Scheduling gurus rain out 3-1 Yankee lead

Boring night in the minors
Hideki hurting

I hate baseball conspiracy theories. I don’t think ESPN is out to get the Yankees with their pro-Red Sox bias. I don’t think we should lambaste other teams’ supposedly using the Yankees’ (and other rich teams’) dollars to build competitors. The baseball economics and the state of the sports media aren’t perfect, but they are what they are.

I do however know about the vagaries of television ratings. Just like I know that RAB draws more visitors for night games than for days, I know that the YES Network pulls in a higher rating for weekday night games than it does for mid-week day games. And I can guess that FSN Pittsburgh enjoys much better numbers for Yankee-Pirate games at night than it would during the day.

But at what point do the Yankees get the benefit of scheduling? Last night, the Yankees were set to play the Pirates at 7:05 p.m. Today, the Yankees are set to play the Mets at 2:05 p.m. While the Mets game is a make-up game, MLB had enough time to reschedule the Pirates game so that the Yanks could get in the game without getting back to New York in the wee hours of the evening. But alas they did not.

Instead, the Yanks and Pirates took the field at 7:05 p.m. knowing full well that their game probably wouldn’t make it into the books. The Yanks knocked out four extra-base hits to start the game, and only an odd base-running decision by Alex Rodriguez and a bad swing by Jason Giambi averted a 4-0 start for the Bombers. While Mike Mussina struggled in the first, he held the Pirates to just one run. An inning and a half later, the rains came, and nearly two and a half hours late β€” three since the scheduled start of the game β€” officials finally called the game.

So the Yankees are right now on their way back to New York, later than they would have been had the rains stayed away. They didn’t get in a game that should have been played in the afternoon, but they did burn one of their most effective starting pitchers this season.

I know and understand that the Yankees and their popularity mean a lot to baseball both in terms of good will and dollar signs. But this is a team that needs to get its games in as well, and they deserve the same courtesies of scheduling that other teams enjoy. There’s no reason other than ratings why MLB didn’t shift this game to a 4:05 p.m. start once it become clear that the Yanks had to be back in New York for a Friday afternoon affair, and the team paid the price.

Oh, well. We’ll get ’em in July.

Boring night in the minors
Hideki hurting
  • PsiFighter37

    Funny that we’re bemoaning a Mike Mussina start getting rained out. How this year is different from the last…

  • A.D.

    Its annoying, there shouldn’t even be a double header tomorrow/today, I’m pretty sure there is at least 1 common off day for the 2 teams where 1 is returning to NY and one is leaving.

    On top of that all games that are started should end up being suspended if weather comes, there’s no reason to waste innings played

    • Chris

      They have one common off day the rest of the season: Sept 11. The Yankees are returning from a road trip and the Mets are on a home stand. The problem is playing that day would give the Yanks games on 27 straight days, which is a violation of the collective bargaining agreement.

  • Rich M

    According to an article in the Times, the Yanks asked Pittsburgh to move up the time of the game and they were rebuffed.

    • Jamal G.

      If you were owner of the Pirates would you allow that to happen? I mean come on, I think the opening game of this series was just the second sellout of the Pirates season at home, like it or not the Yankees bring up the attendance and low revenue clubs have to take advantage however they can.

      • Rich

        I wonder how much money is at stake.

  • Jake

    wait. is the game starting at 1 or 2?

    • Ben K.

      2:05. I’ve corrected the post.

  • A-Point

    Maybe this will help fire up the Yankee offense. Then again, they were playing pretty well and all for naught, as none of the hits or stats count.

    The Yankees will more than likely be tired out from this and the Mets will take advantage.

    • Jamal G.

      Mets and advantage in the same sentence? LoL.

  • Jamal G.

    According to Mark Feinsand the league asked those pesky Pirates to change the time of the game but they refused. That sucks even more because at least the league recognized the travesty of having to play a day-night double dip after a night game on the road. However my point still stands, if you were the Pirates owner you would refuse as well.

