Go Angels

One half of the World Series is set as the Phillies will return to the Fall Classic to defend their title against either the Yankees or the Angels. The ALCS could wrap up tonight, with the Yankees holding a 3-1 advantage and looking in every way to be the far superior team at the moment.

But I’m rooting for the Angels tonight, because I like baseball, and I don’t want to have to wait a week to watch another game. Thanks to the scheduling of the World Series around the preferences of Fox television executives, the World Series doesn’t begin until next Wednesday. A Yankee victory tonight means a five day stretch from when both LCS’ end to when the World Series begins.

That’s lame. By setting the LCS schedules to ensure that as many of the games as possible begin at 8 PM Eastern, the playoffs have been stretched out to a degree bordering on tedious. Did we really need a 10 day schedule to play the league championship series? Do we need a minimum two day buffer between the end of the ALCS and the start of the World Series?

The only way we weren’t having a significant baseball lull at the end of October was if the ALCS went seven games. Even if it went six and the NLCS went the distance, we were still going to have three days off before the World Series started. Did MLB really think that re-creating the all-star break in October was a good idea?

I know that baseball is a business, but at some point, shouldn’t someone realize that beginning the Fall Classic on October 28th isn’t a very good idea? Especially with an expected New York-Philadelphia series, playing half of the games in November doesn’t seem like a very good plan.

I realize I’m tilting at windmills here, and that the business of selling advertisements has surpassed the best interest of the fans, so all we can really do is root for the Angels or prepare for a very boring five days.



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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.


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Adam
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Adam
6 years 10 months ago

Fuck the Angels.

Joe R
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Joe R
6 years 10 months ago

Insightful post.

gsquared
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gsquared
6 years 10 months ago

Well, at least they’re not at the NBA two-month playoff stage…..yet.

Steve
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Steve
6 years 10 months ago

it is absurd that the WS will stretch into November.

why did the season start so late? because of the WBC?

Tom B
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Tom B
6 years 10 months ago

yes, the same reason the playoffs went into november the last time.

Steve
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Steve
6 years 10 months ago

the last WBC was in 2006. the WS ended on October 27th in 2006.

the last time the baseball went into November was because of 9/11….

Tom B
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Tom B
6 years 10 months ago

oh right… well, back to blaming FOX then :)

Nick
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Nick
6 years 10 months ago

I thought you were rooting for the Angels because the Yankees bought their team?

Tom B
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Tom B
6 years 10 months ago

i thought this site attracted intelligent people.

Nick
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Nick
6 years 10 months ago

And I thought it attracted people who actually read what the articles say. You might wanna go back and read Dave’s words after the Yankees signed Teixiera. I believe the exact quote was, “Go Rays and Red Sox.”

Teej
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Teej
6 years 10 months ago

All teams “buy their team.”

Xavier
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Xavier
6 years 10 months ago

I believe the Pirates rented theirs from a homeless drifter in exchange for an old screwdriver and a handle of rotgut vodka.

Prevailing wisdom suggests they got the worse end.

Matt L
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Matt L
6 years 10 months ago

A homeless drifter could better be classified as a hobo, right?

I heard he was able to later trade the screwdriver for a Scott Baio locket.

nate
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nate
6 years 10 months ago

I am finding myself uninterested in the mlb playoffs, and more interested in the baseball off season. I think it is related to the amount of off days.
Just more exciting following who will be the tigers LF, or if halladay will be traded, or what is happening with Milton Bradley.
At some point, the cost of making a mockery of the competitive nature of the sport is higher than the TV advertising dollars.

neuter_your_dogma
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neuter_your_dogma
6 years 10 months ago

“the business of selling advertisements has surpassed the best interest of the fans.” IMO, selling advertising is in the best interest of the fans, as it subsidizes many costs, some of which would ultimately be laid at the lap of fans to pay if networks and advertisers didn’t pay for them. Or even worse, a poorer broadcasted product as such costs would not be incurred.

When I can’t score a ticket, I happen to enjoy watching baseball for minimal cost, broadcast via expensive technologies and crews. So thank you Budweiser and Fox.

