baseball

7-inning doubleheaders? MLB open to considering new ideas

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By IAN HARRISON

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Seven innings? Doubleheaders?

This isn't peewee league, and MLB doesn't need to finish all 162 games. Does MLB or the networks think they will recoup lost ticket sales or advertising by playing doubleheaders? They won't. Are they trying to preserve the integrity of the schedule so that every team plays the same number of games against division rivals? O.K., but that may not be possible.

Mostly, the decision needs to protect players. Trying to force players to squeeze more innings per week into a shortened season would be murder on pitchers' arms. In this era of switching pitchers early and often, it's inviting injury to stack the season with doubleheaders. The off-season after this year will have a record number of tommy john surgeries if MLB goes this doubleheader route.

Seasons have been shortened before. If baseball is suspended for more than two weeks, eliminate six games for every week that the season is shut down. If necessary, reconfigure the schedule to make it work. It's not like baseball execs don't have time to optimize a new schedule. There aren't any games being played to distract anyone right now.

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