  • AndrewYF

    How stupid was it to schedule a double-header on the first game of the series? And on a Friday? Why not have a good old Saturday double-header? It makes zero sense. This is still the fault of the ridiculously stupid MLB schedulers.

    • Ben K.

      That is unequivocally a FOX issue. The Yanks and Mets are playing the 3:55 game on Saturday afternoon. Since this is a two-stadium double header, the teams would have to decamp for Yankee Stadium once the afternoon games wraps up at around 7/7:30. That wasn’t going to fly.

      A Sunday afternoon game in the Bronx with the night cap in Shea on ESPN would have made more sense.

      • Jamal G.

        Instead ESPN wants to show Cubs and White Sox for two straight weeks.

        • TurnTwo

          they are both in first place (unless Minnesota took over hte AL Central… i cant believe im saying that), in case noone noticed.

  • LiveFromNewYork

    I heard Jorge Posada complain about the schedule a few weeks ago so the team is definitely aware of how they’ve been screwed on the schedule. They’re one of the oldest teams in the majors with one of the most grueling schedules and yet they are number one in revenue sharing and paying luxury taxes. It’s hard for anyone anywhere to “feel sorry” for the Yankees, but comon…

    They are the hottest ticket in baseball and always have been. They choose to sink their money into their team (and not into their own pockets) and because of that choice they have to sink money into other teams whose owners take the money and build a pool.

    Lots of folks get rich off the Yankees and to those who say “It’s the Yankees own fault.” let’s see where baseball (or sports for that matter) would be if they didn’t.

    I think they deserve a break on the scheduling. Maybe Selig could figure out how they can pay for a better schedule to “even the playing field.”

  • TurnTwo

    i know its been said already, but i’m going to say it again anyway.

    this doubleheader today, including a 2pm game on a Friday afternoon, just sucks.

    hey, at least the Yankees fans dont have to worry about PSL’s like Giants fans are jumping off the ledges about this morning…. or do they?

  • A-Point

    The weather looks a bit iffy… it wouldn’t be terrible if one of these games end up rained out, but it does create a problem of rescheduling it.

  • TurnTwo

    can i just throw out the name Rich Harden, and suggest maybe he’s the one the yankees need and not Sabathia?

    i know, i know… injury risk and all, but damn, he’s got lights out stuff when he can stay on the mound.

    and for roughly the same package as Sabathia, i’m assuming, you get Harden at a cheap rate for this year and next year, which helps again bridge the team from veteran pitchers to minor league promotions going into 2010.

    • Rich

      I wouldn’t trade Hughes, A-Jack, Montero, or Brackman. If a package of some of the remaining prospects could yield Sabathia (priced as a rental), I would listen. Harden, however, is always hurt, and would have to be priced accordingly.

      • Mike A.

        I’d trade Brackman for Harden in a heartbeat. Brackman’s got huge upside, but he’s not exactly a sure thing. At least we know Harden can dominate when he’s a healthy.

        • TurnTwo

          you know, i agree. Brackman could be a monster, but what the likelihood he sniffs the major leagues in teh next 2 or 3 years? and then has any success in the majors withint the next 5 seasons?

          • Chris

            He has a major league contract, so there is some incentive to bring him up quickly. Also, he’s the same age as Joba, so expecting big things within the next 2-3 years is not that ridiculous.

            • TurnTwo

              you cant say they are the same age and equate age to development level.

        • Rich

          From 2005-2007, Hardin started 19, 9, and 4 games, respectively. Granted, there are projectability issues with Brackman, but I am willing to withstand that risk given his upside, especially when you factor in Hardin’s demonstrated fragility.

  • steve (different one)

    if the Brewers are willing to deal LaPorta for Sabathia, then that’s it. the Yankees won’t be getting Sabathia and we can probably stop talking about it.

    • TurnTwo

      i dont think anyone really believes at this point the yankees are interested in Sabathia in-season anymore.

  • steve (different one)

    Ben, didn’t A-Rod basically have 3B stolen standing up?

    if the Pirates were giving him 3B, it’s not an “odd decision”.

    no one seemed to mind when Damon stole 3B.

  • pete c.

