On Saturday March 22nd and Sunday March 23rd the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks will kick off the 2014 MLB regular season in Sydney, Australia at the historic Sydney Cricket Ground.
While the expansion of baseball into other countries is great for the sport, the choice of game time for the first game was horrendous. According to MLB, Game 1 of the two game series will begin at 7:00 PM local time. Because Sydney is 19 hours ahead of Los Angeles it means that the first game of the 2014 will be broadcasted at midnight in LA and at 3 AM on the East Coast.
Yes, the first pitch of the regular season will take place March 22nd at midnight. That makes no sense whatsoever. MLB got the second game time correct. The game on March 23rd will take place at 1:00 PM local time, which means it will be broadcasted at 6 PM PST. So, basically, it’s a double header for us in the States.
My question is this: Why not start both games at 1 PM both days? That would mean that both games would begin at 6 PM PST on Friday the 21st and Saturday the 22nd. Wouldn’t that make more sense?
If MLB were to move the first game to 1 PM in Australia everybody would win. It would be Saturday in Australia and everyone that is showing up for the 7 PM game would still likely attend. Additionally, both the West and East coast audience would be able to watch the games in their entirety.
Starting the regular season opener at midnight on the West Coast and 3 AM on the East Coast obviously limits the potential audience and only detracts from what is already a novelty event. The Dodger and Diamondback fans are getting the short end of the stick here, as are the teams. This should be a celebration of baseball and a platform to promote both teams. Instead, a limited audience consisting of drunken college kids and absolute diehards will see the first pitch of the 2014 regular season. Let’s be honest, that’s not the fan base Major League Baseball is trying to attract.
Quite simply this decision doesn’t make much sense. Do the right thing MLB: Change the start time.