Tuesday, September 30, 2008


I know I'm going to sound like a curmudgeon, but is the baseball season ever going to end? They played 162 games...162!!!! And the season still isn't over yet. They have to play more games to determine wild card teams.

What the hell? Does the regular season mean anything in MLB?

Most of this has to do with my particular bias: Because your average regular season game doesn't mean shit, I don't start watching baseball until the playoffs---when the games have meaning. Therefore, I'm ready for the division series to start.

But no, they have to play more games before we even know who is going to be in the playoffs. Talk about watering down league play.

I know there are reasons for all this: Long seasons mean more money for the league...wild card teams mean that more cities retain hope for the playoffs. I understand all of that. It just seems to be that, if you are going to play 162 games, that ought to decide the fate of the teams in the league, but it doesn't.

As a result, they have lost me at the turnstiles.

Again, I realize I am an angry old man relating to this, but I used to be a huge Pirates fan. I used to listen to Pirate games on the radio (both in Erie and on KDKA when I lived in Pittsburgh).

But now that my Pirates have been eliminated from playoff contention for the rest of my life, I don't have much to root for. Then, when I try to figure out what the hell is going on in September, so I can begin watching, I am met with an array of IF/THEN statements on ESPN about who might or might not end up in the playoffs.

Are you kidding? We've endured 162 games and you still don't have it settled? Holy sheep shit.

Ya know, once upon a time, the regular season meant something because your team had to finish FIRST in order to win the division. It's not like that any more, so why play all those games. Why not have all the teams make the playoffs and play Round Robin? They've probably discussed that idea already.

What say you, Great Defender of the National Pastime?



Ralph said...

I've read a handful of books about baseball economics over the past few years, and you're right - it's all about the ca-ching. I agree the season is too long, but despite your complaints, which are echoed by people everywhere, the league continues to smash attendance records. The Pirates drew 1.6 million fans this year- and finished in last place, for the third time in four years. The last time they won the World Series - 1979 - they drew 1.4 million fans. And tickets today are much higher-priced.

The bottom line is that as long as people keeping showing up for the games, they'll play them. Back when we were kids, I remember going to Indians games when there were just a few thousand people in the Park. That just doesn't happen anymore. It's mainly because the sales and marketing techniques used in baseball have improved immenesly since then.

At some point people realized that baseball was "big business." It was probably Walter O'Malley who moved the Dodgers to LA who was first, and slowly, very slowly in some cases, everyone followed suit. The Braves and their whole Ted Turner-cable thing pushed things forward, and of course, these new ballpark designs are a big help too.

Sure, as a purist, I'd like to see about a 145-game season, which would enabble us to cut a week and a half off each end of the season and reduce the amount of bad-weather games. Now you end up with the most important games of year potentially being played in November in Boston. That's just not good baseball weather, and I think it potentially affects the game negatively.

As for the playoffs being shortened. That, you're never going to see. Most people are in favor of the two rounds of playoffs, as well as the DH for that matter. It's just baseball. You might as well give the people what they want. It's not like the MLB is giving them cut-rate mortgages or anything important.



DrD said...

Right Said Fred.

145 games sounds about right. Keep everything else as it is.

162 games are too hard on the pitchers, as far as I can tell, plus, we would not be watching the World Series as the snow flies.

That was my major complaint.