    Correct me if i’m wrong but isn’t today a home and home. Also, all this bullshit could be avoided if interleague play and the unbalanced sked were eliminated.

    • TurnTwo

      now we all know this is a pipe dream, but point taken.

    • Chris

      The Yankees just played 3 games in Houston where they had their largest crowds of the year and 3 more in Pittsburgh where they also had their largest crowds of the year.

      The bottom line is most fans want interleague play (since they show up for the games) so it’s not going anywhere.

      • TurnTwo

        i think it was last year where Colorado begged MLB to have the yankees play a series there last season, so they swapped the Yankees interleague sched to play Colorado last year and SD this year.

      • steve (different one)

        The bottom line is most fans want interleague play (since they show up for the games) so it’s not going anywhere.

        do the fans want interleague play, or do they simply want to see the Yankees?

        does attendance spike when the Marlins play the Rays?

        the Yankees are a draw wherever they go.

        • Ben C

          Yea but it’s a bigger deal for NL teams because they don’t see the Yankees every year like AL teams do. So, when the Yankees go to Pittsburgh for the first time in 30 years, it’s a bigger deal then when the Yankees go to Kansas City for the second time that year and Pittsburgh probably draws better then Kansas City does (though KC draws very well when the Yankees visit).

  • mike

    any reason why Ponson did not start the game we knew would be rain-delayed and save Moose for the Mets

  • sam

    Strikes me that there is an obvious solution to the problem the Yankees face when it comes to scheduling on the getaway day. As far as I know (correct me if I am wrong) but it is mostly up to the home team to schedule the start time (unless its nationally televised).

    The solution is a cold war era step toward adopting mutually assured desctruction (MAD). If opposing teams don’t make the final game of a series a day game (like they do for other teams) the Yankees should schedule the last game of the series at night and force smaller market opponents (root of the problem) to live like they do when on the road. Because if they can use the money rationale, why can’t we… every team needs more money. ;-)

    Imagine if teams like the Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs et al (big away drawing teams) started acting like the rest of the smaller market teams… things would change because players would get fed up with it. MLB, owners and MLBPA would have to sit down and adress it at some point.

  • Mark

    I was at that rained out Pirates/Yankees fiasco. Lemme offer a different point of view for yous New Yorkers.

    Most of the 39,000 people (sellout with standing room only) sat or stood through the 2-and-a-half hour delay. We paid prices above normal for those tickets which were gone by Opening Day.

    We waited for the storms to pass and they did after about an hour (a little less, actually). It waned to a barely noticeable drizzle then quit altogether with one brief shower (about two minutes in length). The field drained well. About an hour into the delay, the tarps could have been removed. They were not.

    We continued to sit, watching highlights of the 1960’s Yankees/Pirates World Series.

    And sat…

    And sat…

    Finally, with no rain in the air, no thunder, no lightning, no players to be seen (through the entire duration), the game was called. We were told it was because the National Weather Service said more storms were in the offing.

    Those storms never arrived.

    39,000 went home utterly disappointed. The rubber game between the greatest team in baseball and our lowly Pirates washed out.

    It wasn’t until the next morning that I pieced together what happened. Undoubtedly, the Yanks were on the plane before the fans were out of the ball park.

    The decision was a lie. The real reason that game was called is because the Yankees had to play the next day at 2:00. I have no doubt in my mind that the game would not have been made up if the Pirates had negotiated that. I’m sure the negotiations went something like this:

    Yankees: “Hell, we’ve got a game at 2:00 tomorrow. (And why in the world would we need this game with you, the lowly Pirates.)

    Pirates: “Okay, we’ll call it as long as you come back. (We can sell most of those seats a second time.)”

    Together: Deal!

    Pirates officials talking it over with umps. “Okay, we need to hold off calling this for another hour or so so that more rain may fall and give us cover.”

    Ump: “And what if it doesn’t fall?”

    Pirates, Yankees, everyone: “Screw the fans. We’re Major Leaguers.”

    Am I mad? You bet I am. I drove all the way from Indiana to watch that game. So don’t come crying to me about your poor prima donas missing some sleep.