Nestor Chylak
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Nestor Chylak
6 years 10 months ago

I’d rather watch baseball on a hand-held home camcorder with no sound than watch it on Fox.

Tom B
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Tom B
6 years 10 months ago

so buy a surround sound system and turn off the center channel. problem solved.

neuter_your_dogma
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neuter_your_dogma
6 years 10 months ago

So I take it you won’t be watching?

Jeremiah
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Jeremiah
6 years 10 months ago

I’m not so sure about that. Teams are going to price tickets to sell the greatest number possible. If they didn’t have advertising revenue, they’d just have less money to pay the players; contracts would decrease. At some point, people that weren’t already interested in baseball would stop paying attention, leaving it for the rest of us who actually care. I think this would be better all the way around.

Kevin S.
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Kevin S.
6 years 10 months ago

No, they’re going to price tickets to maximize their profit. Getting 40,000 people to pay, on average, $70 a ticket is going to be more profitable than getting 50,000 to pay an average of $50 perk ticket.

neuter_your_dogma
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neuter_your_dogma
6 years 10 months ago

Less money to pay players = top athletes making a living at other sports. Also, loss of product exposure = erosion of fan base = death of top flight professional baseball. The remaining few, like yourself, who “actually care” will be watching the equivalent of American Legion ball at your local high school field.

JoeIQ
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6 years 10 months ago

Amen!!!!!!!!

I don’t think the Angels are doing too bad. If Chone Abreu pulled off the double steal in extra innings of game 2 (or maybe 3) the series would be 2-2 right now.

Even 5 years ago the playoffs weren’t this bad.

Steve
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Steve
6 years 10 months ago

“game 2 (or maybe 3)”

this is kindof an important detail, don’t you think?

Steve
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Steve
6 years 10 months ago

ignore me, i get what you are saying now. you wanted Figgins and Abreu to steal in the 11th inning of game 2, instead Hunter hit into a DP.

Tom B
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Tom B
6 years 10 months ago

i think you are confusing the real reason that the playoff schedule is so ridiculous this year. it’s fox. it’s entirely fox.

they requested that the world series start on a wednesday, mlb bent over and said “OK SURE!” and now we have 5 extra off days in the playoffs.

if 8pm start times and advertising dollars were their concern than yankees/angels wouldn’t be played at 1pm PST…

Nestor Chylak
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Nestor Chylak
6 years 10 months ago

I think you mean “then.”

Tom B
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Tom B
6 years 10 months ago

thanks grammar nazi. get a job.

BFR
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BFR
6 years 10 months ago

Whatever Fox and the other networks pay MLB for broadcast rights isn’t enough for what they are doing to the game. When I was a kid playoff games happened on a regular interval, and during the summer we frequently got to see two different games during the day on Saturday. On top of that, there was a relatively even spread of which teams were broadcast.

Now, it’s just crap. We get one national broadcast on Saturdays and since they only allow BOS or NYY to be shown, they’ve effectively killed Saturday day baseball (because of the exclusivity agreement).

20 years from now, when no one goes to games or watches the broadcasts anymore, this will be why.

Kevin S.
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Kevin S.
6 years 10 months ago

You say this in spite of the evidence that baseball’s popularity this decade has been at an all-time peak. Would you like me to get off your lawn, sir?

diderot
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diderot
6 years 10 months ago

Kevin,
I too am very happy with the growing attendance for baseball. But I still believe BFR’s comment is well taken. This situation really is not designed to build popularity over the long haul.

Tom B
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Tom B
6 years 10 months ago

fox saturday baseball is 3 games… you live in a market that plays the east coast games. i don’t see how this was ever any better since no teams were ever nationally broadcast on saturdays before fox…

SMS_Mike
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6 years 10 months ago

Tom, I would dispute that.

– Memory indicates when NBC carried the game of the week it was nationally broadcast. I can recall watching Jack Morris pitch in Detroit on more than one occasion. Also, there were times when NBC ran two games on a Saturday, although it was rare.
– I live on the West Coast, and the only time I get the ‘national broadcast’ (defined as the game worked by Buck/McCarver) is when the Yankees/Red Sox/Mets/Cubs are involved or playing each other. I’ve seen enough pu-pu platter games involving lousy Saturday Padre/Giant/Dodger/D-Back (and occasional good Angel) teams over the past 10 years to know.

