So wait, how many Octobers are there exactly?
Various reports differ, but thankfully we have the impeccably unfunny Dane Cook to inform us that there is indeed, one October. Which is probably just fine considering the dearth of attention paid to anything other than the playoffs this month. Whine not about start times and 1:30 a.m. finishes. Baseball rules your life, people.
It astounds me every year how MLB goes along with the idea that, sure, an 8:30 p.m. game is a great way to get the youth of America interested in baseball again, only to watch ratings dip every single season and watch Bud Selig wonder why, hands dipped into his pockets with the face of a cookie jar thief. For this reason Fox decided to kick off the World Series on a Wednesday night instead of the traditional Saturday night start, hoping to attain better ratings than the weak Saturday night numbers that have become the norm. Then the Denver, Arizona, and Cleveland markets got involved and has everyone at the network pleading immediate allegiance to Boston.
If the World Series goes to a Game 7, it will be played on Nov. 1, which would mean Mr. Cook has a little explaining to do.
Well, in an amazing fashion that perhaps only Major League Baseball can promise to deliver, the network suits and the league have managed to make matters WORSE. I've been baffled by a few things in my three-decades plus on this earth: Figuring out how David Copperfield floated over the Grand Canyon, the afterlife, the success of ... well, Dane Cook. But I bet now that I could solve those little numbers in far less time than it would take to break down the mindset that leads these folks to believe that this year’s playoff schedule is conducive to anyone watching in a time zone that doesn’t boast the Pacific as a neighbor.
In case you missed it, and let’s face it, you did, the Colorado Rockies opened up a 3-0 series lead on the Diamondbacks last night in the NLCS, and can clinch a trip to the World Series tonight in a game that starts at the ripe hour of 10:07. Based on Saturday night, the Red Sox and Indians ought to be in the fourth inning by then.
Amazing. A series-clinching game and it starts at 10. If tonight’s NL Game 4 were to go as long as Saturday’s epic AL contest, the Rockies and D-Backs would be playing ball until almost 3:30 in the morning, East Coast time. What’s wrong with that? You can go to work any old day. There’s only ONE October.*
(* - may include November)
Partly because many folks didn’t even know where to find the game (it was on TBS), partly because next to nobody cares about the Rockies or Diamondbacks, last Thursday’s NLCS Game 1 was the lowest-rated LCS prime-time game. Ever. And that, mind you, was an 8:30 p.m. start time.
Blissfully, this evening’s Red Sox-Indians kicks off at 7:10, as normalcy prevails on the TV landscape. But have we really received any sort of explanation as to why Red Sox and Indians fans were subjected to sitting around until nearly 2 in the morning yesterday waiting for the 11-inning affair to complete itself? Give me one good reason that game shouldn’t have started at 7, which would have meant that even at a tidy 5 hours, 14 minutes, we’d all be kicking ourselves at the much more manageable clock hour of just past midnight.
I’m sure you’d pick one of Josh Beckett, David Ortiz, or Manny Ramirez as the star of Friday night’s 10-3 whooping by the Red Sox. For me it was Steven King when the horror author told Fox sideline guy and walking Botox advertisement Chris Myers that he usually reads 18 pages in between innings at a ball game, but now that Fox is carrying the games, he kicks that up to 27. I’d suggest DVR’ing the first 20 minutes tonight and fast forwarding through the omnipresent “Back to You” and “’Til Death” spots (and whoever is dubbing this the “funniest hour on TV” obviously just emerged from 52 years in a bunker beneath the earth’s core and has a funny bone on par with a Norwich drill sergeant) but you’d only get to the second inning before you caught up in real-time.
Tomorrow, we’re back to 8:21 starts in the ALCS, with a day off Wednesday in order to allow nobody to care about the NLCS -- if it goes that far. A day off in the middle of the ALCS without travel. No, really, that’s the schedule. Normally, I’d complain more about such an inane and intentional dragging of the feet, leading us to the Wednesday Series start. But really I could use the spare time to catch up on a fortnight of “Friday Night Lights” and the lack of sleep an October newborn brings anyway. He and I were the only ones in my household that witnessed the 11th inning on Saturday night, just past 1 in the morning, both he and Eric Gagne coughing up something or other at around the same time.
It’s all neat and swell that our friends on the left coast aren’t burdened by early start times, but where does it all end? Ratings continue to flounder and baseball still can’t figure out what the problem is, shifting schedules and adding gimmicks like the All-Star home-field advantage system, all in the hopes of increasing the TV numbers of a country that will devour anything football, but is particularly parochial when it comes to our one-time pastime.
I’m not sure baseball would even attempt to argue anymore that it hasn’t sold out its fans to TV and advertising dollars. That’s something to think about tonight if you’re one of the 11 non-college kids in New England watching the Rockies celebrate their first visit to the World Series at around 2:30 in the morning.
Suck it up. There’s only one October* you know. The least you can do is put your life on hold for it.