The game, or what today could be more precisely called the business, of baseball has undergone changes with the times as well. True, the beer and tobacco advertisements always were, and will continue to be a part of the ballpark, but one of the great traditions of the game was on display twice this week, and it's one that without a doubt made Ernie Banks smile.
It's a sad situation when something as key to baseball like the doubleheader has to be turned to as a last resort, usually when travel arrangements and/or schedules don't allow the two teams to meet again. That was the case in both instances this week, as the Tigers and Yankees were making their only trips this season to Boston and Chicago, respectively.
Doubleheaders are a part of each level of baseball, from Little League, high school and college. Even Minor League Baseball plays more doubleheaders than their Major League counterparts, though most are largely due to rainouts. The difference between doubleheaders at the lower levels and those in Major League Baseball is that the two games are seven innings a piece. Although I don't agree with the seven inning layout, especially in the case of Minor League Baseball, I urge Major League Baseball to put some serious consideration into scheduling a doubleheader for every big league city.
The arguments for not doing so are obvious, with the main reason being that separate games bring in more ticket revenue. Sorry, that excuse isn't cutting if for me. Sure, one game of ticket, retail and concession sales brings in hundreds of thousands of dollars, and during a doubleheader those numbers would decline. Yet, in the grand scheme of a 162 game season, and the multi-million dollar business that is baseball, the big pocket owners will still come out on top by an unfathomable amount at the end of the season.
However, the owners are not to fault for worrying about their investments and wanting to make big bucks on fans. After all, it's the right thing to do when you put that much time, money and effort into a corporation the size of a professional sports organization. But in a time when the National Football League is booming and there is a concern of the declining number of inner city kids interested in baseball, one would think that powers that be in Major League Baseball would be willing to do anything to bring the game back to the forefront of the national spotlight.
Baseball prides itself on being deemed the national pastime, and there has got to be a way to keep historical and to be honest, plain old fun things like a doubleheader around. There's many ways to do that, but there's nothing better than spending an entire day at the ballpark, and to that I say, "Let's play two!"