While sitting with my girlfriend's father and listening to his many stories about the Oakland A's in their 1970s glory days, one topic in particular really caught my interest: the doubleheader.
To summarize, when he was a child, he would convince his mother to take him to A's home games and not tell her that there was a doubleheader that day. After the tickets were purchased and they were through the gates, the news would come out that there was a doubleheader that day.
Because of this method, he successfully tricked his mother into sitting through 18 innings of blissful childhood with him (multiple times, even).
Although this story is a bit humorous, it does bring up the question in my mind: What ever happened to the doubleheader?
Being a college baseball player myself, I know a thing or two about doubleheaders. As tiring as they are, I cannot deny the fun I have playing them. The doubleheader is alive and well in college and minor league baseball, but only out of necessity—a lack of travel funds and commitments to schoolwork being the main reason.
If I think about it though, when was the last time a Major League Baseball team held a doubleheader that was not forced due to a game cancellation earlier in the season? [Ed. note: the A's scheduled a doubleheader for July 16 this year]
I understand the reasons for the absence of doubleheaders in the modern baseball era: money, money, money. The loss of revenue the team would incur from giving away two games for the price of one is something that no team wants to endure.
The loss of television revenue from stations not wanting to broadcast six hours of baseball must be equally as difficult look past as well.
Why, though, does money need to dominate every aspect of professional baseball? Does it justify robbing numerous amounts of children their rights as baseball fans to witness and entire day’s worth of baseball?
Sure, teams can hold one game in the morning and one game at night, allowing for time to pass in between and letting teams sell two separate sets of tickets. However, teams never do this. Perhaps they fear the team will somehow lose money or no one will want to come to the games.
I say to these organizations: Have faith in your fans.
Money should not be the force that takes away from the joyful experience of a day filled with baseball. The silly promotions and wacky gimmicks of double headers past still have a place in professional baseball.
This is where I would like to direct my attention to small-market teams such as Tampa Bay, Kansas City and Toronto—the teams that have a difficult enough time getting fans in seats. What offer sounds better than giving fans a two for one deal? Such a great deal not only would get fans and their wallets through the doors in the seats, but it would also bring some much needed fan support for their team’s players.
I’m not trying to make the argument that each series should come complete with its own doubleheader or even that doubleheaders should be played all that often. I recognize the health risks that come along with overplaying one’s players—believe me, I play doubleheaders every weekend.
That being said, it is not right for this time honored baseball tradition to fade away from today’s era of baseball.
Frankly, I want the doubleheader back.