Championship Series Bad for MLB

This is not a rant to poo-poo on the Detroit Tigers, Texas Rangers, Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals.  All four teams worked hard and deserve to be in their respective leagues’ championship series.  Hell, I’m sure that any of those teams would put on an entertaining World Series.

Just do not expect for me – and 90% of America – not to tune in.

I know you fans from small markets do not want to read this, but none of those teams remaining in the MLB playoffs can move the needle.  St. Louis comes the closest because of its baseball tradition and popularity.  And there is also this Albert Pujols fellow…

Detroit, while not a small market, will not move the needle.  What casual sports fan can name on person outside of pitching stud Justin Verlander on that team?

Same situation in Milwaukee.  You think many casual fans can name another player outside of sluggers Prince Fielder (who may not be back next year) and Ryan Braun?

As for Texas, forget about it.

MLB patsie commissioner Bud Selig has to be sweating bullets over how to market those four teams.  No New York Yankees, no Boston Red Sox (thank God), and no Philadelphia Phillies.  Oops!

What makes the playoffs in MLB great is also its Achilles heel.  The unpredictablity of the playoffs makes it exciting for baseball fans everywhere.  The teams with the best records do not always the World Series, meaning teams cannot simply buy a championship.  That also means that the popular favorites do not always make it, which makes for lackluster ratings.

Again, this is not a diss at the remaining teams in the playoffs.  That’s just the way it is.

Put it this way, how many people will be watching the championship series in BOTH leagues over Monday Night Football tonight?  I rest my case…

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8 Comments Add yours

  1. 48colorrainbow says:

    Isn’t the Dallas area a fairly big media market?

    1. klownboy says:

      Yeah, you wouldn’t know it because the Rangers are run almost like a small-market franchise…

  2. SamDaMan says:

    I’m pretty sure the last time two small market teams made the world series I heard the ratings were the best in like 5 years or something like that…pure heresay but I’d like to see some stats behind those remarks Scott.

    The bottomline here is that MLB is stubborn and refuses to back away from competing with football. Shorten the season, start in March as usual but finish in July or August before baseball become irrelevant. I like you Scott don’t even really make a legit effort to watch baseball even when my favorite team is in the playoffs. I’m too busy watching football or researching fantasy football stats to care about baseball.

  3. JAG says:

    Yep. That’s the problem the other sports struggle with. Football is National. Baseball and Basketball are local. A football fan in Denver will watch the Green Bay Packers. He will not watch the Milwaukee Bucks or Brewers. He only cares about the Rockies and Nuggets in the other sports. I guess because NFL gambling and fantasy football is so popular, people care about players and teams that they would otherwise have no interest in.

    That’s why the NBA has such trouble getting a new deal. In football, market size doesn’t kill ratings and revenue can be shared. In hoops, the big market teams carry the little guys on their backs. They’re tired of it. It’s a tough situation.

    One thing that needs to be done in baseball is shorten the game and have more action. Call the correct strike zone and stop squeezing the pitchers. Make the hitters swing the damn bat instead of taking pitches in an effort to tire the starter out. Those ten pitch at bats totally disrupt the flow of the game, especially when the hitter steps out of the box after each and every pitch.

    How do baseball and TV execs expect anyone to watch that unless it’s their hometown team?

  4. Alex says:

    @SamDaMan – Um, how can put this delicately – you’re insane!

    You can’t be serious about chopping 60 games off the schedule and starting the playoffs in August. All 30 teams would go bankrupt from the loss of revenue. The players union would have to accept 40% pay cuts across the board. Cities who are already hurting would lose tax revenue from ticket sales, hotels, restaurants, etc. It will never happen.

    However, your point about competing with football is valid. Again, I say the best way to do this is to offer a quicker paced, action oriented game. In addition to a larger strike zone, all of this gamesmanship with the pitcher stepping off the rubber and the batter stepping out of the box must end. 5-7 minute at bats are killing the game or at least making it unwatchable on TV. THROW THE DAMN PITCH. LET’S GO!

  5. Chris Loupé says:

    “That’s the way baseball go.” Let the Rangers and the Brewers make it to the World Series. An underappreciated large market team versus a legitimate small market team. Let two teams without household names, celebrity managers and genius GMs go to the World Series. It may not make a stir this year, but it could make better baseball for everyone later.

    No Yankees, Red Sox or Phillies in the big dance will send a signal to the other teams that we don’t need the YES Network, a high payroll, or Theo Epstien to get us to the World Series, we need good baseball sense. Imagine MLB being able to gleen great baseball stories from all of the teams in the playoffs in the coming years, instead of following the A-Rods and Big Papis and Cliff Lees of the world. Imagine stoking the dreams of the boy from the farm in Nebraska, or the boy from inner city America who would say “if [insert ordinary player’s name who came up through the farm system in order to make an impact on his team] can do it, so can I.” Imagine these two boys growing up to inspire other American boys to want to play baseball, and do it the right way.

    1. klownboy says:

      Yo Loupe,

      What you say may be true and make a lot of sense, but this is the sports biz my man. TV networks worry about the bottom line, i.e. the teams that move the needle pull the most viewers. The Yanks, Red Sox and Phillies can do that. Don’t think the Rangers, Brew Crew and Tigers can…

  6. JAG says:

    Klownboy and Loupe – You’re both correct. The ideal matchup is a David vs. Goliath scenario. A small market team who beat the odds going up against the mighty Yanks, Sox or Phillies. That’s the best of both worlds. Many of your sports movies have such an ending.

    Small market teams have to break through from time to time to convey that every team has a chance. It’s just tough on the ratings when two small market teams crash the party at the same time. Like Klownboy said, it’s a business and that needle needs to move.

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