Recently, it was reported players for the Tampa Bay Rays voted against a doubleheader versus the Boston Red Sox. This article will address the player’s rights specific to a doubleheader due to rain or bad playing conditions.
In other words, this article assumes a doubleheader is being sought due to poor playing conditions and not related to whether a team can be forced to play in a pre-scheduled double header long before anybody knows anything about the weather.
Rule for Baseball Doubleheaders
Under the current MLB Collective Bargaining Agreement (“CBA”), specifically Article V, Section C, every team has the right to reschedule any postponed game as a split doubleheader. However, this is only true when ticket sales for the game at the time the game is postponed, exceeds the number of similar tickets available to be exchanged by the team for the balance of the season, and the game occurs in the last regularly scheduled series.
I agree, the rule shouldn’t be this complicated. As a result, allow the following as an example. Lets say the Dodgers are scheduled to play the Twins for three games in Minnesota during the entire 2014 season. Next, assume Minnesota sold 30,000 tickets for game one, 30,000 tickets for game two, and 40,000 tickets for game three.
Because the Twins do not play the Dodgers in any follow-up series, the 30,000 tickets sold for game one exceed the number of similar or comparable tickets available for an upcoming game versus the Dodgers and this was the last series to be played by Twins and Dodgers in 2014, the Twins have the right to postpone game one and ask / force the players to play a split doubleheader.
Red Sox and Cubs have more Doubleheader rights than other teams
Get this – the Red Sox and the Chicago Cubs have more doubleheader rights than any other MLB team because under the current CBA, each of these teams can force a doubleheader exclusive to Fenway Park and Wrigley Field if the above rule is not satisfied.
That said, nether the Red Sox nor the Chicago Cubs can schedule a postponed game on the same day a doubleheader is scheduled. In other words, the Red Sox and Cubs are not allowed to use the rule to compel a triple-header.
MLB Players Association also gets a say in a Doubleheader
More importantly for the players, the MLB Player’s Association has the EXCLUSIVE right to approve an additional re-scheduled postponed MLB game if proposed as a split doubleheader and the games are not supported under the above referenced rules. Thus, the MLBPA is looking out for the players too, which is always a good thing.
What about a One Day Series?
No, the CBA does not support a one day baseball series, unless it is absolutely required to complete the season.
Any other rules applicable to a Doubleheader?
Yes, if a team is scheduled for a doubleheader….say tomorrow, the game today must start BEFORE 5 P.M and a day game cannot start before 1 P.M. That said, there are exceptions to these ancillary rules.
Can a MLB Team vote against a Doubleheader?
Really, the point of all this is to breakdown whether or not the players for the Tampa Bay Rays had a right to vote against a doubleheader while playing the Boston Red Sox.
In the opinion of Royal Sports Group, no, the players did not have the right to vote against a doubleheader. Likely, a player started raising a stink because they heard through the grapevine they could vote or experienced something awful while playing in the minor leagues.
Unfortunately, the CBA doesn’t support a vote and even more importantly, the Red Sox have more rights when it comes to a double header than any other team other than the Cubs.
Therefore, it is unclear who, why, or what really happened in Tampa Bay’s club house – because their proposed vote was unsupported and without merit.