Friday, March 31, 2017

Play Ball

It's time for my annual baseball season opener entry/rant.

Beginning Sunday, it counts.

Baseball has its problems, and it seems unable or unwilling to fix them.

Oakland doesn't draw and has a horrible stadium.  Move the team.  Do something!

Right around July 4, teams not in contention will start selling off players.  The annual early season surrender is maddening.

Baseball seems to have a problem attracting young people.

Minor league games are still a decent value.  Take out a loan if you're going to see a big league game.

Palyoff games end late at night and are not fan friendly.

Some people have problems with the pacing of games.  I'm okay with it.

Pardon me for a geezer moment, but I really miss the Game of the Week.  I know cable and satellite (and soon the internet) have made it irrelevant.  It was one of the joys of youth.  Every Saturday afternoon at 2, it was there.  Joe and Tony would give you a look at teams you wouldn't normally get a chance to see in Yankees and Phillies land.

I was a TV and broadcasting geek, even as a kid.  The first Game of the Week of the season was a treat.  I'd check out the pre game show set, the graphics, the music, the presentation.  Above is a video I lifted from YouTube, containing one of the best network sports themes ever.

I think a lot of baseball's decline stemmed from the end of the Game of the Week.  CBS dropped most Saturday games when it landed the baseball contract in 1990.  All CBS was interested in was the playoffs and World Series.  The sport never recovered.  I was never a big fan of the way NBC did things.  However, that Saturday afternoon game was more than a game.  It was a celebration of baseball.  Baseball needs that.

FOX does a great job with baseball.  Good announcers.  Solid production.  Unfortunately, try to find the game of the week.  Time slots change.  Some days, it's on cable.  Other days, the broadcast side gets a crack at it.  Note to FOX and MLB:  Fans love consistency, especially baseball fans.

It seems ESPN's Sunday night game has become the Game of the Week.  My schedule doesn't allow frequent viewing.  From what I've seen, it's good.  The time just doesn't work for a lot of people.

It's possible to get dozens of baseball games piped in to your home every week.  What baseball really needs is one "event" a week-- something you just have to see.  Bring back a really good Game of the Week.