The East Coast-West Coast debate

Elliott SmithCorrespondent IJuly 2, 2009

SHEFFIELD, UNITED KINGDOM - MAY 01:  A fan falls a sleep during a Semi Final match at the Betfred Snooker World Championships, at the Crucible Theatre on May 1, 2009, in Sheffield, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)

I’m about to embark on a 10-day trip back home to Virginia, which means keeping up with the Seattle Mariners will be as difficult as if they were playing on Mars. No ESPN highlights, no box scores in the paper, no asking anyone about last night’s game, no nothing.

Sure, there’s the Internet for all that information, but I truly believe my parents’ computer is powered by a small rodent, making easy access to late-game action almost impossible, and me mostly out of the loop for one of the most important stretches of the season.

Which brings me to the never-ending debate between sports fans: where is better for watching and following sports—the East Coast or the West Coast?

For me, nothing beats the West Coast, especially during football season. You get to wake up at 9:30, make some last-minute fantasy changes, and get ready to watch the games at 10 a.m. without having to suffer through three or four hours of pregame inanity.

The second game of the doubleheader comes on at 1 p.m. and by the time that’s over, you’ve still got some time to make your significant other happy or do something else productive.

It’s great for Monday Night Football as well. Growing up on the East Coast, I don’t think I ever made it through a full MNF contest— it was just too late to stay up without being wrecked the next day. I felt as if I really accomplished something when I made it through a full game, but that wasn’t until I was in college in Chicago.

Even now, I don’t think I could (or would want to) stay up until midnight watching a game that didn’t involve my team, yet die-hard East Coasters do this every week.

Out West, it’s almost like we get two games for one, especially if you have one of the sports packages, or one of the cable networks is showing a game - you can catch the “early” game at 4 p.m. and then watch “your” game at 7 p.m. It doesn’t really work the other way around.

I don’t know too many folks back East who are staying up to watch a random West Coast game—heck it’s difficult for those folks to follow their teams when they head out here.

Back when I was covering the Mariners, my East Coast newspaper buddies would come out here and be forced to write incomplete game stories or strange features in lieu of the game (reason No. 4,080 why the newspaper biz is becoming obsolete) because their deadlines would pass in the fourth inning, so it cuts both ways.

East Coast folks have a couple of advantages: during the NBA and NHL playoffs, trying to catch a game that starts at 4 p.m. Pacific is pretty much impossible if you have a job (I found myself missing an entire period of the Devils’ playoff games), and we’re always screwed if something is played overseas (Wimbledon finals at 6 a.m. anyone?).

College coaches on the Left Coast have been railing for years against the media bias against Western teams, and while there is some merit (you don’t see as many games/highlights from out here, no do I believe that coaches or their lackeys stay up to watch late games) to that argument, the cream usually rises to the top, and aside from USC, there hasn’t been a team worth staying up late for anyway, unless you’re really into Utah.

So what do you think? East or West? Or should we all just move to Chicago?