The MLB Schedule Release Respects My Time And Lack Of Interest
2:36 PM EDT on August 24, 2022
You know how at work you'll have regular meetings, scheduled solely for the sake of having meetings and looking busy and absolutely nothing of value will be discussed or decided but it'll run over an hour anyway just because Tom Ley likes to hear himself talk [Ed. note: Go to hell] and then at the very end of it one useful piece of info will be mentioned and you think to yourself, This whole thing could've been an email? This is how I feel about league schedule releases.
The 2023 MLB schedule has been released. Have you heard about this? Probably not, because who cares. Who needs to know, right now, who the Marlins are playing on June 17, 2023, other than the person who books blocks of hotel rooms for the Marlins? (It's the Nationals.) MLB cocks up a lot of things, but the schedule release—almost wholly unhyped, very lightly analyzed, and mostly ignored and quickly forgotten until next year when it is actually relevant—is something it gets right. Where other leagues try to turn schedule releases into multi-week events, MLB uploads PDFs. Here's the National League. Here's the American. It has dates and teams. That is all the information you need to know, and that's all it ought to be.
The NFL is the greatest offender here, which is not a surprise because the NFL in general refuses to shut up and go away during its offseason. Its schedule release is a TV show which lasts three fucking hours, and is followed by schedule analysis shows on multiple networks. (The schedule release show gets its own scheduling announcement, six damn weeks before it airs.) It would be bad enough if that were it, but the week leading up to the release is blanketed with individual game announcements, and strategic local leaks. It's particularly infuriating because in the NFL, a team's opponents are predetermined by divisional rotation and by the standings. We already know who's playing who. That someone thinks people care about in what order is almost as galling as the fact that they're right. But this is more than any human should have to think about football in May, and I would like for whoever in the league office came up with the idea to spend the rest of their life in prison.
The NBA, which has done tons more than the NFL ever has to deserve year-round attention, makes a big deal out of its Christmas Day lineup—fair—but mostly leaves the schedule release hype to the actual teams. Which is how we get things like this, which while technically impressive is a tragedy for the gulf between the effort that went into it and the effort a 30-win team deserves.
The NHL, to the best of my knowledge, doesn't have a schedule and the teams just call each other like a week beforehand to see if they're free for a game.
MLB is the only one that gets it right. Put the schedule out there so the people that need it have it, but don't try to convince me that it's exciting or interesting. I will find out who my team is playing in the way god intended: by remembering to put the TV on 10 minutes after first pitch.