How Many Games Is Too Few?

As the world ‘shelters-in-place’ and waits for the worst to pass, there are still a lot of unanswered questions to the upcoming MLB season that was supposed to start over a week ago. Is the draft going to be cancelled? Is the All-Star game cancelled? Is the Field of Dreams game cancelled? Will the season have to be pushed into late fall/winter? Hopefully, all of those questions will be answered with ‘no’ but don’t get your hopes up. One big question that I’ve heard get tossed around is at what point does this season, however it turns out, become a wash? What I mean is, is the 2020 World Series trophy going to hold the same value if only 120 games are played? What about 100? 80? 50? It’s tough to think about and my gut tells me no, it will not be the same.

The 162-game season is one of the things that sets baseball apart from other sports and at the end of it, you usually know for a fact who the best teams are. Baseball is a game of streaks whether it’s hot or cold. The best team in the league can afford to go on a couple of rough patches and still come out on top during a long season. However, if the season is shortened, every game matters that much more and a rough road trip could knock a team out of the running in an instant.

To put this all in perspective, both the NL and AL were playing 154 games by 1904 before settling on 162 in 1962. MLB has been playing a high number of games longer than anyone on this planet has been alive so to even treat a season that is in the double-digits the same as a regular season is beyond me. I can’t do it. This may be because I’m a Yankee fan and I get greedy when it comes to these things but if they only play 80 games, it’s not going to hold the same significance as 2009 or the dynasty years. Am I still going to talk shit and celebrate if they win the World Series? You bet your ass. But, I’m not going to lie to myself and act like watching them only play 80 games and potentially beat up on a team that got lucky in the playoffs would be better than the traditional 162-game grind and then beat the guaranteed best of the best.

CC Sabathia said on his podcast, R2C2, that it wouldn’t matter to him how many games they played. He stated that if the season was only a handful games and then they crowned you champion, you’re the champ. I can’t disagree with CC because that’s exactly what I’d want the mentality of my team to be, win no matter what. As a fan, however, I have to draw my line at 100 games. If MLB can still squeeze in 100 games without fucking with a whole lot of things, fantastic, I’ll take that. If they can’t get it over triple-digits then I believe Commish Manfred should blow the whole season up and try whatever he wants to try. Change up the playoff format, integrate a point system (similar to NHL), even switch up the divisions for all I care. Just make it interesting and available for everyone to watch you greedy bastard.

Come 2021, I want everything to go back to normal. Just need to keep China away from those bats. And for fucks sake, stay home if you can. The sooner this is over, the sooner we get sports back.

Marcus Anderson

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