Why don’t major-league teams play doubleheaders any more? Granted the notion of gettting the fans to buy tickets separately for every game is appealing to club ownership, but there was no dearth of greedy owners during the six or seven decades of 20th-Century major-league baseball in which teams regularly did play doubleheaders. So what’s the deal?
I think what it boils down to is that a doubleheader is a long friggin’ day. If you have, say 20 doubleheaders a year, that’s 20 games that you probably won’t have your A team out there. Barry Bonds, for example, often will sit out the late inings if it’s not a close game, so there’s no way he’d be in a nightcap. Same goes for quite a few others. Also, current pitching rotations are based on a 5 day schedule; 6 including days off. If it were switched to 4/5 day schedules, there’d probably be more pitching injuries, not to mention tired arms.
Doubleheaders would also be a pain for broadcasts. Fewer games scheduled in prime-time, and the start time of the nightcap isn’t known by anyone until twenty minutes beforehand.
And I don’t think there’s a whole lot of people who want six, seven hours of baseball in a day. Hell, if the teams aren’t at 100%, I dunno that I would, either. It’s a treat once in a while, but if it were a common occurance, it’d probably bomb.
In addition to make the day even longer, the average length of a Major League game has increased substantially since the 60s. I’d have to look it up for sure, but I think games tehn lasted around 1:30 to 2:00. Now they’r emore liek 2:00 to 2:30 in length.
Doubleheaders are gone because major league baseball games take much longer to play today than they used to. A long game used to take 2 1/2 hours, and now that’s a short game. There used to be very pleasant things called twi-night doubleheaders, with the first game getting started at 5 or 5:30 PM and the second game would be finished by 11. With the length of games now that’s just not practical to do, although count me among those in favor of making ballgames quicker.
Another factor against the doubleheader is the game’s popularity, ironically enough. Two-for-one deals like doubleheaders are loss leaders from a marketing standpoint, but if the team can sell tickets to both games, as most teams that don’t play in Montreal can do, why give one game away for free?
Put a timer on the pitchers and don’t let the batters step out of the box after every freaking pitch.
Millionaire players are the answer. How do you get them to play two games a day and how do you pay for them without more revenue? Broadcasting problems and longer games play a part, but a much lesser part than the players. Oh, and don’t forget the fact that there are a lot more fans to pay the higher prices. Many clubs don’t need gimmics to bring in more fans.
Hey, I had that notion in the early 60s. There were pitchers like Whitey Ford and Stan Williams who would waste time–and God know how many batters would. :mad:
Well, the shot clock saved a lot of time in basketball…
They still pop up here and there – although, they are usually two separate games played on the same day, instead of two games that roll into each other. Example: On Saturday October 2nd, there is a “doubleheader” in Baltimore vs. the Red Sox. Game 1 starts at 1:05 and game 2 starts at 7:05. But it isn’t like the twi-night dealies they used to have – and if you want to go to both games, you’ll have to buy separate (expensive) tickets to both.
Why the hell do people want baseball games to be shorter?!? I paid a lot of money for this game, and I want a four-hour pitchers’ duel! When did people’s attention spans get so damn short that they can’t stay focused for more than an hour and a half? Baseball is a very complicated game, and while I don’t ever expect the casual fan to be aware of everything that’s going on, I wish they would quit trying to shorten games so they can watch a game on TV and still catch their Simpsons rerun. Any game under three hours was over too quickly.
I would love to go to more double-headers, but it wont’ happen anytime soon.
It has nothing to do with millionaire baseball players (doubleheaders don’t mean more games overall, and what millionaire ballplayer would complain about more days off??) and nothing to do with how long games take. In any event, the elimination of doubleheaders began in the early 60s, long before ballplayers were millionaires and long before the games began to get really long, so it’s clear those do not coincide with the extinction of the doubleheader. The true answer is threefold:
- Jet airplanes.
In that order.
Doubleheaders used to be played for two reasons; because the speed of travel made it impractical to play a single game every day, and because a LOT of games were postponed for darkness. Travel prior to World War II was by train, which is pretty slow if you’re going from St. Louis to New York, and necessitated a lot more travel days.
This problem was made worse by the fact that games were being called on account of darkness all the time, at least until lights became widespread in the 1940s. Teams had to make up a lot more games late in the season than they do now, which added more doubleheaders.
While it’s true games take longer to play now, the difference isn’t as dramatic as it’s made out to be, and the reason games used to be shorter is, again, because they didn’t have lights. Pre-WWII umpires had to hurry a game along that started any later than 3 or 4 PM, or that went into extra innings, for fear of running out of light; that habit didn’t really die until those umpires and their proteges were out of baseball by the 1980s.
The introduction of jet travel instantly made travel FAR easier and made it possible to cut most travel days out of the schedule. It also made it possible to have teams out West, in California and such places; without jet travel that would have been incredibly difficult. On top of that, the elimination of darkness as a reason for postponement (except in Wrigley up to 1988) meant fewer late-season makeups to create doubleheaders.
That leads to the third reason; money. Since jets and lights made it POSSIBLE to eliminate doubleheaders, they did so as soon as humanly possible so that more tickets could be sold.
Because Ernie Banks retired.
Although many doubleheaders were scheduled at the beginning of the season in the “old days”, some were added to make up games lost to rain. Once the Astrodome opened in the mid-1960’s and other enclosed stadiums followed, the rainout became a thing of the past in some cities. Also, artificial turf (though an abomination) does dry faster than natural grass, and even “old-school” stadia can take advantage of such innovations as Prescription Athletic Turf. So, to paraphrase a quote often attributed to Mark Twain, one reason there are so few doubleheaders today is that some people did, in a sense, manage to do something about the weather!
Also, there was a period where the prevelance of doubleheaders were artificailly inflated.
During the WWII efforts were made to reduce train travel and in 1943 the Defense Department officially asked MLB to try and reduce the amount of train travel. The resulting return to busses resulted in less time in the host cities and more scheduled double headers. That year the Phillies played 43 and the White Sox played 44 doubleheaders (more than half their games).
Conversely, August 28th of this year saw the first double-header in the five-year history of Seattle’s Safeco field (playing a makeup of a rainout in Kansas City).
All of what has been said is true. However, minor league baseball will still schedule double headers every now and then. College baseball also will frequently have double headers.
Major league baseball will not offer the true double header except on a rare basis. Usually between two teams at the end of the year who aren’t in a pennant race and have a large geographical distance. The last MLB true double header I attended was a 1998 Florida Marlins/Philadelphia Phillies game at the end of September. I only sat through it because the Marlins had given out passes for a free ticket for a 1999 home game and fans tended to leave the passes by their seats as they left. I picked up quite a few passes that afternoon.
Major league baseball will now schedule the hated day night double header which involves buying two seperate tickets. Minor league and college which travel by bus, still use the double header to maintain schedule parity.