Hello? Major League Baseball? Are you out there? Anywhere? Isn’t this the playoffs? Isn’t this the most exciting time of the year? Were you planning on actually playing any games? Soon?
This scheduling is driving me crazy. Why do the playoff series need so many days off? (I mean, I know why…but why does that get to be a reason?) It seems like last season since there’s been a game on. And, I could cut the league a little slack if all the series were sweeps, and they had two or three days where there might have been games. But, one series went four games, and ended Monday! Even the series that went five games ended on Tuesday night. Why aren’t there any games yet? As a side note, how bummed must MLB be that the only game five was between Tampa and Texas? Were more people in Tampa watching the situation on the mound between Lee and Price, or watching The Situation get eliminated from Dancing With the Stars?
So, what’s the reason for the snooze fest at the most exciting time of the year? TV. It’s always TV. But, it’s not really TV. It’s greed showing itself through TV. It’s laziness showing itself through TV. It’s lack of confidence showing itself through TV. It’s lack of patience showing itself through TV.
Why is it greed? The money, obviously. Television broadcasters give MLB a lot of money. They get their money from advertisers. Advertisers pay more money if more people watch. So, TV tells MLB to only play games when people are watching TV. And, only play one game at a time, so as not to divert viewers. So, that’s what baseball does. Sure they could tell television that they’re scheduling the games when they make sense, and not when it’s better for TV. But, they might lose money. So, we see series starting on the weekends. It makes for better TV. The lack of confidence shows itself by scheduling games when people are already watching TV. They assume nobody will turn on a TV with the express purpose of watching a baseball game. So, they don’t make them. They assume that the only people who watch baseball games happen to be flipping through the channels and stumble upon a game. The lack of patience? If they just scheduled games for when it made the product better, they’d grow fans. How does a ten-year old become a fan if during the most exciting time, he has to wait forever for a game? Make the product better, and you’d gain fans. More fans, means more people turning on a TV just to watch a baseball game, and the circle goes on from there. But, that takes time. Baseball isn’t that patient. Do you think Sunday afternoons were a hotbed of television activity before the NFL? Nope. But, they played them then. They grew their fan base. Now, everyone tunes in just to watch NFL games. It works, if you give it a chance.
Basically, Game 1 of the ALCS should have been Wednesday. I’d allow Thursday, since the home park wasn’t decided until Tuesday night. But, really, there should have been fewer off days in the ALDS, which would have allowed a Wednesday start. But, Friday? And the NLCS not until Saturday? They can’t both be Friday? Or Thursday? It’s crazy. Play the playoffs like the regular season. Every other sport does it. Why can’t baseball?