Professional baseball maintains a very busy regular season game schedule. To try to ease the burden on players, the MLB will shorten Spring Training by two days in 2018.
— theScore MLB (@theScoreMLB) January 23, 2017
The Associated Press is reporting that in 2018 Spring Training will be 38 days long as opposed to the normal 40. While that may not seem like a significant time cut, this issue has been of importance to the player’s union and fans alike. The Assistant General Counsel of the union Matt Nussbaum said that the main goal was to try to free up some more off-days during the regular season and that the two-day cutback may be as far as the league can go currently.
“We have heard for years and I’m sure we will continue to hear that spring training is too long, that guys are really ready to go well before opening day, but I think what the commissioner’s office would tell you is that there are big challenges for the clubs in substantially shortening spring training because they have various commitments to put on a certain number of games.”
Teams are normally scheduled to play 162 games in 183 days. Major League Baseball is trying to accommodate the athletes and their busy schedules as noted by MLB Chief Legal Officer Dan Halem.
“We fully recognize that our players play a very demanding schedule, and we’re always looking for ways to ease the burden on players while at the same time scheduling games at a convenient time for our fans to watch them.”
A recent study has found that athlete performance can be negatively impacted due to jet lag from a busy travel schedule. Perhaps spurred on by this, the league has also made some changes regarding travel time between games. According to the AP News article above, in 2018, travel time between games that exceeds 2 and 1/2 hours will require an earlier start time for the first game.