THE WORLD SERIES is the climax to the baseball season…a celebration of America’s favorite pastime.
But if the powers that be at Major League Baseball are hoping to attract new fans to the game during the current Fall Classic, they can forget it.
We all know that, these days, television controls the major sports. It’s not just coincidence that the break between innings is exactly the same duration as the commercials!
Host broadcaster FOX Sports pay handsomely for the exclusive television rights to the World Series and want the games to start during prime time.
But if an 8pm start time isn’t already bad enough, they then insist on spending more than 30 minutes on fluff in the pre-game show.
The first pitch of Game 1 between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Philadelphia Phillies was not thrown until 8.45pm at Tropicana Field last night.
With the game lasting three hours and 23 minutes, it was not until just after midnight that Phillies closer Brad Lidge induced the final out.
Game time far too late for young fans
How many kids were watching? What self-respecting parent would let their child stay up to that time with school the next (or should I say the same) day?
Come to think of it, what hard-working adult really wants to stay up beyond the witching hour on a Wednesday night? I, for one, am feeling tired today.
The only people favored by the scheduling live on the West Coast. And how many of them are actually interested in an all-East Coast contest?
Now I understand that TV schedules are decided a long time in advance and that FOX were no doubt hoping for an East-West match-up, notably the Boston Red Sox v LA Dodgers World Series.
But surely there should be some degree of flexibility? A game time around 7pm is the norm for East Coast teams.
The bad news is that the start time will be no earlier than 8.30pm throughout the Series. And with so much on the line, the games will only get longer as the Series progresses.
MLB will, as usual, make a lot of money from the Fall Classic. But they will have wasted an opportunity to sell the sport to the audience of tomorrow.