Only 1 traditional Saturday day game on 6/25 sked?

Whatever happened to Saturday afternoon baseball? Go ask your local FOX affiliate, I guess.

The only taste of it available Saturday was at Yankee Stadium where the Yankees and Rockies were the only major league teams on the field at 1 o’clock in the afternoon. That’s right. Of the other 14 scheduled big-league games, four had 4:05 p.m. starts and 10 started after 7 p.m.

I know, I know; 4 o’clock technically counts as a day game, but only technically. I don’t care how deep into the summer you get 4 o’clock starts aren’t really day games. The day is almost over. It’s just that twilight lasted longer in the summer. That’s why they call it daylight savings time.

FOX’s Saturday game of the week telecasts start at 4, so the schedule has to have some games available on a regional basis, but what about all those 7 p.m. games? Some teams refer to them as date night. Isn’t that what Friday night games were for?

Saturday at the ballpark was one of the great American traditions. It was always one of my favorite days on the baseball beat because the crowd would be filled with kids whose enthusiasm was downright therapeutic. They would cheer everything – towering fly balls, searing foul line drives into the stands, any ball hit hard and the reaction to a player waving his glove or cap in their direction.

What today’s executives don’t seem to grasp is that it was on those days that baseball became ingrained in the national psyche. Such days lived in the memory bank of generations of people. Night games were for during the week so games could be viewed after work or school, but the weekend was for daytime and sunshine and baseball.

What makes baseball different from all the other sports is that it is the one that you fall in love with early in life. I don’t know anyone who says that never paid attention to baseball until they were, like, 23. That may be the case with other sports, but not baseball. If it didn’t get you early, it didn’t get you at all.

Commissioner Bud Selig and his crowd can point to their gaudy attendance figures about how terrific baseball is doing at the box office these days, but continuing to ignore young people on Saturdays will spread doomsday for the sport down the road.

End of rant for today.

4 Comments

I’d just like to point out that a ‘four o’clock start,’ when it’s on the west coast is really a one o’clock start. If you can’t get your east coast fix, cast blame elsewhere, please.

You made a good point, Steve. The games in Los Angeles and San Francisco Saturday were, indeed, 1 PM West Coast time starts. Still, I believe that is a very small number for Saturday afternoon games.

Day games in Atlanta, among other places are ridiculously hot for most of the season, and compete with college football (a game of some passing interest here) in the fall. If you’d like to decrease attendance, I can’t think of a better plan.

Spike: I understand heat is an issue in some areas, but it is hot at night as well. As for the college football conflict, that is in September. I was talking about the summer. But having spent incredibly oven-like days in Texas, Missouri and Florida, I do have sympathy. I confess that my rant was Northeastern based.

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