The Giants might not be as hosed as the Mariners when it comes to the amount of miles they have to travel every year, but they’re often hosed compared to the rest of the league. Being on the West Coast means there aren’t a lot of quick jaunts to the Midwest or East Coast, which would explain why the Giants logged nearly 14,000 more travel miles in 2016 than the Tigers. But there’s nothing to do about it other than shake your fist at geography and wait for the superplanes.
It’s possible to make things just a little easier on the West Coast teams, though. According to ESPN’s Jayson Stark, the Major League Baseball Players Association prioritized the sanctity of getaway days during the latest round of collective bargaining negotiations, and what they got were rules that prevented day games in a new city after night games far away.
Major League Baseball will require teams to start many games earlier than normal beginning in 2018, thanks to a provision in the new labor agreement that goes into effect when either team faces a flight longer than 2½ hours after the game.
Sources told ESPN that the getaway-day changes will apply if a team has a game -- or even an off day at home -- the next day.
So for example, there’s a Wednesday game next year in Miami with a start time of TBD. The next game is in San Francisco on Thursday night. Under the old rules, the Marlins could say, “Neener neener neener, we like our night games because they draw dozen of fans,” and there wasn’t anything the Giants could do but grumble. Starting in 2018, the Marlins would be required to make that game start no later than 5:00 p.m., which is essentially forcing them into a day game. Nobody likes weird half-day-half-night games other than the Padres, and even they’ve stopped doing that.
We’re talking about maybe a couple extra day games a year, don’t get me wrong. But it makes a little difference for a team that already has to fly more than the average team. My only regret is that the Dodgers get to take advantage of it, too, even though they’re empirically bad.
Suppose the question to ask is this: Are you happy with more day games? I know I am because they let me play my video games on the teevee when the kids go to bed, but I also know I’m not a regular stiff like you. I remember being annoyed at them when I was one of you normals, missing the game while I was at work. I also remember how nice it was to listen to the game on the radio while I was at work, so maybe my memory is playing tricks on me.
If you haven’t traveled for work often, it’s easy to underestimate just how brutal the strain of bouncing around time zones really is. I’m old and out of shape, so maybe that’s coloring my perspective, but it messes me the hell up, every time. When I went to Cleveland and Chicago in October, I made a point to not change my watch and pretended like time zones didn’t exist. Woke up at 9 or 10 a.m. local time, went to bed at 3 a.m. local time, no big deal, ha ha, I cracked the code. After about eight days, my brain leaked out my ears and it all came crashing down. It was even worse than I could have possibly imagined.
Anyway, that’s enough of Anecdote Theater for today. I just thought it was interesting that the new CBA is going to keep getaway days sacred, and the Giants stand to benefit more from it than the average team.
Mike Krukow will be happy, at least. This is probably a good thing.