For the first time in 14 years, there will be no October baseball played in New York City.
It has been a foregone conclusion for some time now that the Yankees were going to be eliminated from contention. However, the second straight September debacle by the New York Mets solidified New York City's absence from the Major League Baseball Playoffs.
What does this mean for the MLB and its ratings? Can Los Angeles and Chicago, each possibly having two teams each in the playoffs, make up for the lack of New York representation?
The second biggest media market in the United States, home to the historic Dodgers and the Angels of Anaheim.
The Lakers are the main team in LA, so the Dodgers and Angels are both out to prove that they can be championship contenders and actually bring another title back to "The City of Angels."
The National League Dodgers made it into the NL Playoffs by being the best team in an extremely weak division. With Joe Torre at the helm and the addition of Manny Ramirez, the Dodgers were able to fend off the Arizona Diamondbacks to claim a spot in October. The Dodgers will face the Chicago Cubs in the first round of the playoffs, with Chicago having home field advantage.
The Angels, on the other hand, have been the best team in the American League throughout the season. They also played in a very weak AL West, but continued to dominate opponents outside of the division as they took the season series from both the Yankees and the Red Sox.
The Angels will face the Boston Red Sox in the first round, as the Angels have home field for this series. If the Angels and Dodgers both win their respective pennants, the MLB would have its first ever "Freeway" World Series.
The third largest media market in the United States is very confident that their Cubs will finally make it back to and win the World Series after 100 years.
The White Sox, who recently won the Series in 2005, also call Chicago home.
The city is very mixed, with many who support the Bears and Bulls but then have their allegiances with the White Sox or Cubbies.
The North-Siders were dominant in 2008 and easily won home-field advantage throughout the NL portion of the playoffs. The Brewers and Cardinals chased the Cubbies all year in the NL Central, but the Cubs took care of business down the stretch.
Led by Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Zambrano, the Cubs look to be the class of the NL and are the favorites to win the 2008 pennant.
The White Sox, on the other hand, are still looking to win the AL Central over the Twins. They will take on the Twins in a one-game playoff at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago. If the White Sox win tonight, they will be crowned AL Central champs and head to Tampa to face the AL East champion Rays.
The White Sox have not been at all dominant and could be considered lucky to win the AL Central. They played in a fairly open division with competition from the Twins and the Cleveland Indians.
The White Sox are led by Carlos Quentin and Jim Thome. Depending on tonight's showdown with Minnesota, MLB could be in for its first ever "Crosstown Showdown."
By far the largest media market in the United States, the "Big Apple" is totally divided between teams among the city.
However, the Knicks, Yankees, Rangers, and Giants reign supreme in terms of fan base. With both the Yankees and Mets being out of the playoffs, MLB will lose an enormous amount of possible viewers.
The only way that New York fans will watch is when they are rooting against the hated Red Sox or Phillies.
MLB has gained a lot of viewership in LA and in Chicago, but has lost an almost equal amount in the Tri-State area (CT, NY, and NJ). Granted, in 2000 the Subway Series generated its highest ratings in this area alone. But the Yankees and Mets still generate a strong viewing audience outside of that area.
MLB can only hope that their divisional and league titles are played for in competitive fashion. They are praying for a strong match-up in the AL and NL Championship Series, in hopes that something will come up big in the World Series.
An Angels-Dodgers or White Sox-Cubs final would not generate the same ratings as the Yankees-Mets did.
What would be the worst possible match-up for ratings? Rays-Brewers? Red Sox-Phillies? This will all play out in the next few weeks.
For now, however, it is certain that the "City That Never Sleeps" will be dozing off during the first round of the MLB Playoffs!
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