|Everybody's Got One
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Wednesday, October 16, 2002
I wasn't really looking forward to an all-California Series. Nothing against California – I have family there – and nothing against the Giants – I'm happy for Barry, I really am; it couldn't happen to a lousier human being – but something against television. Thanks to TV, every game in the most important baseball of the season will start sometime between 5:00 and 5:30 locally – a great time of day for pitchers, but not so good for hitters and outfielders. More strikeouts, more weakly hit ground balls, more errors in the field – at least in the early innings. Yee hah. I thought the Idiot Lords of Baseball™ wanted more offense, not less.
Good sporting events require good playing conditions. This is like scheduling the Super Bowl in a cow pasture, or the Final Four in a wind tunnel. At least we won't be seeing turtlenecks and gloves and breath vapor in the dugouts like the last few years in New York.
My solution? Start the games at 7 local. (Fall afternoons would be ideal, but I realize that's out of the question.) That's 10 in the east, which cuts into the numbers as the game goes on, but the World Cup demonstrated that the hours don't matter to true fans, and everybody else can tape (or Tivo) and timeshift. Besides, they've already blown off kids and blue collar workers with games that end near midnight – stop thinking of yourself as a mass-market sport, which you aren't any more, and concentrate on providing a higher-quality product to your niche base of the faithful.
The Angels are here because they've been gradually figuring out how to rip great gaping holes in the bullpens of every team they play, while their own has been phenomenal (that kid Rodriguez is having a magical career moment right now, and Percival has been a horse for a long time.) I'd have loved to see Anaheim in a series against a top NL fastball/slider bullpen – St. Louis or especially Atlanta – but no such luck. The Giants have Nen, who's on the downslope of his dominance although probably still good enough, but if their set-up guys give up big numbers like the Yankees and Twins did, then Nen won't matter. Then again, the Giants have been surprising me – and everyone – since Labor Day. That's why they play 'em.
posted by Kelly | 3:53 PM link