Texas Rangers: Shorter games and doubleheaders a blessing in disguise?

the Texas rangers (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
the Texas rangers (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

The Texas Rangers and the rest of MLB may stand to benefit from a shorter season and shorter games in 2020. Here’s why…

After a highly resourceful winter, the Texas Rangers were supposed to take a big step forward in 2020. Coupled with the opening of their new air conditioned stadium, baseball was supposed to be fun again in North Texas. That is until a certain pandemic threw a wrench in everything.

This was supposed to be opening week for the 2020 MLB season, but for the public health reason listed above, the start has been delayed indefinitely. When the season actually begins is anyone’s guess, but that doesn’t mean problem solving hasn’t already begun.

Ross Atkins, the Toronto Blue Jays general manager, floated the idea that MLB may have to move to shorter games and more doubleheaders as a way of salvaging the 2020 season. Normally, any suggestion that alters the most romantically traditional sport in America is met with sneers and dismissal. But these are not normal times.

For a league and fanbase absolutely desperate for the game, nothing is off the table. As such, the league that is arguably the least tolerant towards innovation is finally open to new ideas. And those new ideas may not just be good for the league, but they could useful to the Texas Rangers’ rebuild.

Shorter Games and Doubleheaders are Fun

We can’t deny how much fun the atmosphere is when attending or watching a doubleheader. Whether it’s pro ball or little leagues, there’s something special about a full day of baseball. That’s because it’s not just about the game – it’s more about the total experience: Food, drinks, fans, music, entertainment, etc… all contribute to that experience. If the game starts going poorly, optimism still remains for the second game.

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The biggest problem with doubleheaders is that they drag on foooooorrevvveeeeerrr. It’s an exhausting commitment that typically leads to a lot of early exits once the second contest appears to be in (or out of) hand. But with seven inning games, things will move more briskly. There will be less pitching changes and less fatigue.

For the Texas Rangers

It’s hard to say how this would help the Texas Rangers specifically since they built their rotation and bullpen for the standard long-haul. It stands to reason all of their top-end pitchers will grown in value. Complete games will become realistic goals rather than noteworthy milestones. Bullpens probably won’t need to be as deep which means the Rangers could keep more position players.

Then they wouldn’t need to make so many difficult decisions on which position players stay and which get sent down. Since the Rangers have more players they want to develop than they have actual roster spots and game opportunities to develop them, this could be very useful.

MLB is problem solving and while any decisions are premature, it appears everything is on the table. This could bode well for the Texas Rangers since they are trying to build extra buzz around their new stadium, and it could offer opportunities for them to develop more position players than they’d otherwise be able to.