Putting the Pieces Together

This is one of those days when you just don’t really know what to do with yourself. There are no baseball games being played at the Major League level. The match-up has been set for the World Series and now you are in a waiting game watching the clock wondering when game time is ever going to begin. For the fans of the twenty-eight teams who didn’t make the World Series it is a time to wonder about what could have been had your team been able to put the pieces together to make a run like the Boston Red Sox and the Colorado Rockies. Sometimes baseball is like a big puzzle made up of literally thousands of pieces and depending on how they are put together they can make a picture that looks like the front of the puzzle box or they can be a menagerie of ill-fitting parts that looks like the floor of a truck stop men’s room. This of course was not a mental image I wanted to dwell on today so I tried to put it out of my mind.

I have been in a state of mourning ever since the Diamondbacks lost their last game and I realized that I had not looked at either the Diamondbacks web site nor MLB.com. At first I just wanted to avoid yet another story or quote from the “great Troy Tulowitzki”. I knew I needed to get over that though so I opened a browser window and began to surf. I thought I remembered the Diamondbacks announcing the preliminary 2008 schedule. Since it is never too early to begin thinking about next season I thought I would pull up the schedule and at least see what dates the Diamondbacks had home games next season. That is the interesting part of the preliminary schedules that are released at this time of year. Team will only tell you half of the equation. They will tell you tentatively which dates your favorite team will be playing their home games but they won’t tell you about the away games. I’m not really sure why they do that. I am pretty confident that the teams are given their whole schedule but they all seem to choose to only reveal have of the results. The other thing of note is that Major League Baseball provides the teams a preliminary schedule for them to review and if there are problems to work with MLB to try and resolve the discrepancies. That means that there could be changes to the schedule as all 30 teams send in recommendations for modifications to the dates and opponents. This will usually go on for several weeks before a finalized schedule will be announced. In the meantime fans are left wanting for information. For me it becomes sort of a mystery book. I will go to each team’s web site and try and gather as much information as I can to see if I can piece together what the schedule currently looks like and where it may change. It also gives me a preliminary idea of when I might need to request vacation days for next year to go to an away series or an afternoon game.

I started off going to the Arizona Diamondbacks web site. I figured since I was most interested in the Diamondbacks that would be a great place to start. If they had posted their home schedule then I would have 81 dates to begin with. I would then just have to fill in the blanks for the away series. The interesting thing about the team sites at Major League Baseball is that they are just different enough to be frustrating. Every team has placed their tentative schedule in a little different place and in a different format. The Diamondbacks for example have already entered their schedule on the schedule page. The dates and opponents were posted in a September 20 press release from the team. I printed that out to have a calendar format where I could enter the away dates. Sequentially I went to each team’s web site looking for their 2008 tentative schedule. It was kind of like playing a game of Where’s Waldo while blindfolded. I had mistakenly thought that it was going to be a fairly easy activity for a Monday. Instead I spent a couple of hours just trying to find each team’s schedule. There are still four National League Teams who have not announced their schedule. As of October 22 the New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies, St. Louis Cardinals, and Washington Nationals all have chosen not to post their schedule. For each of those teams I sent an email requesting a schedule. Only St. Louis responded by stating that their schedule would not be available until the first half of November. First half of November? I could build a schedule by hand in that amount of time.

I collected the schedules for each of the other National League teams and slowly began to fill in the dates. I was making pretty good headway and was starting to feel a sense of satisfaction of being able to overcome the obstacles of Major League Baseball and have a complete schedule. But that happy feeling shortly vanished when I realized that teams had chosen different iteration dates to post to their web sites. For the first time that I can remember there were some major changes made to the schedule. For example, the September 20 version of the schedule has the All-Star game scheduled for July 8 while the October 18 version of the schedule has the All-Star game being played a week later on July 15. At the end of the first pass I had identified discrepancies in the Diamondbacks home opener where the Dodgers listed a 3 game series while the Diamondbacks listed a 2-game series. Both the San Francisco Giants and the Arizona Diamondbacks show the St. Louis Cardinals in town for a 4 game series in April. Houston shows they are coming to Chase Field April 28-30 while Arizona shows it is hosting Colorado on April 29-30. In June Colorado thinks they are at Chase Field for a game on June 2 while the Brewers are expecting Arizona to be at Miller Park that night. It looks like this is going to be more than a one-day mystery. Right now the pieces to my puzzle are not fitting together very well. It will all work out, it’s just going to take some more sleuthing and a little bit of patience. That’s ok, I have 114 days until pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training so there’s still a little time.

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