Jim Gazzolo column: Simple schedule adjustment

Published 12:00 pm Thursday, May 12, 2022

It is perhaps the most exciting weekend in the history of the Southland Conference when it comes to baseball.

Six of the league’s eight teams have a shot at part or all of the regular-season championship as the final set of games are ready to go.

With ESPN+ streaming games now, fans could have their eyes on all the games that matter as two spots hosting the postseason are also on the line.

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Never before has so much been up for grabs for so many teams. Every pitch will matter.

But wait, the games don’t match up.

You can understand McNeese playing at Houston Baptist has to be played early because the Huskies don’t have lights at their home field.

Cowboys fans know about the lack of night games when it comes to light issues after the last two football seasons. So that makes sense.

But the league has allowed days to be different as well.

While McNeese tries to hold on to its share of first place starting today, the two other meaningful series won’t open until Friday night.

That means the Cowboys and Huskies will have played two games before the other contenders have thrown one pitch.

That seems senseless, or at least more than a little confusing.

On the last game of the season Major League Baseball tries to have all its games start at one time. The NFL does the same.

The reason is simple: put everybody in the same situation, playing against both the opponent and scoreboard.

Hard to say it will make much of a difference in the long run since the Cowboys can make it all meaningless by winning all three games in Houston. That would keep things simple.

But even then part of the fun will be lost.

As McNeese and HBU players bake under the forecasted heat in Houston, others will be waiting to play at night. When they start to play they will know the outcome of the early game and be able to figure out accordingly just what their chances are.

This becomes a bigger deal when you consider the real prize comes over the next couple of weeks through the postseason.

Players, especially pitchers, can be rested if outcomes are already known. That’s just the way it is.

The right, or fair thing for the league to have done, would be to have made all the final weekend games start at the same time.

For most this won’t matter one way or the other, but it doesn’t make sense. Why let anybody have a reason to complain?

This is about the appearance of being fair.

I doubt much would change between game times, but the days seem to be a little odd. Why would anybody not want the extra day off before the start of postseason play?

The Southland has made progress in a lot of areas this school year.

Now it’s time to keep the momentum. Fixing schedules would help.

Jim Gazzolo is a freelance writer who covers McNeese State athletics for the American Press. Email him at jimgazzolo@yahoo.com