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[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row gap=”10″][vc_column][vc_column_text]By the time the first pitch was thrown in the series opener between the New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers, Game 1 of the NBA Finals was already closing in on halftime.

Both games were being played on the West Coast. Both games were scheduled to begin three hours later on the eastern seaboard.

The similarities stop there.

The NBA made the strategic decision to schedule tip-off at a time that makes sense for all time zones and all sports fans: 9:00 p.m. (et), 8:00 p.m. (central) and 6:00 p.m. (west). Meanwhile, MLB has discounted how the game is viewed beyond the local home market of the broadcast.

First pitch in Los Angeles was 10:10 p.m. (NY) and 7:10 p.m.(LA). Nine innings, two runs and 11 hits (combined) and nearly three hours later — 1:04 a.m. on the east coast — the final pitch was thrown. Sure, SoCal fans were home by 11 p.m., but this is America’s Game, right? A global game with international appeal.

It begs the question, amidst all the other tinkering that MLB has done to the rules in an effort to attract more fans — pitch clocks, the universal designated hitter, the “ghost” runner in extra innings — why hasn’t the League adopted game start times that might be more inviting to potential viewers? Wouldn’t it be nice for all fans to be able to digest a full game before the calendar changes?

Last night’s Mets-Dodgers game is a perfect example. One hour could make a significant difference on viewership. Imagine if MLB adjusted its first pitch schedule for night games from 10:00 p.m. (et) to 9:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. (west).

The Pittsburgh Pirates, a team that struggles to attract fans for a variety of reasons, began offering earlier start times to attract more fans to come to the ballpark.

As I pour a third cup of coffee (potential danger zone), rub my bloodshot eyes and fight back the need to yawn, I think I speak from personal experience when I suggest that even most faithful baseball fans are struggling to stay awake for the late innings.


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About the author

John Strubel

Hi. My name is John Strubel. Thanks for visiting my website. I write primarily about my passion: baseball. In addition, I occasionally publish posts and podcasts related to sports media, journalism and technology impacting the industry. You can also connect with me on social media @johnstrubel.

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