Home > Uncategorized > Major League Baseball Saw Something Saturday That Should Happen More Often But It Won’t, And It’s Easy To Understand Why**

Major League Baseball Saw Something Saturday That Should Happen More Often But It Won’t, And It’s Easy To Understand Why**

A classic doubleheader! 

Not one of your phony, weather-produced, day-night doubleheaders. This is one ticket getting you about six hours of baseball. You watch a game and then stick around for about 40 minutes because another one is coming down the pike. Pace your drinking or else you’ll be tapping out during the second third inning. The true essence of Ernie Banks’ classic “Let’s play two” adage.

Saturday gave us MLB’s first classic doubleheader since 2003 and the first in Oakland since 1995. It came to fruition in November when the A’s decided to get an extra day of rest after the All-Star break by shifting a Thursday, July 14 game against the Angels into a second game Saturday. Everyone in Oakland should have erupted in celebration.

My dad regale me of tales of MLB doubleheaders he used to attend in the 1970s. I went to a couple while I was in college, and such games are not as rare at the collegiate level or in the minors. But as major league attendance rose in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, true doubleheaders lost their place or need in the game. They were around to boost attendance. But as the times changed, owners and franchises could capitalize more off of getting the paying public to open their wallets for each game. And as the doubleheaders disappeared, attendance generally stayed strong.

However, the A’s remain a franchise that needs to exercise every avenue possible to raise attendance. Only the Marlins have a lower average attendance this year. Only the Indians had a lower number last season. And Oakland was dead last in attendance in 2009. This year, Oakland is averaging a little less than 19,000 fans per game. That total dipped below 18,000 in each of the past two seasons.

Yesterday’s doubleheader against the Angels drew 27, 379. For the A’s, that’s a great total. They see bigger crowds on very few occasions: opening day; when the Giants come in town; when the Yankees come in town; when the Red Sox come in town. Take those out of the equation, and this team is below 15,000 in a ton of games.

It would have made more sense if the A’s could have scheduled the double dip to take place during a series versus the Royals or Indians or Orioles, etc. If they had drawn 27,000 for a doubleheader in that case, they probably would have had an attendance figure of more than double the usual against those opponents. Angels games are fairly populated in Oakland because of the short distance in travel.

But I guess you can’t be picky.

Still, you can see how it doesn’t make fiscal sense in the end. It’s second-grade math. With the Angels in town, the A’s could have made more profit, minus costs for upkeep, utilities and workers, by playing separate games each day with 19,000 in attendance (just throwing a random number out there) than what they probably made with 27,379 taking advantage of the two-for one. It means more people paying for parking; more people paying for concessions; more people paying for tickets. And any MLB owner (cough) (cough) frank mccourt (cough) (cough) will take the extra pay instead of doubling up game days.

But the classic doubleheader is a gem that should be polished more often than once every eight years. Finances aside, every player likes an extra day off, and every baseball fan should enjoy more baseball whenever they can get it. If one was ever hosted by a team in Southern California, I would probably take my wheelchair down the freeway if it was the only route to such enjoyment.

Also, you know the only thing better than a doubleheader? One that heads into extra innings. Saturday had to have been a blast around the East Bay.

**Twenty-word headlines, like classic doubleheaders, just aren’t used enough these days. And it’s just as easy to see why.

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