Doubleheaders: An MLB Future – Or Not?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Victoria Advocate
January 21, 1964
Submitted By
Darrell Pittman

 

 

 

Doubleheaders: An MLB Future – Or Not?

In the local days of the Houston Buffs, right through the Buff’s last 1961 season of minor league ball existence, doubleheaders were the home game dates we lived for, especially as Knothole Gang members at old Buff Stadium. And why not? We got two games for the price of one, double the time we spent at the ballpark, and two shots at winning or losing – and all on one trip to the ballpark!

Who could ask for anything more?

And doubleheaders were great for the ball club. They were a chance to boost attendance for two games on one day that could not likely happen for two single games on two separate days. It wasn’t like today. The season ticket sales comprised a much lower percentage of the daily gate. And, even without the stats in front of me, I feel safe in saying that one close to sold out doubleheader at Buff Stadium easily eclipsed the number that would have shown up to see those same team matches scheduled as individual games.

The “make-up game” due to rain DH also could have the same effect on the gate, if the competitive match was right – or, if it featured a DH with our biggest rivals, the Dallas Eagles. Indoor baseball was simply unheard of anywhere until 1965.

Remember?

Today, of course, we live in the big league world – and in an era which places top club value on selling as much of the stadium seats available to season ticket holders as possible. I may have been too harsh the other day for criticizing the Astros for out-pricing SABR from yesterday’s Fan Fest. Geez, they have one big nut to crack to meet payroll every year now, even with the TV money and the new attraction they have as World Champs. Now, it seems, everybody wants to either see or be Astros in 2018. All we can say is, “Sure thing! Just grab your fistful of dollars and either take it – or leave it – at the MMP door – depending on whether you are here to either buy tickets or sell talent!”

By the way, Houston is a good example these days of how starkly relative the phrase “big salary” is to whatever you may be doing. The Astros just signed reserve center fielder Jake Marisnick on the cheap for $1.9 million dollars a year. Meanwhile, the 28-years on duty Alley Theater artistic director, Gregory Boyd, appears to be resigning his good paying job in the face of charges that his verbal abuse of young female employees has created a toxic environment in that workplace. And Boyd was getting paid a huge $420,000 a year.

At any rate, paying high salaries is simply one of the big expenses in baseball today that cries out for single date game scheduling.

Given the inflated state of money today – and the changes in the baseball culture we’ve only touched upon here briefly – doubleheaders don’t seem to have much future to them, although 30 MLB DH contests were played in 2017.

http://www.espn.com/mlb/stats/doubleheaders

How could fans be calling for more? And, if they are, are these the same fans who are complaining that baseball should find ways to shorten the nine inning single game?

Another irony: The length of some single games today probably exceeds the time it once took to play a doubleheader.

 

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

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2 Responses to “Doubleheaders: An MLB Future – Or Not?”

  1. Greg Lucas Says:

    Only way scheduled doubleheaders could return these days would be for the Players’ Association be be interested in exchange for more days off. That is not impossible. Owners of most teams now would look at them as money losers with dates lost. You are right, though Bill. Back in the day the Sunday DH was usually the largest attended game(s) of the week for many teams. Usually more than doubling the normal average game attendance. Wouldn’t like be able to do that now for most clubs. (Who said interest in baseball was bigger in the 40s an 50s than now?) The sport didn’t have to share the stage with anyone back then. Yet, it draws more fans…has more TV viewers (local packages combined) than ever before.

  2. Cliff Blau Says:

    I think there might have been one doubleheader played last year; the rest of the games in that list were two separate admission games played on the same day.

    There was some feeling back in the day that doubleheaders suppressed attendance at single games, because of people like you waiting until there was a bargain doublebill.

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