Playoff Baseball And TV A Dubious Pairing

Michael GwizdalaContributor IOctober 19, 2009

PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 18:  The Philly Fanatic performs as the Philadelphia Phillies defeat the Los Angeles Dodgers 11-0 in Game Three of the NLCS during the 2009 MLB Playoffs at Citizens Bank Park on October 18, 2009 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Playoff baseball and TV networks are great at least for advertisers.  Or are they?  Certainly this story has been written annually, about how games go on way past anyone's bed-time let alone kids for what is ultimately supposed to be a kids game.  This year however it has gone to a new level of being completely asinine.

Of course scheduling has never been a staple of MLB.  Because not knowing where they'll be playing the World Series any time after the All-Star game would create an epic "catastrophe." 

This post-season scheduling has gotten so loony that I don't even know how the networks or advertisers could even like it and they seem to be the one's dictating the show to MLB in the first place.

This year's ALCS with both teams sweeping should've started no later than last Wednesday.  And why not, after all that's the same day the World Series will be starting on.  Instead we get the first game of the NLCS on Thursday and again during the day on Friday in sunny Los Angeles even with the threat of awful conditions in New York.

Game One of the ALCS is played Friday night in New York and knowing at least three days out that it could be a stretch to get the game in, they couldn't bother to move the start time back even a half an hour.

Memo to the networks, we've been watching all year and we don't need a silly pre-game show to hear you listen to yourselves talk for 20-30 minutes, just play the darn game already.  The reason even games that don't go extra innings seem like they go on for five hours has to do with the five minute commercial blocks.  So if you're announcing the game and want to complain about the cold or the length of the game or that there's too many conferences on the mound or the batter doesn't get into the box quickly enough, talk to your bosses about the insane amount of time devoted to commercials. 

Speaking of which how do you get anyone to see them (commercials) when people are either half asleep or have essentially tuned them out after their redundancy has lost all meaning after four to five hours on a loop?  And more importantly how does anyone benefit from having Game Three of the ALCS in Los Angeles start at 4:00PM in the nice weather once again, while Game Four of the NLCS is at night in chilly Philly?

Plus for once the West Coast viewer actually gets the shaft unless they play hooky they're lucky to see the end of ALCS Game Three and people on the East Coast are likely missing half the game as well.  So who are you in effect selling to?  Or are you banking on the 9.8% who don't have jobs to watch and not buy your products with the money they don't have to spend?

Of course this could've been averted as well if at least one of the series started earlier, because both weekend days should've had both series going.  And might I add that there was no excuse on a traditionally poor ratings night (Saturday) that Game Two of the ALCS in New York needed to start at 8:00PM.  It's not like Sunday where you'd be going up against the NFL, which if Saturday got rained out you'd be willing to do that anyhow by moving Saturday night's game to Sunday afternoon at 4:00PM.  Knowing it was going to be miserable and yet they couldn't even move the start time of the Saturday game when more people are home during the day to begin with than oh say Monday?

As Joel Sherman noted in the New York Post, typically in a baseball season each team gets 19 scheduled off days.  Last year in the playoffs the Philadelphia Phillies had 15. 

And might I also add that those of us who work for local FOX affiliates who do a newscast late after the ball-game ends, we don't need to sit around waiting anymore for a 20 minute wrap of a game that just went on for four to five hours.  I don't mind the interviews with the players or managers but seriously to hear Joe Buck and Tim McCarver or whomever prattle on for 15-20 more minutes is just un-necessary after watching and seeing everything unfold to that point after that amount of time.  But I guess one has to take solace that it's not Chip Caray.

That is unless of course you fell asleep in the sixth inning and you're seeing color bars or the sun come up.