It’s May 3rd, the temperature hovers around 50 degrees and a light rain persists.
Sound familiar? It’s been a bad spring for outdoor sports and the schedules for baseball teams have been squeezed. Many games have had to be re-scheduled a fact that will tax the pitchers as league and conference games are made up.
Sure the weather is bad but even in the best of springs the baseball season is too short. Some coaches, like Dan Cimini of Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett, have suggested a change. Cimini’s latest pet peeve is to re-design the state tournament. He’s pushing for a two-game elimination format.
Before you judge this proposed change look at the current format. The district semifinals and finals begin 14 days prior to the state semifinals/finals, either on a Friday or Saturday. Many times the regular season, because of make-up games, overlaps forcing coaches to choose between going with his top pitchers in an attempt to win a league title or save them for the state tournament.
Let’s move the start of the district (pre-district games could be played anytime before this with the competing teams agreeing on a time and place) to the following Monday, 11 days before the state semifinals. A rain date would be that Tuesday. This would allow two or three more days to complete the regular season. Under the current format the regionals would start the following Saturday, six days before the state semifinals. For years coaches have said that there’s too much time between the districts and the regionals so this change would be a minor disruption to the current format. I know, it’s a Monday (for the districts), a school day. Many schools are out by this time and for those that are still in session schedule the first game at 2 p.m.
With a nod to Cimini’s suggestion, here’s what we can do to improve regional play to give the best teams a better chance of advancing to the quarterfinals. Move up the regional semifinals to Thursday with a rain date on Friday. On Saturday play the finals with a two-game elimination format. This would favor teams with deeper pitching staffs. Isn’t this what takes place during the regular season?
I realize there would be more travel involved and many schools have eliminated busing on weekends. But isn’t this already a problem with the current format?
Like I said to Cimini, let’s try a new format. Let’s try to improve the sport. If it doesn’t work go back to the old way. What have you got to lose?