If Baseball Were Played Once a Week


First, (obviously skewed and unrealistic) numbers.

If baseball were played once a week:

• Given the current months baseball is played, each team would play 26 games a season, for 780 games total.
• For Barry Bonds to hit a season-record 73 home runs, he would have to have averaged 2.8 home runs per game.
• For him to end his 22-season career with 762 home runs, he would have needed to average 1.33 dingers per every game played.
• If Barry Bonds wanted to maintain his career walk total of 2558 at his career rate of .86 BB/game, he would have had to play for 114 seasons.
• Miguel Tejada would need to play for 85 seasons to reach his career walk total (553) at his career walk rate (.25 BB/G).
• Rickey Henderson would have stolen five bases per game, for every game, to steal his record 130 in a single season.
• It would have taken 55.68 years for Henderson to break Lou Brocks record of 938 career stolen bases.
• Joe DiMaggio would have logged his 56th consecutive hit two full seasons and four weeks after he started it.
• Nolan Ryan would, given his career strikeout rate, have to pitch every game of every season until he was 50 years old to reach his record of 5714 strikeouts.
• Greg Maddux would have to pitch every game and post a 1.000 W-L% for over 13 straight seasons to log the 355 he has now.
• Cy Young would have had to do the same, except for over 19 straight seasons.
• A perfect season for a pitcher would peak at 26 wins. Eighty-seven pitchers in the history of baseball have had a 26-win season.
• The postseason would theoretically be four weeks long (wild card, LDS, LCS, WS), which means that David Freese would have had to have 12.5 total bases per game to match his postseason-leading total of 50.
• Barry Bonds would have had to walk 6.75 times a game to hit his record mark of 27 bases on balls in a postseason.
• The 1906 Chicago Cubs, holders of the best winning percentage in baseball history, would clock in at 19-20 wins that season.
• The best HR/PA rate in history was 2001 Barry Bonds at .110. At this rate, the highest HR rate possible in 26 games would be around 11.
• The best pitchers — the workhorses, the most durable pitchers in the game — would max out at 234 innings pitched.

Second, some questions:

If baseball were played once a week:

• What would the bullpen look like? One would assume it would be smaller since a team could rely on a starter with seven days rest. However, since there are only 26 games, there is a much higher value placed on winning every game. Would this lead to every situation being a high-leverage one? Would managers still have 13 pitchers and just swap them every inning? How long would games be if this happened? It seems like every game would go into extra innings.
• If baseball were played once a week, would Moneyball still have been written, and, if so, about what?
• Would base stealing disappear? Who would risk an out when there are only 702 of them in an entire season?
• Interleague would be dead, right? There’s not even enough games for every team to play someone in their OWN league.
• Would crowds be bigger? Would teams draw more if the fans could only see them once a week, and 13 times in total a season?
• What would we, as fans, do the whole week? What do football people do the whole week? I guess we’d just do that, right?

Football is weird, you guys.

David G. Temple is the Managing Editor of TechGraphs and a contributor to FanGraphs, NotGraphs and The Hardball Times. He hosts the award-eligible podcast Stealing Home. Dayn Perry once called him a "Bible Made of Lasers." Follow him on Twitter @davidgtemple.

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“Would base stealing disappear? Who would risk an out when there are only 702 of them in an entire season?”

But wouldn’t you assume that the ratio of runs to outs in a season would remain relatively constant? Or maybe not since teams would go to greater lengths to protect against runs, such as using relief pitchers every inning (perhaps).