There really is eight days a week. Unfortunately for the Colorado Rockies it was a forgettable experience. The Boston Red Sox are the 2007 World Champions. Big deal. No one outside Boston cares.
This was one of the most disappointing, anti-climactic and borderline boring Series ever.
The real story was the Rockies incredible ride to get into the Series going 21-1. Who can forget the exciting extra inning playoff win over San Diego just to advance?
Yes, the Red Sox won. But they had a few advantages. More experience. Bigger payroll. And, having won the Series in 2004, exposure to the national spotlight. But the biggest advantage was the ludicrous eight – day layoff the Rockies had to endure before the start of the Series. They came out flat. Not only could they not hit with RISP, they could not hit period. Brad Hawpe gets the Geoff Jenkins award for having struck out 9 times in 13 at bats! The pitching was just as rusty. Both Jeff Francis and Josh Fogg got hammered. Rookie Ubaldo Jimenez was wild but still gave the team a chance and Aaron Cook started out well but eventually faded. The bullpen that was so good in the NLCS disappeared except for Jeremy Affeldt. Brian Fuentes was downright awful.
Would the results had been the same if this lengthy layoff did not occur? Of course it’s all conjecture but I would like to think that without the layoff, the Rox would have been more competitive and showed at least a glimpse of their incredible streak.
Which brings me to the point of this blog. Once again our beloved game was held captive to the almighty media. It’s bad enough that fans fork out hundreds of dollars to sit in unbaseball like weather until the wee hours of the morning but now a team, a very hot team with extraordinary momentum sat around for eight days to accommodate the TV schedule. I know that this is the way things operate in today’s world of sports but this was unfair to the team and to the fans.
Would the Rockies have won without this hiatus? I doubt it, but I would like to think that they would’ve at least been more competitive.
The long baseball season begins in February with spring training. It’s a grueling span of over eight months. For these Rockies to have it end because of eight days was a shame.
I’m about to settle in and watch Game 4 of this year’s World Series. I lit up the fireplace and turned up the thermostat; settled in my easy chair with a sweater.
Is this anyway to watch baseball?
I see the pitifully looking fans all wrapped up in gear more suitable for Lambeau field. I look in the dugouts and see players with those funny looking head warmers, hooded sweatshirts and drinking hot chocolate instead of Gatorade.
Is this any environment to play baseball?
The so-called summer game stretches so long now that there are Christmas decorations in the stores before the World Series ends.
There are, as usual, quite logical solutions to this. Answers that will never see the light of day because all of them require some sacrifice at the altar of revenue.
One, shorten the season.
Two, shorten the playoffs
Three play the post season during the day.
But any term with the words shorten and day raises red flags.
No one in the game will ever consider anything that takes away revenue.
But look closely and these proposals are not as far-fetched as they seem.
Adopt any of them and we can end the season when the weather is still reasonably playable.
Shorten the Season
Lets reduce the regular season to 154 games as it was before the first expansion took place. This would mean four less home games per team per year. Not as big of a revenue hit as it might appear. I mean, who wants to see the Pirates, Brewers, Devil Rays and Royals in September anyway unless they were giving away free stuff – or letting us slugs sit in the primo seats at a reduced price for enduring another year of losing. It must cost the Royals more to keep the park open during September anyway. As for the lost revenue from 4 games – how much of a loss would this be? Perhaps the Mets, Red Sox, Yankees, Cardinals, Cubs and Angels wouldn’t be able to sign that one hitter lefty situational reliever.
Another idea would be to schedule Saturday day/night doubleheaders. That shortens the days but not the games played. Those who want to see both games get a discount on the seat…buy a two game package. Saturdays are best because all teams play at both times of the day during the season. That’s 8 doubleheaders a year – plus any make ups because of rainouts. That would please the fans, shorten the season but would never get past the players union.
Shorten the Playoffs
There are two ways to do this. The first is to make the wild card and league championship series the best of five. This reduces the possible maximum amount of games played from 19 to 17 and saves a few precious days. But the most radical idea is to have a best of three wild card series all at the non-wild card team’s home. This saves days and travel. Now before someone complains that it cheats the fans of the wild card teams, remember the playoff model of the NFL where a wild card never plays a home first round playoff game.
Wild card teams are fortunate to be there and the home field advantage is frankly overrated. I’m not proposing eliminating it because the wild card format keeps the game exciting in September, as we saw in the NL Central and West and the American League Central this year.
Play Games During the Day
The usual howls of protest whenever this is mentioned are that people, especially kids would be unable to see the games during the day. But is having them out there into the wee hours of the morning during a school night any better?
How terrible. I remember as a kid having my earpiece running from the hidden transistor radio in the desk. While Sr. Maria had the class reciting the prepositions. I was listening to Bob Gibson mowing down the Yankees. We all ran home to see if we would be lucky enough to catch at least a few innings on TV. I also remember getting the "deciding game flu" in order to stay home and watch (until my mother finally wised up to it).
Today, with all of the technology available, it would not be that distressing. Just set the DVR and the game can be watched before dinner.
These ideas make too much sense but would rapidly be engulfed in flames in the Temple of Revenue. You see money and network TV take precedence over common sense and the fans who shill out more than a hundred bucks to freeze or to wait out yet another weather delay or postponement,
Baseball is meant to be played in warmer weather. Too watch this is almost painful. And takes much of the excitement out of it. There’s a break in the action, my hot apple cider should just about be ready.
I don’t want to be calling Albert Pujols Mr. November but it is getting closer and closer each year.