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Sunday Night Baseball and Self Esteem


Saul Steinberg’s classic New Yorker cover.

Yesterday ESPN announced 11 games in their 2011 “Sunday Night Baseball” schedule, including all games through May. You can check the schedule out on Fanhouse.

Mariners fans have noticed that the Mariners aren’t on this list. Likewise frustrated are Angels fans and the entire AL Central.

On the other hand, the Phillies (two games in May), Yankees (two games against the Red Sox, plus one against the Rangers), Mets (two games), and Red Sox (two tilts with the Yankees, plus two more games) are pretty well represented.

Hang on… New York, Philadelphia, Boston… two are former US capitals… also, two are kinds of sushi rolls… also, they’re the three MLB cities geographically closest to Bristol, Connecticut, where ESPN is headquartered… also, Boston’s Secretary of State was named Philadelphia, and Philadelphia’s Secretary of State was named Boston… WAIT. This might sound crazy, but: could ESPN have an East Coast bias??!?

Ok, so ESPN favors certain East Coast teams. But I doubt it’s an East Coast bias so much as a money bias. Here’s another way of thinking about it: in my opinion, Sunday Night Baseball’s main value add is allowing people who moved away from where they grew up to see their hometown teams. From this (limited) perspective, should Sunday Night Baseball maybe focus on the cities that generate the most domestic emigrant fans? And who would ever move away from San Diego or Chicago? Those are great cities!

Maybe we could develop some kind of inverse Sunday Night Baseball/quality of life index. Just something to comfort the people who are hurt that ESPN is ignoring them. I worry about those people.