COMMENTARY | New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi didn't hold back in his criticism of Major League Baseball's scheduling practices after the Yankees and Cleveland Indians were rained out for the second straight night at Cleveland's Progressive Field on Thursday, April 11.
The Yankees were scheduled to play four games against the Indians this week, the Yankees' only scheduled trip to Cleveland this season.
Instead, according to the New York Daily News, the Yankees and Indians may have a mutual off-day next month turn into a doubleheader.
The Indians and Yankees were both scheduled to be off on May 13. Instead, it appears the Yankees will leave Kansas City on Sunday, May 12, head to Cleveland for a twinbill the next day before returning home for the start of a three-game set with the Seattle Mariners on May 14.
The Indians would have an even weirder week. Cleveland plays in Detroit on May 12 and is scheduled to be in Philadelphia on May 14. So the Indians would go home for a one-day, two-game home stand and then go to Philadelphia for two games. They would return to Cleveland for a three-game series with the Mariners on May 17.
That's a lot of extra travel.
New York's single visit to Cleveland isn't the only screw-up by the MLB schedule makers this week. The New York Mets are in Minneapolis to play the Minnesota Twins in a three-game inter-league series that is scheduled to begin tonight (Friday, April 12). The only problem? Well, it's snowing in the Twin Cities. That's not exactly conducive to baseball.
As Girardi told the Daily News, "I mean, it's snowing in Minnesota and the Mets are there. I don't know who can make the best snowman."
Since MLB has foisted more frequent (as in constant) inter-league play upon us this year, whether we want it or not (and I never have), this becomes a huge issue in April in places such as Minnesota, Cleveland, Chicago, Detroit, Boston or anywhere else north of the Mason-Dixon Line that doesn't have some sort of roof over their field.
Girardi told the Daily News that there is an easy fix to this.
"I think you have to stay within your division the first month," Girardi said. "Or, I know teams want night games, but if we would have had a day game (April 11), it gives you a longer window to play the game."
Here's where Girardi's idea falls apart, though: Each division has five teams and five teams doesn't make for a very good round-robin schedule for April.
But if teams have to go out of the division or inter-league, at least send them to places where the likelihood of cancellation is not as great. There are warm-weather cities in the big leagues. There are teams that play in domes or in facilities with retractable roofs. Use those.
But sending teams to Cleveland and Minneapolis in April when they are only scheduled to go there once?
That's a special kind of dumb.
Phil Watson is a freelance journalist and commentator based in upper Michigan who covers the New York Yankees for the Yahoo Contributor Network.
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