<
>

Complaining about November baseball

10/22/2009

Look, I'm dead-set against scheduling World Series games in November. But this is one odd argument against them ...

    Playoff baseball in October increasingly has had to compete for the sports fan's attention with college and pro football. Now, with the league's showcase beginning four days before November, Major League Baseball will also be fighting the ratings game with pro basketball. Perhaps for the first time ever, the NBA regular season will begin one day before Game 1 of the World Series starts.

    Major League Baseball is applauding itself for gaining more viewers for its recent playoff games compared to last year. But Carol Slezak of the Chicago Sun-Times recently described how the league is driving fans away with its scheduling decisions.

Did you get all that? Sure, more fans are watching this year ... but here's a link to someone who claims that fewer fans are watching!

Well, which is it? More, or fewer?

According to Major League Baseball, the postseason TV ratings are up 13 percent this October. As these things go, 13 percent is fairly massive increase, especially considering that TV ratings for just about everything tend to drop every year. Of course, it helps when all four semifinalists hail from huge markets. But, still: It's not enough to just claim that the schedule is driving fans away. You should actually present some, you know, evidence or something.

I hate November baseball in the Northeast. I don't believe that baseball players should have to wear earmuffs just to survive out there. But I'm in the minority. The local fans will show up regardless of the weather, because the stakes are so high. And the fans everywhere else will watch because it's plenty warm where the TVs are.

You might not like the postseason schedule. I don't. But you have to figure the TV people have a pretty good idea of how to get the most eyeballs on the games. Pretending otherwise says more about us than them.