The Fox Saturday games (both who’s playing and who’s broadcasting) are so bad I rarely watch them anymore. And that includes the rare times St Louis is shown out here.

Jeremiah
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Jeremiah
6 years 10 months ago

I would be willing to bet that the players aren’t too happy about this either. In fact, you could probably make an argument that the team whose previous series lasted the longest has an advantage. Baseball is played almost every day from the middle of March until the end of September, and then all of the sudden there are huge breaks and off time. For hitters especially, where timing is extremely important, this schedule is a detriment.

diderot
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diderot
6 years 10 months ago

This is a good issue…but I disagree 100%.

Isn’t it interesting that you are not hearing the players complain that it’s too cold to get a grip on their breaking ball…or it hurts too much to hit one off the hands? And where is the ever-whiny union moaning about how long the season is being extended…that the layoff hurts performance…and the nasty elements add to the risk of injury? Nothing.

Don’t get me wrong. While owners will be owners (and I believe their luxury suites are heated), and while I defend Selig on a lot of points, on this one they all stand guilty of putting the interests of their wallets in front of the interests of the fans. Starting games after 8p on the east coast is eventually self-defeating. Is that how you create the next generation of baseball fans? Or do they only care about those legally able to purchase all that bad Budweiser beer today?

But don’t let the players off the hook. They take home between 50% and 60% of all team revenues. And against that they have zero expense. The players aren’t sobbing; they’re laughing all the way to the bank.

BFR
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BFR
6 years 10 months ago

For Kevin S – this is what I mean:

“Starting games after 8p on the east coast is eventually self-defeating. Is that how you create the next generation of baseball fans? Or do they only care about those legally able to purchase all that bad Budweiser beer today?”

MLB is borrowing against the future to fund itself today. There’s no way you can build a fanbase for 2029 by refusing to broadcast small market teams nationally while starting marquee events (the World Series) so late that no kids east of the Pacific can see the late innings.

Kevin S.
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Kevin S.
6 years 10 months ago

But again, I don’t think that’s true. We’ve had 8 PM ET start times for the better part of fifteen years. My baseball awareness coincides with the wild-card era. It wasn’t the World Series that hooked me, it was a combination of feeding off of my father’s love for the game and the draw over the course of a six month season, during which I would watch or listen the vast majority of the Yankees’ 162 games, plus many national broadcasts. The fact that I couldn’t always watch my team finish out their World Series games did nothing to dissuade my fandom, and while I may be personally biased, I don’t think the inability to watch the end of a handful of games would ruin the sport for everybody. While the World Series is baseball’s crowning achievement, there’s just so much more to the game than it. If aliens came tomorrow and stole the World Series, the game would be hurt, but I think it would still survive. If it could survive without the World Series entirely, it can survive without some young children watching it.

Rob in CT
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Rob in CT
6 years 10 months ago

I agree the random off-days are an annoyance. It messes up my experience as a fan, and I think it messes with the game itself (it helps stars’n’scrubs pitching staffs and punishes solid, deep but unspectacular ones).

That said, go Yankees! Finish them.

BFR
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BFR
6 years 10 months ago

@Kevin S.

Can’t reply to your posts directly…I don’t think you can survey children for their interest levels but I think that there is some evidence that baseball is getting a decreasing share from younger viewers.

A quick google search broght me:
http://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/article/119720 (MLB)
http://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/article/106148 (NFL)

I’m struggling a little bit with these results because the format isn’t that clear to me but in looking at the index scores, it looks to me that young fans are overrepresented for the NFL and underrepresented for MLB.

Gabriel
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Gabriel
6 years 10 months ago

As with many businesses these days, short-term profits rise above long-term interests. So, getting several million extra dollars in one contract is more important than have a larger number of fans over the long-term. This is reflected in how the schedule is stretched, the starting time of games, the lack of day games (particularly on weekends), unaffordable tickets, fewer and fewer games on over-the-air tv (while that is a small portion of the overall population, they are much more likely to watch a ballgame because they have fewer alternatives) and numerous other things in baseball, as is true with lots of other businesses.

