Something is going on this season with Major League Baseball, and it doesn't seem good for the fans, players, and team and stadium employees. It's the seemingly never-ending rain delay that MLB has been putting people through this season to get the games in, and they need to change it.

MLB teams asking their fans to hang around for hours waiting to play a game on a rainy day isn't new. It's been happening for decades. Yet, this season, teams seem to be waiting longer to make the call and reschedule the game for another day.

This spring, I first became aware of the issue when I read on Facebook about an excruciatingly long rain delay at Great American Ballpark, home of the Reds.

Cincinnati area fans were ticked off by the long delay, abysmal communication from the team at the ballpark, a fireworks show that started without warning before the teams played the game, and mostly just having to kill hours at the ballpark before a pitch was even thrown.

Then, about a month ago, I noticed the ridiculousness in St. Louis having to do with the rain. The White Sox and Cardinals were tied in extra innings, and the teams played in the rain until they didn't. Then, they waited three hours and three minutes before resuming play.

This brings me to the latest ridiculous rain delay from this past weekend. The Reds were playing the Cubs in Chicago. It was supposed to be a national game on the Fox Network. The game was delayed three hours and twenty minutes. The most frustrating thing is that, according to the Bleed Cubbie Blue website, it rained in Chicago from 10:00 AM CDT Saturday until after 10:00 PM CDT.

According to Bleed Cubbie Blue, Major League Baseball considered postponing the game only if the teams were willing to play a split doubleheader the next day. The league ignored making the game good on Thursday, September 26, a scheduled day off for the Reds and Cubs before the Red's next visit to Wrigley Field.

Understandably, with the Cubs looking like a playoff-bound team at the moment, maybe they wanted that day off to stay a day off that late in the season. But baseball probably shouldn't have been played in Chicago on Saturday night. Additionally, they delayed the game an extra 30 minutes so Fox 32, the TV affiliate in Chicago, could do their news before the game.

What should fans do while hanging around a ballpark for three hours in the rain? What's the plan? In many cases, there isn't a plan. Sure, you can walk the stadium concourses. Browse the gift shops. Stuff your piehole with one of those helmet sundaes. See if you can find a stadium club or a dry place to enjoy a cocktail if that's your thing.

Yet, that doesn't work for everyone, nor would it work at every stadium. Mike and his fiancèe were at last night's Cubs game, another one delayed by rain, and they left because the concourse was overcrowded, and it was hard to explore the park with everyone milling around.

Then you have folks with kids. Depending on their age, dealing with a rain delay is a different challenge. Many younger kids will get bored hanging around a wet ballpark with nothing to do. Not to mention, keeping track of three or four young ones in a crowded concourse, no thanks.

Major League Baseball will never satisfy everyone. Some will always want to see the team wait longer to play. Additionally, some will think delaying a game or playing it in absolutely miserable weather is stupid and should have been canceled much earlier in the day.

I think Major Leauge Baseball  could do a few things to make life easier for fans dealing with delays:

  • Communicate better with the fans in the stands. Tell them what the forecasters say, how long the team thinks the delay will last, and when the team hopes to start the game. Update this as the delay continues.
  • This won't work everywhere except for ballparks in areas with things to do. Offer people the ability to leave the stadium and return after the delay.
  • Limit the time a game will be delayed before offering fans an out. If a game is delayed more than 90 minutes, offer anyone who wishes to leave and see another game a rain check. Those who sit through the rest of the delay don't get the free voucher if play resumes after the delay.
  • When weather delays in the later innings impact games, look at suspending play and finishing the game the next day if both teams are playing each other again.
  • Provide programming or opportunities for fans, especially kids, to do something in the concourse or stadium during delays.
  • Don't be afraid to cancel games BEFORE people leave home to go to the stadium. Don't be scared to throw in the towel after a 60-90-minute delay, especially if making the game up or finishing the game on a later day isn't overly complicated.

Do I think Major League Baseball or its teams will adopt something like this league-wide? No, because it's not really about the fan. It's about extracting as much money as possible from the fan. Hence why affordable tickets are limited. Souvenir jerseys and caps are so expensive. And no matter what TV package you get, Major League Baseball won't let you see some games without trying to sell you another service. It's also why the season starts in March and ends in November.

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