Siberian Baseball

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

One in, one left

In a matchup that Major League Baseball can't be very thrilled with, the Phillies punched their ticket to the World Series this evening with a 5-1 win over the Dodgers.

They now wait for the winner of the Red Sox and Rays series, which resumes tomorrow night at Fenway.

What this means in broad strokes is that MLB has lost teams from Los Angeles (twice, depending on how you count) Chicago (twice) and Milwaukee (OK, who really cares?).

With the Red Sox coming face to face with their own limitations, Tampa is a game away from joining the Phillies in the World Series. Wow, those TV ratings should rival reruns of the Golden Girls.

So, be prepared for plenty of 2004 and 2007 references during tomorrow night's telecast. I'm also guessing that Bud Selig isn't above placing a few phone calls to the umps tonight. You know, to keep things interesting long enough to see a few dozen more promos for Frank TV.

Because who can't get enough of those? I love those almost as much as I love this town.



  • Hmmm... that was almost like a David Stern-no-f'in-way-are-the-Lakers-going-home-early classic last night. Fox executives aren't out of the woods yet, though. Philadelphia is a large market and they will likely turn out in force, but the Phillies simply aren't a draw for the casual fan in other parts of the country. I know that the Rays underdog storyline will be pounded ad nauseum if they advance, yet we've all already seen this before with the Marlins and Rockies in recent years.

    Simply put, there are really only 3 teams that draw any significant national interest: the Yankees, Red Sox, and Cubs. Anytime that one of those teams isn't involved, Fox is in shaky territory. Even the Dodgers don't do much to move the people meters since L.A. is such an apathetic sports town outside of the Lakers and USC football. The popularity of the MLB in any given season is almost entirely franchise-driven - the fact that there is a roster full of budding superstars playing in Tampa means absolutely nothing in terms of ratings simply because of the uniform. Contrast this with the NBA, which is on the opposite end as a star-driven league, where a superstar-led team from a small market (i.e. LeBron in Cleveland) is always going to be a better draw than a starless team from New York or Chicago.

    Obviously, both leagues would like to be bad-ratings-proof in the same manner as the NFL, where people will watch no matter which franchises make the playoffs. However, I'm wondering whether it's better from year-to-year to be franchise-driven like MLB or star-driven like the NBA. There are cases for both sides of the ledger - there's a certain stability in MLB where you have a number of franchises that will always draw lots of attention no matter how good or bad they might be, but the flip side is that having superstars in NBA usually means that those players' teams are good enough to go far in the postseason, so the ratings are relatively stable from year-to-year even if the Knicks, Lakers, Bulls, and/or Celtics aren't playing well. This would be an interesting business case study.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At Friday, October 17, 2008 9:25:00 AM  

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