One more reason not to care about baseball (it's my rant and I'll be lame if I want)

Over the past several years, I’ve gone from being a very serious baseball fan to being a casual one at best. There’s a simple reason why: I miss pennant races. That’s pennant races between great teams, where the winner goes on and the loser goes home. The last one of those was in 1993. (Braves 104-58, Giants 103-59. That one was like a frickin’ drug. But I digress.)

The wild card has screwed all that up, of course. MLB wanted a little more money from the postseason, and now (unlike, say, 1978) it doesn’t matter that the Red Sox finished behind the Yankees. Well, it’s their game, and all that.

So regardless of the reality that I consider the Division Series to be a poor substitute for a meaningful regular season, I start getting drawn in by the baseball chatter here and on the sports websites. Besides, both the Braves and the Red Sox, not to mention the Cubs and the Moneyball A’s, are in the playoffs. Maybe I should watch some of the games in this first round.

And I can. Sort of.

Specifically, I can watch two games, total. I can watch the Braves-Cubs game tonight, which is good.

Tomorrow, I can’t see a thing. Nothing. Nada.

It doesn’t matter that Pedro Martinez is pitching for the Sox; that Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Javy Lopez, and other baseball greats will be playing in the other contests. Baseball is broadcasting none of them. No Sox-A’s, no Giants-Marlins, no second game of Cubs-Braves. Not a one.

Thursday night, I can watch the Twins play the Yankees. Big whoop.

As of this writing, that’s it. Out of somewhere between twelve and twenty first-round games, they’ll only commit to having two on free TV.

Look, MLB, it’s really this simple. I’m a sports fan, but otherwise, I’m not a TV watcher. I shouldn’t have to pay $300 per year for cable TV I’ll almost never watch, just so I can see the MLB postseason. That’s a bit steep, quite frankly.

I’ve been paying less and less attention to you these past few years, and I guess it’ll keep going that way. You’ve gutted the regular season in favor of these Division Series games, and now I don’t get to see them either.

I get the message. Thanks.

It’s almost as bad as the seemingly unending basketball post-season.

Greed. It’s The American Way.

Uhh… I’m guessing you missed the month long struggle for the NL Central crown? Where the winner went on and the loser went home?

You’re right. Lame. :slight_smile:

You do have a point, R.T..

Even if your rant does sound a bit like “The food here is AWFUL! And the portions are so SMALL!!” :smiley:

I used to listen to all the Red Sox games I could on the internet, via a free webcast from the local radio station.

Last year, I had to pay MLB something like $20 for the priviledge of listening to the webcast on their site. No more freebies! This means you! If you want to listen to a game, you have to pay!

This year, I could still cough up the money to MLB in order to listen to free radio, but I also could pay $2.95 per game to watch the game in streaming video. Actually, I have to admit, that was kinda cool.

I haven’t checked, but I bet they don’t offer this for the playoff games, which are nationally broadcast (on cable, unfortunately for you). I hate the money-grubbing bastards!

Maybe I needed to bold the ‘great’ in the passage of mine you quoted. :slight_smile:

Races between OK-to-halfdecent teams where the winner goes on and the loser goes home just aren’t the same. JMHO.

But … but … but the Red Sox are in the play-offs.

How can that be a bad thing?

I propose a rule change. We go back to the two division format, with no wild card, providing the Red Sox get to be in the play-offs every year no matter how shitty their record is. I could live with that.

Twins beat the Yankees! Woo hoo!

Sorry about that. Just had to share.

Re the OP, I’m in Seattle, where pennant races were nonexistent up until just a few years ago. Like the designated hitter, the wild card is a bastardization I got used to from the beginning, so I can’t complain about it too much. Sure, I understand the objection in principle, but it doesn’t turn my crank the way it obviously does yours.

Interleague play, on the other hand, is obviously the work of Satan.

You mean the scintillating showdown between the fourth-best and the fifth-best teams in the second-best league? That one? Whoop-di-do.

Huh? Did MLB go pay-per-view here? Or do you just mean that the games are on cable networks like ESPN?

If it’s the latter, can’t say as I’m finding myself all that sympathetic. Major sporting events are broadcast exclusively on cable all the time now. It’s almost impossible to catch a college football team’s games during a season without getting ESPN, ESPN2, and Fox Sports. And at least with my local baseball team, half of their regular season games are broadcast only on our regional Fox Sports channel. I think that’s pretty typical for MLB teams.

