Cincinnati Reds copy Cleveland Indians with 6:40 start times

(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

After trying to mimic the Cleveland Indians in team construction, the Reds are now trying to copy them with a new start time.

The Cincinnati Reds are looking to increase attendance in April and September.  The front office talked about the success that the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies had in the past with earlier start times.  They are bad examples because of the impact of living in the Mountain Time Zone.

The Cleveland Indians tried this last season.  To think that FoxSports Ohio didn’t mention how the ratings worked out to the Reds is silly.  The ratings of the regional sports team and the attendance numbers drive local revenue.  The Reds want to challenge the Indians on the field and in the ratings .

April is also when both the Columbus Blue Jackets and Cleveland Cavaliers are playing regular season games.  A 6:40 start allows FSO show a Reds game backed immediately by the Jackets or Cavs on the west coast.  This is likely about TV and not about family access.

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What it really does is make 15 of 81 home games more difficult for working people to watch on TV.  Someone who gets off at a normal time will have trouble making it home and eating dinner before 6:40.  Every season becomes more about TV and less about the state of the game.

Instead of changing the length of games, the Cincinnati Reds are changing when the games start.

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The Reds are part of the problem with the game today.  Families go with a lower frequency because games last too long.  Solve that problem and MLB teams could start games at 7:30 again if they want.

This is more likely to cause confusion and ill will.  Nothing is worse for a fan than showing up thirty minutes late because of a strange start time.  7:10 took a little getting used to, but that was aided by several years of consistency.

Saturday games have been nightmares thanks to national TV for the past several years.  

The game start times are regularly changed after the start of the season.  Add this to a variable start time already on Saturdays and showing up at the right time can be difficult.

Next: The Reds can chill in the hot stove league

The good thing about the 6:40 start time is that it will help to mitigate cold weather in April and September.  April in particular can have cold rainy nights.  Maybe just making Monday through Thursday home games in April makes more sense than selecting fifteen games in two months.