Monday, October 14, 2019

MLB Playoffs: Day Eleven

Well, they played the best baseball game of the year last night in Houston.  The two best teams in baseball, the Astros and Yankees, squared off in a game that Houston had to win to avoid going down two-nil with the next three games in New York.  Big Stars did Big Star things -- Justin Verlander pitched very well for almost seven innings, but Aaron Judge tagged him for a two-run homer.  There were controversial plays and questionable managerial decisions.  And the whole thing ended on a dramatic, game-ending, walk-off home run by the Astros' Carlos Correa -- who is back in the Houston line-up after being hurt most of the year.  It was a spectacular evening for anyone who loves baseball.

Except, of course, for the fact that the game was almost completely unwatchable.  In the first place, it was on Fox Sports One.  In the second place, the Fox TV announcers are horrible.  In the third place, the game didn't start until after 8 o'clock on the East Coast, which meant that it was going head-to-head with a Steelers game on NBC (an over-the-air network with really good announcers).  And in the fourth place, Correa hit his game-winner at around 1 A.M. Eastern Time, long after almost everyone had gone to bed.

Please note that none of these problems relate to the pace of play, or the numbers of pitching changes, or any of the other things that the Powers-that-Be are likely to fix.  Personally, I like all of the strategy associated with the modern game, and the quality of play is superb.  Had the game started at 2 PM, and had it been on a real network with real announcers, a lot more people would have seen Correa's home run.  Some of those people would have been children, and some of those children would have become lifelong fans.

But MLB doesn't care.  While the NBA and NHL do everything possible to promote and support their playoffs, MLB acts as if it can't wait for the season to be over.  Every move MLB makes in the post-season leaves me with the same feeling I have at Barnes & Noble when they start announcing that you better head to the checkout line, because the store is closing in 15 minutes.  MLB's whole attitude to fans like me is "What are you still doing here?  Don't you know it's football season?"  MLB holds playoffs -- but only because some of us fans insist on crowning an actual champion.  If they had it their own way, I honestly think the folks who run MLB would just hand out participation trophies on the last day of the regular season, and send everyone home.

All I know is that I waited six months for a showdown between the Yankees and Astros, and when it finally happened I couldn't stay up long enough to watch the ending.

The Yankees and Astros are off today as they travel to the Bronx.  Meanwhile, tonight the NLCS makes its first-ever appearance in Washington, D.C.

6:38 P.M. Central:  St. Louis at Washington (Washington leads 2-0)

1 comment:

  1. And it's not like the participants are on Pacific or even Mountain time. It's really nuts. If you want to be in prime time with the game, that's fine, but start it at 5 Central or so. And put those first couple of hours on FS1, and then, at 6:55, have Jim Simpson or whoever say that he's handing off to Curt Gowdy over on the big network. Kind of like a golf major.