A little-known provision in Major League Baseball’s collective bargaining agreement allowed the Red Sox to schedule today’s day-night split doubleheader.
As reported by the Tampa Bay Times:
Here is the clause in the Collective Bargaining Agreement that allowed the Red Sox to schedule a split-doubleheader today without the Rays consent, specifically paragraph (b):
Additional Scheduling Agreements
(1) Split doubleheaders may be included in the original schedule
pursuant to Section E below. Provided that neither of the Clubs
involved in the proposed rescheduled game has already played or
has been rescheduled to play a total of three split doubleheaders
(exclusive of any splits in the original schedule) in that champion-
(a) each Club shall have the right to reschedule any postponed
game as a split doubleheader when ticket sales for the game at the
time of postponement exceed, in any respect, the number of com-
parable tickets available to be exchanged by the Club for the bal-
ance of the championship season, and both the postponed and
rescheduled game occur in the last regularly scheduled series
between the two Clubs at the Club’s park; and
(b) when there is no practical alternative to doing so, the
Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs shall have the right to
reschedule a postponed game as a split doubleheader to be played
in, respectively, Fenway Park and Wrigley Field, even if the cri-
teria set out in subparagraph (a) above are not met. Scheduling a
postponed game as part of a conventional doubleheader will not
be considered a practical alternative
The Red Sox have not scheduled a traditional doubleheader since Aug. 30, 1978, when they split a twin-bill with the Blue Jays.
Red Sox manager John Farrell said Thursday morning there had been communication between the two teams before the decision to schedule today’s doubleheader was made. Farrell said he did not speak directly with Rays manager Joe Maddon about the decision. Farrell mentioned the provision that allows specifically the Red Sox and Cubs to make these kinds of decisions.
But with the Rays making two additional trips to Fenway this season – May 30-June 1 and Sept. 23-25, and with the teams having mutual off days on Sept. 22 – it is possible the game could have been made up at a later date.
Comments from the Rays clubhouse on Wednesday, including those of player rep Ben Zobrist, suggested the Rays were not happy with the decision.
One reason the Rays might prefer to put the game off would be exactly the reason the Sox would want to play it on Thursday.
The Rays have been reeling lately – at 11-16 overall, losing six of their last seven. Their starting pitchers have lasted just 5.0 innings or fewer in 11 of their last 15 games, posting an ERA of 6.24, giving up 52 earned runs over 75 innings in that span.
Their bullpen has thrown 91 innings, more than 25 other teams, behind only the White Sox with 97 2/3 innings in the American League.
Farrell said it was logistics, more than strategy, that went into the decision.
“One thing we can’t predict is what the future holds,” Farrell said. “You set this date for an off-day or a mutual off-day late in September, we have a number of teams that come in here one time, and it’s somewhat of an off-day around the games so it provides some flexibility if weather hits us for a National League team that comes in here only once. You take that away and now all of a sudden we’re looking at the potential of adding games at the end of the year if we get into a rainout situation.
“Again you’re trying to factor in as many things as possible and flexibility in the schedule is one of them.”