October 13, 2009 [LINK / comment]

MLB playoffs: three quick sweeps

So far, the 2009 baseball postseason has been pretty routine, as the team with the home field advantage has won each of the four first-round series. In fact, three of those series were swept, and the other one was won in four games. That means that TBS won't be earning as much TV ad revenue as they had projected, so maybe they'll be less likely next year to participate in the monopoly-scam by which MLB currently runs its broadcasting licenses. If so, good. (They could just as easily have split the first-round games between TBS and FOX.) Another side-effect of the rapid conclusion of the divisional series is that in each case, the deciding game was won by the visiting team, so there wasn't much fan excitement.

Both teams from Los Angeles, [and the AL team from] New York swept their opponents in the first round, thereby advancing to the league championship series. So, we could have a first-ever all-L.A. "freeway series," or a repeat of the historic Yankee-Dodger rivalry, or a contest between two long-suffering teams that finally became world champions in recent years (Angels vs. Phillies). I'm going with the second alternative scenario.

"Rocktober"? Not! Unlike the Red Sox, Cardinals, and Twins, at least the Colorado Rockies won one of their playoff games, but the Saturday game was snowed out, which may have been a bad omen. The Phillies eked out narrow one-run wins on Sunday (late night) and Monday. It's not unexpected that the world champions would prevail, but it's too bad the Denver fans didn't get to see a postseason victory in Coors Field again. The last time such a series took place, in October 2007, the Red Sox swept the Rockies.

Stalling for time, losing fans

It seems that every year they figure out new ways to prolong the MLB postseason, creating more and more "dead time" during which fans' attention drifts toward football, basketball, or hockey. Every time a series shifts from one city to another, there is a rest day, as though air travel did not yet exist (!), plus one extra day in the divisional series and two extra days in the league championship series. Those extra days are aimed at eliminating any possibility of overlap, which would reduce TV viewership. Then there are two more days of rest between the league championship series and the World Series. I will never understand how the big MLB honchos who decided such things can be so blind to the damage they are doing to fan interest in Our National Pastime. There is no excuse for taking more than a single calendar week to play a postseason series, and they ought to be able to wrap up the World Series by the third week of October. PERIOD.

Metrodome is renamed

The 4-1 victory by the Yankees on Sunday was the last MLB game ever to be played at the Metrodome, or as it is now called, the "Mall of America Field at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome." What-ever! The naming rights contract went into effect on October 5, and will terminate in 2012. The NFL Vikings are now the only tenant, as the Twins pack up their belongings and the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers move into brand-new TCF Bank Stadium. See Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal; hat tip to Mike Zurawski. The Vikings hope to get public money for a major expansion/renovation of the Metrodome. I think they can afford to be patient for a couple years. Ironically, the Mall of America occupies the land on which the Twins' original home in Bloomington once stood: Metropolitan Stadium.

COMMENT by: Brian Hughes, of Edison, NJ on Oct 14, 2009 20:15 PM
Actually, the Vikings aren't the only tenant, as Golden Gophers baseball will still be playing games at the Metrodome.

COMMENT by: Andrew Clem, of Staunton, VA on Oct 16, 2009 16:36 PM
Well, that's news to me. At first I thought it was dumb to keep the Metrodome prepped for the football-to-baseball switcheroo, which isn't cheap. It's way too huge compared to the crowds expected at a college game. But then I remembered: at 45 degrees north latitude, there's no way you're going to play baseball outside in February, which is when the college season starts. The University of Minnesota's new football stadium, TCF Bank Stadium, looks impressive, designed to accommodate a third deck in the future, if so desired. http://stadium.gophersports.com/