Baseball is a summer sport.
Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer.
And for some reason, the baseball team that plays in Philadelphia was not playing baseball games on Memorial Day yesterday.
In a sports world where the NFL not only schedules marquee games on Thanksgiving and Christmas but also has jammed one in on Black Friday — it will air exclusively on Amazon Prime, presumably so people can have it minimized in a window in the bottom left of their screen while they search for the ultimate self-powered vacuum to gift their in-laws — it’s ridiculous that Major League Baseball is failing to take advantage of a huge viewership opportunity.
The NBA goes out of its way to schedule the very best teams for Christmas Day viewing. Even the NHL holds its biggest regular season event, the Winter Classic outdoor game, on New Year’s Day weekend.
And yet, on Memorial Day, not only were the Phillies dark, but seven other MLB teams were similarly out of action. Just 22 of the 30 teams played.
Now, it’s great that the players, coaches and staff likely were able to enjoy their Memorial Day holiday with family and friends. I would never begrudge that. But from a marketing standpoint, league officials are making a huge mistake by not having a full slate of games to promote on the “unofficial start of summer” holiday.
Not only should the Memorial Day schedule be full, there should be a tripleheader of phenomenal nationally televised match-ups for fans to enjoy, just like you’d see the NFL and NBA do.
Phillies-Braves could have easily been bumped forward a day so it finished on Monday. At the very least, a national audience should have been getting Yankees vs. Red Sox, Dodgers vs. Giants and/or Cardinals vs. Cubs.
It should be noted that this is all the fault of a computer.
Human beings don’t put together the MLB schedule anymore or, if they have any part in it, the bulk of the work is done by our soon-to-be computerized overlords.
Last year, the Phillies and the Cardinals were the only two teams that did not play on the Fourth of July, a weird quirk of the schedule that surely had the computerized gremlins giggling. Thankfully, all 30 teams will be in action this July 4, but it’s still strange that MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred hasn’t gone out of his way to ensure that, not only are all 30 teams in action on Memorial Day, but that it’s one of the league’s showcase events every year.
Hey, Rob: Time to take some control back from the machines.