind like we are now, it would seem like a shortened season would be great. The only thing for me is when you have the World Series going into November. That seems a bit absurd to me. The weather is one thing, but recovery time for the two teams that play into November is basically half of the other teams going toward the following spring training. I think 162 works. Again, it depends on the time of year you get this question."

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.