First Pitch: Bad Scheduling Decision

It would have been impossible to predict a year in advance that it was going to rain in Chicago tonight. That’s about how long ago it has been since the 2012 MLB schedule came out. However, it wouldn’t have been impossible to plan for the possibility of rain.

Baseball schedules constantly have getaway days built in to the schedule. Just look at the next few weeks for the Pirates. Their game on Thursday against Milwaukee? 4:05 PM EST. Their game next Thursday against the Mets? 1:10 PM EST. If it rains on either day, the game could be delayed, played, and still end with plenty of time for the teams to travel to their next destinations.

The Cubs don’t have to travel tomorrow. They will remain in Chicago for the rest of the week. But the Pirates travel home to play a three game series against Milwaukee. The Pirates also don’t have a day off for the rest of the season. And this is the final game of the year against the Cubs. So there was no way that this game could have been postponed. They had to get this game in, even if it meant starting at 10:40 PM CST, and ending at 1:28 AM CST. Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Brewers were off today, giving them a big advantage in tomorrow’s contest.

The Pirates and Cubs played a four game series this weekend. The first three games were all day games. Yet the final game was scheduled at night, even though the Pirates had to leave for Pittsburgh after the game, to get back for the start of a home series tomorrow. It makes no sense that the schedule would be arranged with three day games, and the only night game coming on the final day of the series. You can’t predict the weather, but you can plan for all situations. It’s not a good plan to play a night game on the last day of the series between two teams who don’t play each other anymore this year. It’s especially not a good plan if neither team has a day off the rest of the year.

I understand there are restrictions for Cubs games, where they’re only allowed a certain amount of night games per year, and only on certain days. But that’s no reason to end up in this situation. Arrange it so there’s a four game series that ends on Sunday. Or, just change the game time and have another date serve as a night game. Because of this decision, the Pirates will probably be getting back to their homes around six in the morning, Pittsburgh time, with a game scheduled 13 hours later.

Links and Notes

**The Pirates beat the Cubs 3-0. They’re now 2.5 games back in the wild card race, tied with Milwaukee, who they host for a three game series starting today.

**Pirates Notebook: Correia, Bullpen Blank Cubs.

**Pirates Looking at Red Sox Relievers. I’m not sure why they’d be looking for relievers. Some of their bullpen guys have struggled lately, but they’ve got 12 pitchers to go in middle relief. And one of the more intriguing arms, Bryan Morris, has barely been used. Boston doesn’t have a good bullpen, so I can’t imagine why it would be beneficial to bring in help from the Red Sox.

**Evan Meek Outrighted to Triple-A.

**Pirates Moving NYPL Team to Jamestown.

Tim Williams

Author: Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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  • Lee Young

    Tim…we were talking about this on the PG Plus blog Sunday/Monday. All day games and then the getaway game is 8:00??!! (EST).

    I saw the tweets of the players….getting in at 6:00 AM??!!

    I got into Chicago from Hawaii on a redeye one time at that hour when I was 32. It was not a fun day! And I didn’t have to play a game that night. Plus, AJ wasn’t sent ahead.

    Uh Oh!

  • john.alcorn

    At least it looks like the rain will get out of the way for tonight. It is bizarre that we have 16 straight with little flexibility playing in an outdoor stadium in mid Sept. I guess MLB figured our games never matter thsi late in the year.

  • http://twitter.com/jlease717 John Lease

    Schedule a damn double header sometime baseball, and this won’t happen. But the owners are too greedy, and the players too pampered to EVER play 2.

  • http://twitter.com/pirateswfc Brian

    In a fairly famous case, an Illinois appeals court ruled in 1968 that the Cubs are able to schedule games in as dumb of a manner as they see fit. See Schlensky v. Wrigley.