It’s the norm now. If this year’s World Series goes the distance, baseball’s season will end on Nov. 4.
On such a date, people are often wearing gloves, stocking caps and overcoats when they go out. It’s hard to eat peanuts and wave a pennant or placard when you are bundled up against the elements.
Baseball is not helping itself by letting its postseason run into the dead of winter. Never mind when it officially starts on the calendar. November is winter, and not meant for baseball. Even if it’s a four-game sweep, it will end on Oct. 31, barring extra innings. Trick or treat!
It wasn’t always that way. The first time I can remember the so-called fall classic stretching into November was in 2001, because of the delay wrought by the 9/11 terrorist attack. The Yankees’ Derek Jeter earned the title “Mr. November” with a 10th-inning homer against Arizona in Game 4, which stretched past midnight on the East Coast. (See the above user-generated video.)
Television, which rules all sports with its financial clout, is the apparent reason. Seasons start earlier than ever and take longer to finish. Same with the NFL. The Super Bowl now is a fixture in February, which also seems incongruous. But as the movie title says, money never sleeps. Longer seasons mean more commercials.
But baseball in cold weather, baseball when pro basketball and pro hockey are cranking up, well, that ain’t right. I do not like watching the boys of summer with their breath freezing and having to wear long underwear. I can’t wait for the first World Series game to get snowed out, or the winning team making snow angels in the field after clinching the title. What happens if we get Minnesota in the World Series this year? The Twins play in an open-air stadium. Ditto New York and Philadelphia, other playoff entrants.
But we’ll have to get used to it. Sports calendars never get shorter. Hey, the NFL already is talking about an 18-game schedule. That might push the Super Bowl back to compete with baseball’s spring training, for all I know. Change is inevitable, so get used to it. But some of it I will never applaud. Brrr!