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Daily coverage of the Mariners during the season and all year long.

April 25, 2007 at 5:37 PM

Scheduling woes “a real mess”

Those four makeup games the Mariners have to play against the Cleveland Indians are wreaking havoc behind the scenes. MLB had hoped to make an announcement last Friday on when the games will be played. But that day came and went with no word and — after some digging today — I found out why.
It seems nobody can agree on much of anything.
It’s gotten so bad that at least one of the games will be made up in Seattle the final week of the season as part of a doubleheader. At least, that’s what Willie Bloomquist, the Mariners’ player rep, told me on the field a few moments ago. Nothing is official just yet, but Bloomquist said one of those four make-up games will almost certainly take place at Safeco Field with a provision for allowing the Indians to claim the gate revenues.
But that’s all anyone has agreed to so far. And it’s not just the Mariners and Indians having trouble reaching a consensus. Try the Chicago Cubs. Huh? What do they have to do with this? Well, it seems one proposal, shot down by the Cubs two days ago, would have seen Seattle’s series at Wrigley Field on June 12-14 bumped up one day — leaving a free day after it ended. Seattle would have then flown to Cleveland after the day-game finale of that Chicago series, played a doubleheader against the Indians on the free day, then headed on to Houston for a series the following night.
The way things stand now, the Mariners play a series in San Diego, then have a free day, before heading on to Chicago and Houston for six consecutive games. Bloomquist told me there’s no way the Mariner players want to play a West Coast series in San Diego, fly to the Eastern time zone for a doubleheader in Cleveland, then head back to the Central time zone for six straight games in consecutive days.
So, he said, the most the team will play on the free day between San Diego and Chicago is one game. And even that can’t be agreed upon. The Indians apparently wanted a day game, while the Mariners are refusing to play at any time other than at night, given the time zone and travel constraints. In other words, they’d be landing in Cleveland after midnight and would have to get up for a day game a few hours later. No cigar there.
“It’s a real mess,” Bloomquist said.
I spoke earlier today to Katy Feeney, MLB’s senior vice-president in charge of scheduling, and she confirmed that assessment.
“The Mariners have interests, the Indians have interests and the players have interests and none of them seem to mesh,” Feeney said. “There’s not any one solution to any of it.”
But someone will need to come up with one. One proposal is to play the one game on the free-day between the San Diego and Chicago series, a second one in Seattle in late September and then leave two for after the season — just in case. But even that’s a no-go for most of the players.
“What happens if we make the playoffs?” Bloomquist asked — a legitimate question considering his team is just 2 1/2 games out of the division lead. “Or what if the games mean something to the race? We could have to play a doubleheader, then fly to New York or something the next night to start the playoffs. That’s not really fair.”
No, it’s not. But then again, very little about this month of April, six cancellations and counting, has been fair to the M’s.



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