Should Major League Baseball Schedule More Day Games?


May 30, 2010

Should Major League Baseball Schedule More Day Games? The Boston Red Sox struggle during day games, making Sunday's affair against Kansas City anything but a sure thing, even with ace Jon Lester going against retread Bruce Chen.

The Sox are currently 3-9 during day games and a sparkling 24-14 otherwise.

On May 25, NESN analyst Dennis Eckersley spoke about how grueling a six-month baseball season can be with frequent road trips. He mentioned that the ban on amphetamines has a lasting effect on the ability to key the body up for road trips.

"Let's not kid ourselves," Eck said. "I'm telling you, it's tough to play after six months going on the road, especially playing on the West Coast."

The same could be said for day games, which generally only occur on Sundays, although the Chicago Cubs routinely play weekday day games, and getaway games are usually during the day. (The Red Sox will play on Thursday, June 3, at 1:35 p.m. in a getaway game against the Oakland Athletics.)

Coffee and Red Bull are a great substitute for amphetamines, but there's no question the little green pills saved many a player's batting average or ERA. Without that extra edge available, sluggish performances during the day have become more prevalent.

While a day game is fantastic for families and those preferring to have nights open and enjoy the weather during the summer, it throws baseball players off their internal clock. The body can only be stretched so much, and after a week of putting in hours that generally stretch from 3 p.m. to 1 a.m., forcing players to wake up and be prepared for 1 p.m. starts on Sundays is a lot to ask.

Should baseball scrap day games, or schedule more? Scheduling Saturday day games might be a way to help manage players' internal clocks. Players can adjust more to day games if there are two consecutive day games. In addition, a wider fan base would be available to attend games.

Or what about former Cubs great Ernie Banks' famous saying: "Let's play two!"

By scheduling day-night doubleheaders on Sunday (and perhaps Saturday), players could receive an additional day off during the week that they can use to catch up on sleep and prepare their internal clocks for time adjustment.

There's no question players go through a grueling schedule: six months away from their families, jetting across the country and racking up thousands of miles and being asked to perform at their best day after day in front of 40,000-strong fans who aren't afraid to show their displeasure.

Is asking ballplayers to adjust their schedules to play a day game on Sunday asking too much? Should Major League Baseball scrap day games entirely or schedule more?

Share your thoughts below. The best comments will be read on NESN's Red Sox GameDay Live or Red Sox Final.

May 27: Is Clay Buchholz pitching his way onto the AL All-Star team?

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