10 Questions With Richard Justice
5. Shorten Season
Posted On 05.17, 2013
RCS: Baseball is not without problems beyond steroids. It seems like a long time since that infamous November rain delay, which at the time spurred debate about how to reform the season schedule. And it’s interesting that you defended Selig in a certain context earlier in this interview, because well before the World Series you wrote a column about how ridiculously unfair his decision was to schedule a critical Astros-Cubs make-up game in Milwaukee.
Should baseball shorten its season so that it has more flexibility in scheduling makeup games and so the season doesn't potentially end on Thanksgiving?
Justice: When Fred Akers was the football coach at the University of Texas, he once told me, “Basically if TV told us to kick off at 3 a.m. on a Tuesday, we'll kick off at 3 a.m. on a Tuesday.” That was true then and it's true now. Baseball plays when TV tells them to play. In a perfect world, MLB would show some backbone. There'd be some day games in the World Series, and if the conditions were unpleasant, they'd postpone.
Games 3 and 4 of the World Series were a joke. One game started at a ridiculous hour and the other shouldn't have been started at all. Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe has suggested putting the games on an all-sports station and catering to the fans that really care. I'm not sure the season should be shortened, but I do think MLB (read Selig) should dictate some of the terms to the TV partners. We keep hearing how good the game is doing financially, so exert some influence and give the games back to the fans. That's about as likely to happen as me winning Dancing with the Stars.