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Friday, February 22, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports >  MLB

Couch Slouch: Time to downsize sports seasons

UPDATED: Mon., April 23, 2018, 8:32 p.m.

Couch Slouch reasons if you started the MLB season in May you wouldn’t have so many postponements like the Detroit Tigers’ home opener at Comerica Park on March 29. (Tanya Moutzalias / AP)
Couch Slouch reasons if you started the MLB season in May you wouldn’t have so many postponements like the Detroit Tigers’ home opener at Comerica Park on March 29. (Tanya Moutzalias / AP)

Q. Is the Major League Baseball season too long?

A. Do venture capitalists venture capital?

During his weekly appearance on ESPN 1000 in Chicago last week, Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo said, “I think we play too much baseball.” He then suggested they shorten the season, pointing out, “Yes, guys are going to take pay cuts. But are we playing this game for the money or do we love this game?”

Is that a rhetorical question?

In response, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred confirmed, “(If) they’re going to work less, they’re probably going to make less.”

Indeed, the biggest problem with Rizzo’s suggestion is that everybody would make less money. Nobody in America gives up income voluntarily, except Dave Chappelle that one time in 2005.

As a typical example, there is the current president of the United States, who works three days a week and plays golf four days a week, earning $400,000 a year. If you told him he could go to a two-day-a-week tweeting, uh, work schedule while playing golf five days but his salary would drop to $275,000, I believe he would reject that.

(In fact, something tells Couch Slouch he would seek a pay raise under the new agreement.)

Still, Rizzo has the right idea – they play too many games, and too many of the games are played in rotten conditions. As he reasons, no one wants to play or watch baseball on, say, a cold, windy evening.

Who yearns to sit in the left-field bleachers in freezing rain while drinking a warm $9 cup of suds?

What type of business model is that?

Movie theaters figured this out a long time ago. Everyone loves going to the movies, but would you sit outdoors in 28-degree climes to watch “Titanic”?

Note: I also will not sit indoors in an optimal climate-controlled atmosphere to take in any Keanu Reeves, Molly Ringwald or Adam Sandler film.

Frankly, all sports seasons are too long. MLB starts in March and, with a weather delay or two, the World Series could end in November. The NBA and the NHL each starts before baseball is over and each plays into mid-June, for goodness sakes.

(Incidentally, I know my readers don’t want to read more than one column a week from me – some want to read even less – and many don’t like to read my columns if it’s too hot or too cold outside, or inside.)

There’s just TOO MUCH going on – most of us don’t have the time, patience or aptitude to follow 37 different endeavors at once.

For instance, right now MLB, MLS, the NBA and the NHL are all playing. This is oversaturating the sports-entertainment market with run-of-the-mill products.

(Similarly, Applebee’s, Chili’s, Ruby Tuesday and TGI Fridays are all open at the same time – that’s too many loaded potato skins for America to absorb.)

As seasons change – spring is for blossoms, summer’s for the beach, autumn is for leaves falling and winter, of course, is for Yuengling Black & Tan brew – so should the sports menu.

Here is my proposed, truncated, fan-friendly U.S. major professional team sports calendar:

NFL: September to December.

NBA: January to April.

NHL: January to April.

MLB: May to August.

MLS: July 16-19 (coinciding with MLB’s all-star game break).

This keeps each league to a maximum four-month schedule and this creates virtually no overlap.

(Heck, even deer-hunting season is generally only three months or so; who wants to kill deer year-round? Then again, deer- and duck-hunting seasons often overlap, which makes little sense – we really should spread out the time periods in which we shoot defenseless creatures for sport.)

All of this reminds me why I will not join a bowling league: They never end. These leagues last as long as pregnancies, and by the end of bowling’s third trimester, all you have to show for it is a beer belly rather than a baby in your belly.

Ask The Slouch

Q. Once again you have failed to win a Pulitzer as a columnist. Any thoughts of going after a Nobel Prize for Literature by authoring a book? (Sandy Schwartz; Buffalo Grove, Ill.)

A. Good idea. Kanye West is writing a philosophy book, so maybe I can write a microbiology book.

Q. What exactly is the difference between drug cheat and serial liar Lance Armstrong and drug cheat and serial liar Alex Rodriguez? (Duncan Walsh; San Antonio)

A. Jennifer Lopez, I guess.

Q. My friends Phil and Jane Hochberg are celebrating their 50th anniversary this month. If you add up all three of your marriages and multiple by 2, do you top them? (Morton A. Faller; Potomac, Md.)

A. Can I multiply by 3?

Q. Wouldn’t it make sense for curlers to cover their mouths with their brooms when they are discussing shot strategy? (Michael Rossiter; Columbia, Md.)

A. Pay the man, Shirley.

You, too, can enter the $1.25 Ask The Slouch Cash Giveaway. Just email and, if your question is used, you win $1.25 in cash!

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