Monday, May 19, 2008

Baseball Celebrates Interleague, And No One Notices

Major League Baseball's first interleague series blew by without really making any particularly interesting news. I think the honeymoon is over for Interleague and the fans. I am sure ticket sales were solid in most series (LA vs. LA, NY vs. NY for instance), but in general, did anyone really care?

When the Mets and Yankees used to play and ESPN would cover it, leading up to the game we were seemingly bombarded with commercials, animations during other games, etc. for weeks. I didn't see any ads for Sunday night's game besides their normal Sunday Night Baseball teasers.

When the Mets and Yankees used to play, the games carried all kinds of weight with them. The teams seemed to hate one another. Roger Clemens used to throw things at people all the time. It was big news!

Last night we went to a sports bar-ish restaurant and where there is one giant tv screen (that can be split into four different channels) with two large TVs on either side and then a few more big TVs scattered around the walls. The big screen was split up and the Mets-Yankees game was on one small portion of it. The other three were NASCAR, ESPN News, and the NFL network and the other two large TVs had ESPN News and the NASCAR.

That's right, the Steelers-Browns game from Week 10 got as much attention at a sports bar as the live Mets-Yankees game. This brought me to three conclusions:

1- Interleague is no longer any different for the casual fan than any other baseball game is. And for the devoted fan, is it really any different either? Was I more interested in this game than a Mets-Braves or Mets-Phillies game? Perhaps a bit, but it is just not as timeless and interesting as it once seemed.

2- The ratings of the 2000 World Series were some of the lowest for a World Series of all time. No one cared about New York playing New York despite that it was one of the more intrigue-filled Series in a long time. If that was the case, then the ratings were last night for a regular season game featuring two teams that were a combined 1-game under .500 must have been horrible.

3- The NFL Network is totally and completely wrong in their argument with the cable companies. NFL Network wants to be given a spot in the basic cable line-ups so they get wider distribution (thus they can sell commercials for much more money). Cable companies say it is a specialty-channel and won't get the wide-spread audience that basic cable channels typically get, so they want to add it to their sports packages (thus shrinking distribution and making commercials less valuable). I am a huge sports fan. I love the NFL. I would basically watch any team play any team on Sundays in the fall and winter. However, besides the eight live NFL games that the network carries, there is absolutely nothing that that channel airs that even I want to watch. They want NFL Network to go on basic cable, which would raise cable rates by the price of a cup of coffee (as the NFL network likes to say). If I don't think it is worth it to pay more for "24 hours per year of live NFL football and about 8,736 hours of filler," then do you think a non-sports/NFL fan would be willing to pay?

The Mets vs. Yankees and the NFL were not the only sporting events this weekend that no one cares about until they mean something.

-The NBA has finally gotten to the Conference Finals (once the Spurs finish off the Hornets tonight) so NBA games will be interesting even in the first quarter now. Isn't it funny that after all the BS of the last seven months, we ended up with the four teams that it was always going to be? This is further proof that the NBA season should be two months long, with only four teams from each Conference making the playoffs.

-The NHL has reached the Stanley Cup...well almost. Detroit roared out to a 3-0 lead but Dallas is now scaring the hell out of them. Dallas now plays at home in game six with a chance to tie it up. Note: when looking for NHL coverage on, even though they are in the most important two weeks of the season, the NHL is listed 10th behind women's basketball, NASCAR, racing (not sure what the different is there), college football (which will start in six months) and general college sports. Ouch.

- Big Brown won the Preakness and made NBC very, very happy because now someone will watch the Belmont in two weeks. No Triple Crown winner since 1978 and now horse racing (in perhaps its darkest hour) may Crown a champion. Never mind that Big Brown is widely considered one of the worst champs racing against easily the worst field in history.

Finally, can we all agree that baseball needs instant replay in the instances of home runs and foul balls? It is a good thing that the Yankees bullpen sucks as bad as it does or I would likely have strangled someone if that Delgado home run-blown call had come back to hurt the Mets.


The Original Met fan said...

What did you think of Joe Morgan's comment that Wright left the (3rd) base too soon on a fly ball? Then when he was proven wrong he said well, his upper body left too soon but his foot was still on the bag. Fire Him!

Scott T. Bergen said...

I agree that Morgan is awful. He also criticized Jose Reyes for being caught off of second base in the fourth on a combacker to the mound.

If you have Reyes' speed and the ball is hit behind you, you go. Regardless, he would have been caught on that play just his lead, not including the secondary lead or the steps he took to third. That play was just bad luck and he ripped Reyes for blowing it.

And Wright's upper-body did move early...which is what you're supposed to do!