Monday, April 16, 2018

When will Section 2 ever get it?

In NY's Section 2, high school baseball, softball, & lacrosse have very short seasons. While lacrosse teams can manage playing in adverse conditions more often than not, though some games scheduled for today have been postponed right along with the softball & baseball games on the docket, getting teams to fulfill their league obligations over the course of a 6 week-plus season has been very challenging due to the weather patterns fluctuating between spring & winter during the month of April, often a transitional period between seasons as a result.

Take for example Troy High. The softball team had their April 7 game at Niskayuna rescheduled to today, but it's already been washed out for the second time in 10 days. Likewise, the baseball team was supposed to have rescheduled a non-league match with Suburban Council foe Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake for today (originally April 3), but that's out, too.

The regular season ends May 14, supposedly, so Section 2 can begin planning the sectional tournament, the finals of which will be at Joe Bruno Stadium a week later. While I realize they can't hold it back any further due to final exams, and state tournament scheduling, there has to be a solution to the overarching problem that has plagued Section 2 for years. It's actually been there all along, but they just have been unwilling to use it.

Trying to reschedule games in April, as we've already seen, is problematic all by itself. It just happened to be bad luck that Easter has already come & gone, as Easter/spring break was two weeks ago, during the first week of the season. What about playing some games on Sundays? Some teams do schedule Saturday games, but just not often enough. I get that they want the players to rest on Sundays, but the only time there's ever any games on Sundays in Section 2 is when there are tournaments held outside the section that teams are invited to. Trying to get three games in per week over six weeks and change has been difficult. While it's been noted that some teams have had practices, or, in Albany Academy's case, games, out of state, like the local colleges do, that's not so easy to do for most public high schools, which require doing some fund raising in order to have those road trips to warm weather climates. Some schools, such as Troy & Lansingburgh, have turf fields, but that sometimes isn't enough, as evidenced by Troy cancelling today's game. Apparently, the schools don't have money in the budget for tarpaulin to cover the fields when it does rain.

That takes me back to my concern, particularly at Troy, for the lack of lights for night games. I get it, schools don't want to compete with major league baseball for fans' attention at night, but that's what they invented radio and the internet for, so you can follow your favorite MLB team (i.e. Yankees, Red Sox, Mets) on the radio or online on your phone while watching your children play.

Section 2 needs to understand that what might've worked 35-40-45 years ago doesn't work now. It's time to start thinking about resolving the present scheduling crisis. Here's my idea:

Four games a week, instead of three, with one of the games on a weekend (Saturday or Sunday). The season would start two weeks later than it has, but there's less chance of weather getting in the way if it works out properly. The schedule would be 4 1/2 weeks (the Coaches vs. Cancer series at Bruno Stadium would be a whole weekend of games the 1st weekend in May instead of three Fridays), with room for rescheduling before sectionals begin.

Now, what do you think?

And, while you're contemplating, consider this song, the Carpenters' "Rainy Days & Mondays":

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