I wish that MLB would begin to schedule doubleheaders as a regular part of baseball. In the beginning, I'd settle for even once a year. Just imagine, for example, 4th of July weekend. The Twins are home at Target Field, American flags are everywhere, the players sporting their patriotic hats; perhaps there's even a military flyover. The Twins are scheduled to play 2 games against the White Sox (or maybe even our old border rivals the Brewers). Aside from the postseason, I can't think of a better day to go to the ballpark. And, under my plan, this wouldn't just take place in Minnesota. It would be a "National Doubleheader Day," more or less. Naturally, it would switch from year to year, so the Twins would be on the road, hopefully playing another rival, the following year.
I certainly understand the reasons against scheduled doubleheaders, the first of which is financial. Back "in the day," one cheap ticket would get you in for the entire day of baseball action. Now, there's little chance that ownership would want to lose 1/82 of revenue just for a feel-good, nostalgic event. Similarly, I'm quite sure that the players do not get too excited to play back-to-back games, especially in the summer when temperatures can hit triple digits across the much of the country.
What I propose, then, is the following financial structure: Instead of paying, for example, $50 for a seat to one game at Target Field, the cost of that seat for the doubleheader should be $80 or, at the most, $90. Under this structure, the fans are getting the perceived benefit of saving a little money, when compared to the cost of purchasing 2 tickets to separate games. And although the ownership is eating that $10 or $20 per ticket, a portion of that will be made up in concession and merchandise sales. Not only will there be food, liquor and merchandise revenue from two games, but there will also be at least a small bump in sales during the time period between the two games. People might take that hour to mill around the park, and perhaps eat at a restaurant such as Hrbek's that they haven't tried before, or stop in at the team's official merchandise shop. In short, I don't think the financial losses, if they exist at all, would be noteworthy to ownership. Although I don't anticipate Bud Selig checking out my blog and bringing this up at the next ownership meeting, my only real point is that I don't think the financials of a scheduled doubleheader, which are perceived as the largest obstacle, are really an insurmountable problem. There can be creative solutions and marketing strategies that could result in a big payday for teams.
Today and tonight, I'm excited for the doubleheader. For the afternoon game, I'll just be periodically checking the score on espn.com, but I'll be able to watch tonight. This is a good time to be a Twins fan: the team is back in the hunt, players that we need to succeed are beginning to show signs of life (Mauer, Young), and they have just completed the first small goal (that I had set for them, anyway), which was winning the first series after the All-Star break.