Have you ever tried to push a Major League Baseball season back into autumn and winter? It’s a scheduling and logistical nightmare — too many games to fit into too tight of a calendar. Pitchers and fans won’t like the weather, and, of course, the Houston Astros’ video equipment might freeze over.
So International Olympic Committee and MLB officials, used to waking up around noon before strolling to the bank with those oversized checks usually reserved for Publishers Clearing House winners, are now scrambling to get their money trains back on track.
I guess the IOC had the less difficult task: It simply plopped the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo into the same time frame in 2021.
Ah, if it were only that easy.
So many factors — housing, venues, food services, security, vendors and more. Do you know how many sporks have to be reordered for the Olympic Village commissary? Those babies just disappear; sporks are always the first item to walk out of the supply closet.
Heck, rebooking flights — airline change fees alone will kill you — is a financial strain.
It’s a massive jigsaw puzzle, and every piece must fit. There are 32 sports, plus golf; you can’t just say, “We’re all good schedule-wise except for swimming — swimming doesn’t work that week, so, okey-doke, we’ll drop swimming.”
NBC, naturally, will still be there to televise the 2021 version, but that still leaves a 7,777-hour gaping crater in its schedule this July 24 to Aug. 9.
Sadly, NBC only has three viewable properties: the Olympics, “The Voice” and “America’s Got Talent.” And, sure, America’s got talent, but I don’t know if my beloved, beleaguered homeland has enough talent to fill all of the network’s needs.
(Column intermission: With everyone safer at home at the moment, my immediate family is rather tired of hearing my dulcet tones ranting day and night; our pit mix, Daisy, is the only one who never leaves the room when I’m talking. So I have started the Couch Slouch podcast — for real, folks — available on your favorite podcast app. Seeking two-legged listeners.)
As for MLB, it is contemplating a lot of less-than-optimal options.
There is still a glimmer of hope for a June 1 or July 1 start, with the possibility of playing initially at empty stadiums — so, for the Miami Marlins, it would be your typical Opening Day.
MLB might use spring training parks in Florida and Arizona, quarantining the teams in those areas and operating with no crowds until the pandemic allows otherwise.
In any compacted scenario, every day is precious, which means … doubleheaders are back, baby! I assume they will still be separate admission because, even though baseball fans will have no money, the 1 percent still needs to make up for lost yachting-and-penthouse revenue.
Speaking of which, super agent Scott Boras — FYI: “super agent” here is a euphemism for “uber-wealthy” — floated a proposal, and because he negotiated 1 billion dollars’ worth of contracts this offseason, he has considerable financial interest in this.
Boras wants a summer start, and when the temperatures drop in the fall, he points to 11 stadiums that are either domes or warm-weather sites in which postseason games could be played. He envisions a neutral-site World Series, with Game 6 being played on Christmas.
Christmas? The NBA’s holiest day? Wow. Maybe they should play Game 7 in Bethlehem.
Various models have 162-game, 144-game or 100-game seasons. Or — here’s a thought — they could just skip to the postseason directly. Have Joe Lunardi seed the teams 1 to 30, then engage in autumnal March Madness. Call it September Insanity!
My solution? Play the entire season on Strat-O-Matic: No weather worries, and the Astros can’t steal signs.
Ask The Slouch
Q. President Trump spoke Saturday with executives from the NFL, MLB, the NHL, the NBA, the WNBA, the PGA, the LPGA, WWE, NASCAR and others, but the PBA was not included. What gives? (Larry Snider; Seattle)
A. Underground bowling is flourishing. The White House has its own alley — POTUS should try it some time.
Q. Are you going to follow the government’s policy and award all the people who write you the $1.25, or just me? (Bruce Kanter; Laurel, Md.)
A. The government’s check should cover you.
Q. The Santa Anita Derby was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic. If the horse wears a mask, why should this be a problem? (Mitchell Shapiro; Rockville, Md.)
A. Pay the man, Shirley.
Q. Under the new NFLPA agreement, does gambling revenue include all receipts at what will surely be the Oakland-L.A.-Oakland-Las Vegas Raiders Wedding Chapel? (Victoria Dailey; Alexandria, Va.)
A. Pay the lady, Shirley.
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