Now that the new Collective Bargaining Agreement has been studied more closely, stray changes/bits of info have been trickling out as more eyes are laid upon it.
Most recently, for one example, ESPN’s Jayson Stark reported that the new deal requires earlier start times on “getaway” days.
More specifically, games will have to start earlier than normal on getaway days, even if the team in question has an off-day at home the next day. In addition, the new rules will prevent teams from scheduling early-afternoon games the day after a night game was played in a different city (by either team) the night before.
Apparently, the players’ union made scheduling and start times a priority in the recent labor negotiations, as the wear and tear of travel and sleep deprivation was felt throughout the league. Fortunately, while I believe that this will help all players in baseball, it could have an especially positive impact on the Chicago Cubs.
As you know, the Chicago Cubs have typically played more day games than any other team in baseball, so any league-wide move that homogenizes the schedule toward more day games probably helps balance things out a bit, as far as the Cubs are concerned. Other teams (especially ones that feature night games almost exclusively) will most likely have to add more day games to their schedule, which might help with the travel-related fatigue, but will also subject them to a bit more of the constant body clock changing that the Cubs’ players have dealt with for decades.
If you’re unfamiliar with this issue, it’s something that has quietly and privately been a struggle for Cubs players, but that has been improved in recent years with the slight increase in night games at Wrigley Field.
This CBA change is probably a marginal benefit for the Cubs at best, but they’ll take every advantage (or in this case, lessening of a disadvantage) that they can get. Remember, though, these changes don’t take effect until the 2018 season. This year will be the status quo.
Brett Taylor contributed to this post.