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The scheduling mess that is the MLB playoffs

Oct 25, 2009, 12:04 PM EDT

As we had to sit through yet another night without baseball on Saturday, Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports penned a pointed piece on the scheduling embarrassment that is the MLB playoffs:

Beaucoup bucks buy Fox the leverage to insist on starting the World
Series on a Wednesday instead of the Saturday that was standard until
2007. That’s right: The World Series should have started already. Only
because Saturday night is a TV ratings sinkhole, and the potential of
two games on Saturday makes Fox executives cower, they make us wait.
And wait. And wait.

Didn’t used to be that way. Prior to 2007, there was a standard
formula employed since baseball introduced the wild card. The playoffs
always started the first Tuesday following the regular season ending.
The LCS would begin seven or eight days later. And the World Series
came 11 days after the start of the first LCS.

Now the postseason starts on a Wednesday. And while the LCS this
season began eight days later, the World Series doesn’t start until 13
days after the first LCS game. There are off days built in specifically
to adhere to Fox’s request of a Wednesday start, and with the World
Baseball Classic already pushing the season back a week, there will be
at least one – and as many as four – World Series games this November.

Because baseball was always meant to
be experienced in mittens and snow hats. At least they’ve thrown us a
bone by giving us slightly earlier start times, however the late
innings of the ALCS games have been a chore to sit through, even for
the most die-hard of fans. Coincidence or not, things have worked out
pretty well for FOX and TBS this October, although they have the
presence of the Yankees to thank for that.

The Phillies will have a week layoff
when the World Series begins on Wednesday. And as Passan points out,
such a long break isn’t necessarily an indicator of anything. More
recently, the 2006 Tigers sat for seven days and were defeated in five games by the
Cardinals, while the 2007 Rockies went nine days between games before
getting swept by the Red Sox. However, the 1995 Braves or 1996 Yankees
didn’t complain, as they both went on to win the World Series with
week-long breaks.

Imagine for second if the Yankees actually won Game 5 on Thursday. It would have been a whole six days before Game 1 of the World Series. What a joke. Again, MLB and FOX have the Yankees to thank for making things interesting and safeguarding them from a real P.R. nightmare.

  1. Dan - Oct 25, 2009 at 1:02 PM

    Yep, and I hope MLB takes the games in-house on their own network and Internet channels over the next decade, and run it properly, remembering that fans are customers.

  2. Graves - Oct 25, 2009 at 1:34 PM

    Just an FYI, the Tigers weren’t swept by the Cards in 2006. The Series went five games. We can’t forget the infamous Kenny Rogers “substance on the hand” game, can we?!

  3. D.J. Short - Oct 25, 2009 at 1:38 PM

    Yikes. I knew that. Fixed.

  4. phillies06 - Oct 25, 2009 at 1:53 PM

    MLB wouldn’t even give you the World Series schedule until near the end of the ALCS.. Last year after the Phillies clinched no one had any clue when the World series started, that’s because MLB wanted to see who would win the ALCS. If the Red Sox won then their would be a 5 day rest to allow the Red Sox to get their pitching rotation in place. since Tampa won they started it right away.. This year the Red Sox are out so MLB dosent have to worry about playing favorites, thats why we have a World Series schedule for the first time in many years..DO U REALLY THINK IF BOSTON PLAYED A ONE GAME PLAYOFF LIKE THE TWINS, THEY WOULD HAVE HAD TO PLAY THE NEXT DAY?? NO WAY

  5. chris - Oct 25, 2009 at 3:14 PM

    You are incorrect. The World Series was scheduled prior to the start of the ALCS and NLCS. This is done for the networks and reserving blocks of rooms in the cities where it may be held. In other words, there were 4 cities where blocks of rooms had to be reserved.
    I had my tickets for the World Series the morning after the Phils clinched the NLCS last year. Tampa Bay clinched after the Phils. We already knew the World Series would take place at the end of October and on what days. We knew this after the NLDS. It occurs this way every year. As a matter of fact, we know after the All Star game the sequence that the games will be held in regards to home field advantage and from there the specific days are selected. That is in July.

  6. sirka67 - Oct 25, 2009 at 3:45 PM

    I have cringed ever since FOX has had exclusive rights to the World Series. It has been horrible horrible coverage for years. With Joe Buck not knowing crap about baseball, to the constant graphics going across the screen with the swooshing noises to go along with it, I feel like I am watching the circus. But that’s exactly what FOX wants. When you get an owner like Murdock who prefers styly over substance, you get this. I wish NBC or ABC would get it back, but they are sick of paying through the nose and not getting a return on their investment.

  7. airedale - Oct 25, 2009 at 3:55 PM

    More to the point Dan…
    MLB moans about the lack of kids interested in Baseball…not only play games closer together…put a few world Series games on TV earlier in the day so some of those kids who lost interest, can become fans again. Starting games at 8:20 at night is absolutely ridiculous, especially the way games are micro-managed today. Four hours is quick for a world series game, 41/2 to 5 hours the norm…
    Let junior watch the game…with Dad…and maybe Dad can get some steep too!

  8. Bill - Oct 25, 2009 at 5:11 PM

    What a joke. That the baseball guru’s have let happen to the World Series is a shame. Because of Murdock and fat boy Ailes, I don’t watch anything affiliated with Faux. Maybe some day they will yank it away from network. They are lucky the big market teams are still alive. It belongs on their own network. If this trend keeps up, pretty soon your going to have to issue snow shoes and parka’s to the players. I know the players make a lot of money so I don’t feel sorry for them, but this thing is getting ridicules…

  9. sammydog99 - Oct 25, 2009 at 6:07 PM

    Yankees went to 3 pitcher rotation. It won’t be long until we see the 2 or 1 pitcher rotation. The teams have so much time off, the players can take vacations between series.
    Baseball is in a sad state…

  10. Corey Kendall - Oct 25, 2009 at 6:07 PM

    I can hardly wait until the World Series actually gets underway, & hopefully we have an exciting World Series this year for a change. Because it seems like we’ve gotten away from discussing the game of baseball itself & all anyone focuses on these days is whatever is wrong with baseball. Between the schedule, the weather, instant replay, the length of baseball games, whatever else crops up during the postseason, that seems to takeover from the actual games now. Does anyone actually care about what’s happening on the field anymore? I feel like I’m the only one who still watches baseball for the pure nature of the sport, while the rest of the universe spends all their complaining about anything & everything in baseball.
    They should cut back on the off-days in between games; just have the travel days available like normal. If it rains, there’s not much else you can do besides waiting it out until the rain stops.
    I’m starting to wonder if there will ever be a positive, good-news story about baseball anymore, because it’s all about “what’s wrong with baseball” now. EVERYTHING is wrong with the game, is it? Is there anything left that we can say is good for baseball now? I wonder when or if that will ever happen again someday.

  11. JFD8 - Oct 26, 2009 at 10:44 AM

    November’s a key Nielsen rating,
    So MLB keeps the fans waiting
    So Fox wins the sweep
    While kids are asleep
    In weather that’s primetime for skating.
    News Short n’ Sweet by JFD8

  12. Production Planning - Dec 7, 2009 at 2:10 PM

    Thank you, please add more from this subject. I bookmarked your blog.

  13. Young Delano - Jan 30, 2010 at 4:06 AM

    Lesenswerter Post, vielen Dank.

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