Blog Entry

Turn out the Lights

Posted on: September 22, 2010 1:41 pm
Edited on: October 14, 2011 1:08 pm
 

If you are 30 years old, it is likely that you have no memory of ever have seeing a World Series game played during the day.  If you are 50 yrs. old or younger, you son or daughter has probably not ever seen a World Series day game.  It has been that long since the last one, game 7 of the 1987 World Series.  The 50 year old fans were probably among the 10’s of thousands of us who had a transistor radio confiscated at school and sent home with a note for Mom and Dad.  It was worth it to surreptitiously try and catch the score while the teacher was distracted by taking someone else’s radio away.

The decades of potential fans whose baseball interest was diminished and stunted have the tri-headed monster of greed to blame.  Bud Selig, the alphabet soup of networks (ABC-CBS-NBC-ESPN-FOX-TBS-MLB) and the 30 team owners that picked over the carcass of “America’s Pastime”.  Relegating it to secondary status behind the NFL.

Selig, in his desire to serve his pimps sold the product for the highest price available, viewing in Prime Time with the intent of higher rating and greater revenues for the pimps.

Baseball has been losing a generation of kids and other fans who are in bed during the game's biggest moments. Last year's rain-delayed Game 3 between the page/PHI">Phillies">Philadelphia Phillies and Tampa Bay Rays began at 10:06 p.m. ET — and didn't finish until 1:47 a.m. The series' late starts and finishes in chilly, rainy weather contributed to record-low TV ratings for the 2008 World Series.                                                                                                                                    

The Phillies and Rays players who wore ski masks and ear flaps to ward off frigid temperatures in last year's series would support the idea, says former Cy Young Award winner Rick Sutcliffe, now an ESPN analyst. Some players complained they couldn't feel their fingers or toes, he said. With this year's World Series possibly starting at the latest date ever, nobody wants to see freezing, even snowy weather help determine winners from losers. - By Michael McCarthy, USA TODAY 8/2009

 

It is apparently time to pay the piper; four of the last five World Series have posted lowest television ratings in the past 25 years. As the television contracts expire with MLB, renewed contracts will likely reflect the reality of the falling ratings.  Revenues will fall and a generation of what might have been stronger fans will not be there to shore up the falling rating.  The golden goose died.

 Former page/NYM">Mets">New York Mets pitcher Ron Darling, now with SNY and TBS, said MLB and Fox may be "underestimating" the audiences and ad dollars an old-time day game could command.

"It would be such an anomaly that everyone would get on board. If the corporate partners are forward thinking, they'd want to be part of a historic event," Darling said. "At some point, you have to generate new viewership, new fans. These kids have so many things to watch these days that it's a step in the right direction to have kids and their dads and moms sit and watch a game together. I think it would be unbelievable."- By Michael McCarthy, USA TODAY 8/2009

Ironically, the second highest rated game of the last twenty five years was the 1987 day game between the Twins and Cardinals.  It finished behind the 1986 game 7 between the NY Mets and the Boston Red Sox.  Despite being played on a Monday night opposite the Redskin and Giants game, the World Series drew the highest single game rating of all time.  One year later, the lights went on and have not gone out since.

There are four teams from the northern tier states contending for the World Series; Yankees, Twins, Reds and Phillies.  This raises the probability that cold November weather will be an element for the fans and players to deal with.  Two western teams, the Giants and Rangers suggest later game starts and games in the EST zone finishing tomorrow. 

 

These are my perceptions of the folly of having relegated the World Series to the interests of the Networks and the owners instead of the nurturers of the game, the fans.  My perceptions may not be your reality.  If you agree let me know, more importantly if you don’t agree, let me know.  

 

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