FanPost

Realistic and not-so-realistic Rescheduling options for the postponed Rays/Royals game

USA TODAY Sports

As you may have noticed, plans of making it to an official game today in Kansas City were discarded as the game was postponed due to snow. It was also wiped out completely because we still operate under rainout rules written when women couldn't vote and every president had a beard. (It'd be a bit easier to make up at least 4 to 4 1/2 innings if the rules on the matter weren't so archaic)

So what in the world can be done to make up the game?

Well, the Rays and Royals were not scheduled to play each other in Kansas City at any time after today. Due to the splendid wonder that is the 2013 MLB schedule, the Rays and Royals share just three off days over the next 146 days of MLB action.

Those three offdays are June 3rd, July 29th, and August 26th.

June 3rd, 2013

The Rays are currently scheduled to be the middle of a Miami/Cleveland/Detroit road trip from May 29th to June 6th with June 3rd being a day after traveling from Cleveland to Detroit. The Royals are scheduled to begin a 9 game homestand from June 4th to June 12th with June 3rd being their day after traveling from Dallas to Kansas City.

The Rays are scheduled to play on 10 days in a row before June 3rd. The Royals are scheduled to play on 17 days in a row before June 3rd.

The Rays are scheduled to play on 13 days in a row after June 3rd. The Royals are scheduled to play on 16 days in a row after June 3rd.

So if the Rays and Royals play on June 3rd, it would create a schedule of the Rays playing on 24 days in a row and the Royals playing on 34 days in a row.

Let's go to Article V, Section C, Paragraph 12 of the 2012-2016 MLB CBA!

No Club shall be scheduled, or rescheduled if practicable, to play more than 20 consecutive dates without an open day. A rained-out game may be rescheduled to an open date in the same series, or to an open date at the end of the same series, if (a) the open date is a road off-day for the visiting Club, and (b) the rescheduling does not result in the home team playing more than 24 consecutive dates without an open day.

The rescheduling would result in the home team playing more than 24 days in a row without an open day. But if we look at Article V, Section C, Paragraph 19:

(19) With respect to the rescheduling of any game, except for games rescheduled as split doubleheaders as set forth in Section C(1), any scheduling or rescheduling rule set forth in this Article V may be waived by the secret ballot vote of a majority of the Players on the Club(s) that would be in violation of the rule. Separate votes shall be required with regard to each game for which a waiver is sought. A waiver granted pursuant to this provision, as well as a waiver granted by the Association pursuant to Section C(1), shall not constitute a precedent with regard to future waiver requests. With respect to the rescheduling of any such game, and all games rescheduled pursuant to Section C(1), the Club(s) shall consult with the Association concerning the actual date and time of such rescheduled game. The Club(s) shall use best efforts to notify the Association in advance of notifying the Players on the Club(s) affected.

Which means that if a majority of Royals vote to waive the rule, the game could be held on June 3rd. You'll find there is always an option to waive the rules, or accidentally break the rules because some parties to the CBA haven't actually memorized the thing. The media may report that "the union" (implying everybody) would need to vote to waive the rules, but the wording of the CBA suggests something a lot more concise.

Let's go to the 2nd common open day

July 29th, 2013

The Rays are finishing a 10 game road trip on July 28th, and they will play their first home game since July 14th on July 30th. They will be traveling from New York to St. Pete over that time. The Royals are currently scheduled to be on a three-city 9 game road trip from July 26th to August 4th. Their July 29th is the day between games in Chicago and Minnesota.

The Rays are scheduled to play 10 consecutive games before July 29th. The Royals are scheduled to play 10 consecutive games before July 29th.

The Rays are scheduled to play 2 consecutive games after July 29th. The Royals are scheduled to play 20 consecutive games after July 29th.

So if the Rays and Royals play on July 29th, the Rays will be scheduled for games on 13 days in a row and the Royals will be scheduled for games on 31 days in a row.

Another CBA violation. But all things are waivable.

Let's go to the 3rd common open day

August 26th, 2013

The Rays are in the middle of a 6 game home stand from August 23rd to August 29th with August 26th being the one off day in this 7 day period. The Royals are ending a 6 game home stand (going from August 20th to August 25th) and preparing for a 6 game road trip (from August 27th to September 1st).

The Rays are scheduled to play 3 consecutive games before August 26th. The Royals are scheduled to play 6 consecutive games before August 26th.

The Rays are scheduled to play 13 consecutive games after August 26th. The Royals are scheduled to play 16 consecutive games after August 26th.

So if the Rays and Royals play on August 26th, the Rays will be scheduled for 17 games in a row and the Royals will be scheduled for 23 games in a row. So while the 24 days rule would not be violated by the Royals, it would force a situation where the Rays are playing on Sunday afternoon in St. Pete, on Monday in Kansas City, and on Tuesday Night in St. Pete. Considering the schedules of both teams, the time of the game would have to be around 1pm on a Monday School Day.

Fourscore and several CBAs ago, the 2003 Royals played a home game in the middle of a roadtrip. They made up a rained out June 12th, 2003 game on September 4th, 2003, in the middle of a scheduled 6 game roadtrip.

But, the Royals August 30th, 2003 home game with the Anaheim Angels was rained out. The Commissioners office chose to take away a homegame from the Royals, even denying the Royals' request to play as the home team in Anaheim for one of two games. Thus a team which was 71-66 and 1 game out of first when the makeup date was announced got to only play 80 home games instead of 81 (Then again, the one MLB-controlled team, the Expos, weren't allowed to make trade deadline moves while they were in contention so the Royals weren't the only ones getting screwed by the league that year).

