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Double Header Returns

My favorite piece of off-season news so far is courtesy the Oakland Athletics. They are going old school for a couple games this season, and offering a traditional double-header. It will be against the Angels in July.

Double-headers used to be a big part of baseball, but they have died thanks to several factors. Probably the biggest is that teams can (and do) make bigger profits by selling tickets for every individual game on the schedule, because people flock to the ballpark in record numbers these days. However, the proliferation and convenience of air travel for teams has something to do with it too.

This is another example of something in sports that fans would love to see come back, but the business side of a sport just won't give up a loss of profit. Double headers are a part of baseball's rich tradition, and it is awesome to think that you can get two games for the price of one. I have gone to a few traditional double-headers in at Tacoma (they happen from time to time when rainouts occur), and they are awesome. I bet any fan poll would show very strong support for more of them.

Even in today's money-driven game though, I think double-headers could find a place in baseball again. They would be a really cool solution to baseball's problems with the length of the season.

If every team played one double-header a month, it would shorten the length of time taken to complete the season by six days. That would leave the final week of September for the division series, which would be enough right there to guarantee the World Series never runs into November.

Moreover, if baseball regulated double-headers, competitive balance issues would be mitigated. For instance, it could be decided that the third Saturday of each month is double-header day across baseball. Certainly, double-headers tax a roster more, and leave open the potential for pitching staffs to get worn thin. However, it isn't a big deal if everyone faces the same challenge on the same day. Everyone faces the same potential problem at the same time.

If I became MLB Commissioner, the first thing I would push for would be a double-header day every month. Baseball fans would enjoy the return of a rich piece of tradition, and it is a practical way to shorten the season. It wouldn't be very hard to make this happen, and it would be good for the sport.