Personally, if I didn’t have cable, I think I’d find the nearest bar, order a few beers, and cheer for the Sox, the Cubs, and whoever’s playing against the Yankees.
[sub]Twins won the first game today . . . boy, Steinbrenner is gonna go apeshit if the Yanks miss the World Series again. What fun![/sub]

I thought the reason for the wild card was to allow three divisions.

RTFirefly–look back before 1995 and see how many seasons had great pennant races. A large number–especially before the advent of divisions–were decided in July. Since the wild card, pretty much every season has had at least one race go to the last week. That’s an improvement in my eyes.

Just in the early 90s we’ve had at least two that I can recall (and the one in 1994, had it not been for the strike, could have been very good. The Expos were very good that year):

  1. Atlanta clinches second-to-last-day of the season after being down 9.5 games to LA at the all-star break.

  2. Atlanta clinches second-to-last day of the season after a grueling stretch run very close to the Giants.

My knowledge of non-NL West races during that timespan is notoriously lacking … I know that the Blue Jays were there in '92 and '93, and that’s about it. Oh, and Cleveland was doing something, too.

I live in a rural area and am dependent on satellite tv – up until a few years ago, I could get wild feeds and look at any baseball team, in any market. Now I have direcway, and still have a lot of ballgames, but there are restrictions on certain games.

And I have none of the networks, no FOX, CBS, ABC, NBC, PBS.

Which means despite avidly following baseball (which is literally the only thing I look at on the box, outside of footy – I get all my news off the comp), no postseason for me once the espn games are off – unless I go to a hotel or as I usually do anymore, back to London to look at the World Series at 5am…

(No, an aerial won’t bring in the local stations. Yes, I petitioned each and every one of them…but that’s a whole nother rant…)




Cubs-Astros-Cards, like W. Sox-Royals-Twins, doesn’t count. (Yankees-Sox was entertaining for much of the year, if you ignore the fact that it was the Red Sox. ;))

I’m not one of the wildcard bashers, though: the NL wildcard chase was absolutely crazy this year.

Last year, the wildcards were better than the division winners. Not to mention that the wild card races went almost down to the wire. Were it not for the wildcards, the playoff races would have been over in August. Instead, we had teams fighting right up to the end. it’s a good thing. The teams were interested, and the fans were interested (there were a lot of 'em, both at the stadiums and on TV).

Last year, the wildcards were better than the division winners. When it counted, anyhoo.

This seems like just another “Things were so much better back in the day…” rants.

I LOVE the wildcard.

Well, isn’t that amusing, RT.

Get this: I, too, as some of you know, live in a rural area. If I want television it has to be satellite-based.

But I don’t really watch much television at all. We have one…but mostly for movies. I used to watch Enterprise but with the 3-year-old around I’m usually too busy. When I’m not there’s always something better to do.

So a few months ago I get a call from DirecTV. The friendly account rep tells me he’s sad I never responded to their efforts and would I like to come back?

“Huh?”, says I. “What do you mean?”

“We cut you off for non-payment of your bill three months ago.”

“Really?”, says I?

I go to fire it up. I spend at least 5 minutes trying to find the DirecTV remote…it’s under the couch covered in dust. I turn the DirecTV box on. It displays “Your service is not connected. Please contact customer service to resume service.” or somesuch.

“Huh,” says I. “I never noticed.”

Now it’s the CS Reps turn to grunt, “Really?”

“Really”, grunt I.

“Well, let’s get you reconnected. I see we had your billing address wrong…”

“Wait”, says I. "I obviously don’t need it. Maybe we should just let it go.

At this point Lady Chance chimes in with: “Careful…the Cubs are doing pretty well. You’ll feel silly having them reactivate it for the playoffs.”

Wise woman, isn’t she folks?

So last night I stayed up until 11:40 watching the Cubs get past the Braves. And as long as the Cubs are alive DirecTV gets a stay of execution. The minute they win the series (as, of course, they’re going to) I make the call and cut it off.

The latter.

By comparison, the NFL’s postseason is entirely on broadcast TV.

That’s the regular season, though. Let’s not compare apples to grapes.

But the real difference is now v. then. Back in the days of three networks and nothing else, baseball used to broadcast all of its postseason on TV, and broadcast more regular-season games than it does now. The NFL has used cable and satellite as a supplement to the rich feast of games it offers on broadcast TV. MLB has decided to let cable (and even internet radio) supplant its broadcast coverage.

Just to clarify: the stuff about wildcards was by way of prologue, to provide what I felt was the necessary context to the actual rant.

Well…at least you didn’t pit Bud Seilig. We all know all of baseballs woes falls on the shoulders of the Comissioner.