The start of the NFL, NBA and NHL seasons. With other leagues modifying their schedule as well as the MLB making changes the seasons overlap quite a bit. Believe it or not there are people who like the NFL, NHL and yes even the NBA more than the MLB. I don't know who these people are but they do exist. Sometimes these people abandon baseball the moment pre-season starts in the NFL. Many of these people try to follow both. Sometimes these people are "lucky" and their baseball team is well out of the running before the regular season starts. You could argue, these other sports take away from revenue the MLB team could be getting if the fans where not distracted by other sports. This is a problem for the league and owners.
Some might say the games themselves hurt the players having to play so many games in the short time frame. If you are at the top of your game you are probably putting in a lot of work nearly daily. Batting cages, pen work, weight room, watching tape, etc.. You are probably doing this most days of your life not just during the season. What difference would lowering the number of games to 140 make for you? Realisticlly probably not much. You may even be greatful for a game on that day because it gives you a break for a few hours. Okay okay, players are able to spend more time with their families and such. I can totally understand that portion.
The most important reason of course is.. well it is cold in much of the country. You know what is worse than sitting in the stands freesing your butt off. Hitting a baseball with a bat the wrong way when it is 30F. If you've done it you know what i'm talking about.
With that said, I do agree the post season should be over by early October at the latest including any make up games baring something crazy like a natural disaster or something.
As it stands now, from April 1s through the end of September there are 183 days to play 162 games. In october there are up to 20 more games, not counting tie breakers of course.
There are a few things the league could do to shorten the season with out cutting games.
First shorten the all star break which has gotten over the crowded with silly events. Instead of a week shorten it to three days. Day one off day and maybe futures game. Day two the game, Day three the derby. Have the break on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday and instead of the Derby taking place at 8pm have it start at 1pm (Eastern of course). The reasoning here is that for the futures game, almost all are minor league prospects who follow a different schedule and gives your All-Stars a day off and for some it may involve travel time. Saturday the all star game.. easy to figure out. Sunday almost all the all-stars can return to their teams or take the day off.. what ever it is their day. A few will take part in the Derby. Only those ones might need an extra day provided by their team. Since the Derby is earlier they can travel pretty directly after the game. Sure it is a bit rough, but if it is too rough for you don't take part. However what ever time missed could be compensated through a "Rest day" rule that i'll come to later. This frees up a few of those 183 days for games. Only about 50-75 players take part in the all-star break the impact would be kept to a minimum since most players don't get to go.
Move the start of the season up one or two weeks league wide. Schedule most games in warmer climates for March/April, with inter league play this shouldn't' be TOO hard to do.. not all games would this work for though. Also doing some promo games in places like Mexico City, Caribbean, Europe, Japan, etc... would also be fun and help with this problem more.
Along with moving the season up. Allow teams to start spring training earlier. Allow teams to start spring on January 1 (or shortly there after) for players players with less than one year of service time, players doing injury rehab or otherwise normally unable to play. For that last bit i'm thinking of players like Kang who haven't been able to see live pitching but maybe able to play in the season, also players who are/were suspended but also should be able to play in the season just to keep in shape. After that MLB players report on February 1 and otherwise things stay the same until the start of the season in mid-March.
More double headers, fit two games in to one day. Every team has one or two double headers a month on a Saturday or Sunday followed by the 'normal' day off on Monday. Just one double header a month will save half a week of games.
Now, MLB baseball is not a rough and tough sport like football, hockey or even basketball. But even then people get sore and tired. ESPECIALLY Pitchers and Catchers. It is a long season and a lot of games. By cutting out the extra days for the break and the mandatory double headers players will get a little more tired. To combat this creating a 'Rest Day' rule. EVERY non-pitcher MUST be given a day off once every ten games. Starting pitchers cannot pitch more than once every five days. Days, not games. Relief pitchers follow the same as position players. Designated rest position players can enter the game in the 8th inning but can play no more than three innings. If it is an extra inning game and the player enters during or after the 11th inning they can play the rest of the game. Starting pitchers are unavailable to pitch until after the 12th inning in an extra inning game. If they pitch more than three innings they cannot pitch again for another 4 days. Designated rest relief pitchers are not eligible to enter a game until the 10th inning and allowed to pitch one inning. This rule will provide ALL players a mandated day off. No player will start more than 146 games in a season (baring the tie breaker). Once post season hits the "Rest Day" rule no longer applies.
Because of the rest day rule, the 25 man roster is expanded to 28. The extra three can be used how ever see fit but other wise follow the current 25 man rules.
Now clearly there are lot of cracks in my ideas that need filled, the MLBPA would never approve. But it would help move up the end of the season two weeks to a month