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What is a Doubleheader in Baseball?

What is a doubleheader in baseball

For some, catching a nine-inning baseball game either in person or on TV is magical. Baseball, for some fans, brings a sense of calm and nostalgia to their everyday life. So you might be asking if there are double games that take place during a season between two teams on the same day? That my friend is a doubleheader, and this post below will explain what this phrase means in greater detail. Enjoy!

 

What Does a Doubleheader Game Mean in Baseball?

A doubleheader in baseball is when the same two teams play two games each other on the same day. Traditionally, doubleheaders would be two nine inning games, but in 2021 they are seven.

 

Why are there only seven innings in an MLB Doubleheader in 2021?

With COVID-19 impacting the 2020 and 2021 MLB season, the MLB players association and the league made new rules to protect players via doubleheaders. One way to limit unnecessary time on the field with the pandemic was introducing two 7-inning games. Initially, doubleheader games traditionally are two nine-inning games, but now it’s been reduced by two innings.

 

Seven-inning games via a doubleheader are also the case for College and Minor League Baseball.

 

What is the Longest Doubleheader Game in Baseball History?

The longest doubleheader game in baseball as of 2021 took place in 1964 with Giants against the Mets. There were 32 innings played, which is crazy since the first game was a traditional nine-inning game. Game two lasted over seven hours, which came out to a total of nine hours and fifty-two minutes of baseball.

 

What Teams Have Played the Most Doubleheader Games as of 2021?

 

  • Boston Red Sox (41)
  • New York Mets (40)
  • Baltimore Orioles (37)
  • New York Yankees (35)
  • Philadelphia Phillies (34)
  • Chicago White Sox (33)
  • Detroit Tigers (33)

 

Why are there Doubleheaders in Baseball?

Doubleheaders in present-day Major League Baseball are for regular-season games either rained out or canceled via COVID-19. According to USA Today, there were 45 games postponed due to COVID-19. Due to COVID-19, 12% of the canceled games moved into a doubleheader format to allow the season to finish on time.

 

Doubleheader Rules

While seven-inning doubleheaders are the new rules in the land in 2020 and 2021, there are other rules to know. The first rule is that if the first game goes into extra innings, the second game can’t start until the first event’s conclusion via 30-minutes after the last pitch. To help speed up extra-inning games in 2021, MLB now adds a runner at second base to promote runs.

 

Another rule within the doubleheader is that the same two teams are only allowed to play against each other. For example, the St. Louis Cardinals can’t play game one against the Colorado Rockies and then play game two against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Both games need to be against the same opponent.

 

Finally, all players are eligible to play both games via the doubleheader, but most teams choose to mix and match their lineup. Some organizations might take out a player during game 1 to rest before game two, while other teams sit one player to start game two. The primary player that won’t play in game two is the starting pitcher of game 1.

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What is The Home-and-Home Doubleheader?

A home-and-home doubleheader occurs when both teams play one home game at their respective part on the same day. For example, the first game will take place at one ballpark, while the second game will take place at the visiting team’s park. This type of doubleheader is rare, but the New York Yankees and New York Mets have done this a few times since interleague play took place. 

 

Since the Yankees play in the Bronx and the Mets play in Queens, you don’t have much distance between both parks. By scheduling this type of doubleheader, you give an exciting twist for players and fans. The two venues (Yankee Stadium and Citi Field) are only 10 miles apart, so it’s easy to have this home-and-home event. However, 2020 made it weird when the Yankees were the away team at Yankee Stadium during the home-and-home doubleheader. 

 

History of Double Header Baseball

Back in the day, you would find plenty of doubleheader baseball games during the regular season between teams. The original doubleheader would consist of the same two teams playing two games at the same venue in front of the same fans. Twin-bill doubleheaders’ idea was a way to attract fans to the stands, mainly when the home team played a not very good team.

 

Why are There Less Doubleheaders in Today’s Age?

The simple reason why there aren’t as many doubleheaders during the regular season comes down to money. According to Statista, baseball drove 10 billion dollars in 2019. If you clicked on that link from Statista, you would see that the worth of baseball continues growing every season. To maximize how much teams can make, MLB continues to try the one game at a time method during spring training, the regular season, and playoff postseason.

 

Conclusion

Traditional Double Header games are no longer present in Major League Baseball. While teams would use the doubleheader to get fans in the stands in the past, today, baseball makes too much money not to space out the season. The doubleheader is a backup if a game is canceled due to rain or due to COVID-19.

 

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