While there is a chance that will happen again. A scheduling quirk gives the Royals four games in St. Pete, making it seem a bit unlikely that the Commissioners Office would take away a home game from the Royals in favor of playing a five-game series v. the Rays in Tampa Bay.

Another option mentioned in the article was the possibility of the Royals playing the Diamondbacks and Angels on September 4th, before traveling to Anaheim to play the Angels 3 more times. That was rejected as "too drastic"

The option of playing two teams in one day has happened before. The Indians played the White Sox and Twins on September 25th, 2000. But that was a September game being made up. And the idea of playing the Rays and another team in one day is one which would put the Royals at too much of a disadvantage to seriously be considered the home team.

Another option is a bit too creative and probably not likely to be advocated by anybody but me. The Rays have six off days in August. Yes, a team that plays in a dome, has 6 off days in August. While the Royals got 5 scheduled off days in April.

The Rays are off on the following August days

  1. August 1st (middle of the homestand, facing the D-Backs on July 31st and Giants on August 2nd)
  2. August 5th (flying from St. Pete to Phoenix)
  3. August 8th (flying from Phoenix to Los Angeles)
  4. August 12th (flying from Los Angeles to St. Pete)
  5. August 22nd (flying from Baltimore to St. Pete)
  6. August 26th (middle of the homestand, mentioned above)

August 12th is a required offday due to the travel from the Pacific Time Zone to the Eastern Time Zone. I am not sure if traveling to Phoenix, which is in the Mountain Time Zone, but which shares the same time as the Pacific Time Zone due to Arizona's non-observance of DST, is covered under the CBA.

The August 1st and 8th offdays seem to be completely nonsensical, as both the Rays and D-Backs play in stadiums which will never experience a rain-postponed game.

So the unique option involves the Rays losing one of their August offdates and the Royals shuffling one of their games.

Option A

The Royals and Twins share an offday on July 29th. The Twins are in Seattle on July 28th. While not spelled out explicitly in the CBA, the normal practice involves an offday when a team goes directly from Seattle/Oakland/Los Angeles to their home stadium. The Royals and Twins could move their August 1st game to July 29th. Creating an offday for the Twins on August 1st. Allowing the Rays and Royals to play in Kansas City on August 1st.

Option B

The Royals and White Sox share an offday on August 19th before playing a 3 game series in Kansas City. The White Sox are in Minneapolis on August 18th. The Royals are in Detroit on August 18th. The Royals and White Sox could move their August 22nd game to August 19th. Creating an offday for the White Sox on August 22nd, and allowing the Rays to play the Royals on August 22nd.

Both options would create violations of the 24 day rule for the Rules (Option A would put games on 31 days in a row, Option B would put games on 27 days in a row). If Option A and B were smashed together (8/1 MIN/KC moved to 7/29, 8/22 CHI/KC moved to 8/19, KC/TB on 8/22), then KC wouldn't be in violation of the 24 day rule. But Minnesota wouldn't be blamed for wanting to keep a "Seattle to Minneapolis" off day.

What's most likely to happen?

Probably August 26th at 1pm. With a possibility that they just schedule a doubleheader in St. Pete sometime when KC is playing there. Which would be absurd because (a) it'd give KC 80 home games and 82 road games, (b) it'd create a five game series, (c) it'd be a doubleheader in a dome.

Is the MLB schedule in need of more logic?

Yes. While a lot of the April (and now May) 2013 weather is unforeseen events which haven't happened in years. There is a credible point that a team like the Royals, with 5 scheduled off days in April and 9 scheduled off days between May 1st and August 30th, is going to be put in a schedule bind because so many of their offdays happen at times where they would not be suitable makeup days. Having 16 off days every year and dispersing them more evenly through the 6 months is not exactly a cure-all. But having nearly 1/3rd of the off days before May 1st just makes it harder to make up games later.

The New York Mets are one of the best examples of a worst case scenario in the 2013 schedule. Their April 14th game in Minneapolis will be held on August 19th and their April 17th game in Denver will be held on June 27th.

The Mets had 3 scheduled offdates in April, 3 offdates in May, 4 in June (now 3), 1 in July, 3 in August (now 2) and 2 in September. So because of the balanced nature of their offdays, they were able to figure out some semi-coherent way to make up for two snowed out games. Had the Mets faced 5 scheduled off days in April, could they have found such an easy solution? Maybe. Maybe not.

But as long as you have 15 in the American League and 15 in the National League, with the possibility of at least 8 one-visit interleague series in April, and multiple intra-division series early in years, then you will get a messy schedule if the perfect storms hit the schedule. If both leagues had 16 teams, they could avoid some of this mess, but that would require finding two markets that wouldn't lose all hope in baseball as their small-market teams got creamed for 6 years in a row. If there was a more balanced schedule, this wouldn't happen, but the unbalanced schedule seems to be more apt in divisional races than having a division winner decided by playing as many games v. the AL East as the AL Central.

Essentially snow in Kansas City in May, an event that last happened in the Theodore Roosevelt administration, is helping to expose that the MLB schedule is a poorly thought-out maze. So hopefully this maze can be navigated in a way that will decide this problem in a logical fashion.

Hey, it's smooth sailing in August, right?

This FanPost was written by a member of the Royals Review community. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the editors and writers of this site.

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