At one time, the commissioner’s job was to work in the “best interests of baseball”, but then Fay Vincent was fired and things changed. That is not to say that it was ever really the case anyway, but certainly it was a nice phrase. These days, I’ve given up on thinking that ownership might realize that if they want more fans in the future, they have to reach out to the fans today, instead of simply reaching out to the suits.

BFR
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BFR
6 years 10 months ago

“At one time, the commissioner’s job was to work in the “best interests of baseball”, but then Fay Vincent was fired and things changed. That is not to say that it was ever really the case anyway, but certainly it was a nice phrase.”

I do think they did a better job of balancing short/long term interests in the 80s and prior. It may be that the financial picture has changed and that’s what lead to these decisions or it could be that the current MLB management just isn’t insisting on brand control as strongly as they did in the past.

At any rate, I think Selig & the owners have made their bed and now they’re going to need to lie in it (for the next 20-30 years). Then, in addition to the RBI program we’ll have RBY (Reviving Baseball among Youths).

walkoffblast
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walkoffblast
6 years 10 months ago

By 2020 it will be into December the way they keep stretching it each year. It really is crazy to schedule the playoffs with so many breaks like this but then Minnesota-Detroit have to play there tiebreak game the night before an away game. Will someone please add some common sense back to the equation.

Kevin S.
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Kevin S.
6 years 10 months ago

Sure. Baseball should have reserved the dual-sport stadiums for the day after the regular season, just for this eventuality.

walkoffblast
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walkoffblast
6 years 10 months ago

I am talking about competitive balance vs tv contracts. With all the obvious dead time built into the playoff schedules this is not very hard but the money is what makes the decisions.

Shawn
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Shawn
6 years 10 months ago

YOU’RE ALL GAYS!

Shawn
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Shawn
6 years 10 months ago

If you cannot tell, I have adequacy issues and it is in my best interests to be neutered and not have children.

Jeff
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Jeff
6 years 10 months ago

In addition to rooting for the Angels this year we should be rooting in conjuction for the Twins and Rockies to meet in the World Series next year and see how many snowed out World Series games can set the playoff schedule somewhat closer to what it was in the past.

Joe R
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Joe R
6 years 10 months ago

Maybe one day MLB can be like the NHL and let all the mediocre, .500ish teams into the postseason, too.

I can’t wait for 6 week long postseasons and epic battles of the Blue Jays vs. the Astros in the World Series (the current versions).

Gilbert
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Gilbert
6 years 10 months ago

Not being one who has cable/satellite, every time a non-airwave network gets PO games (ESPN, TBS) I can only “watch” on the internet or go to a public sports eatery/drinkery.
The old format of 2 weekend games/travel day/3 weekday games/travel day/2 weekend games if necessary is a good WS format. However, with the best of 7 LCS I really don’t have a problem with 2 days before the WS starts. If you had a great LCS in 7 and it was drizzling the last day you want the umps to be able to postpone it rather than end it with a four-hour, five-inning interruptathon because the WS starts the next day or even 2 days later. Of course in that case you could also postpone the WS start, but besides one team’s travel arrangement and the other team’s changed travel (going home instead of to the WS city), it gives the lucky fans planning to root for their team on the road a chance to make or break travel arrangements.
As for the day skips during the LCS, I don’t really like it but I would rather have that than both leagues have the same travel day and one day with no games early on.
I agree that the late starts are a negative. Not living on the East Coast I don’t see why more people would watch 8-11 than 7-10, and I could live with missing part of the start (I didn’t like the delayed games they used to do) on the West Coast if the players (and umps) performed better at the regular time.

Steen
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Steen
6 years 10 months ago

Early November weather in the midwest, specifically Milwaukee, Minnesota, and Detroit could easily cause cancelations consistently. I imagine MLB would just stubbornly switch to a neutral ‘warm’ weather locale, instead of shortening the schedule. Hockey in June and now Baseball in November, fabulous.

Barack
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Barack
6 years 10 months ago

Milwaukee has a retractable dome, not a problem there. They also haven’t made it to a league championship series since 1982 :/

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