W.S. on the W.S…

I’m really glad my dear dear friend Warren Scott is taking to the blogosphere. Once again he brings up his thoughts on baseball and the current World Series.

At the bottom of the screen there was a caption showing that the first game of the World Series between the Philadelphia Phillies and the New York Yankees was starting that night (now last night). The only thought that came to my mind was, “who cares?” Obviously Philly and Yankee fans do. But from a fan of baseball (not just a Giant’s fan) standpoint, I really do not care. That is a strange thought for me. I have not closely followed the post season, nor have I watched a single game since the Rockies and the Twins were eliminated. I had interest until then.

Here’s the reason. In baseball for about the last 10 years, in general, the same teams show up in the playoffs. One or two teams vary each year, but for the most part, it’s the same. As a fan of the game, you get pretty tired of the seeing the same teams in the post season year after year. Phillies? They won last year, I’m ready to see someone else from the National League. Yankees? They’ve been there more than any team in the history of the game. I’m ready to see someone else from the American league. That was one of the reasons I rooted really hard for the Devil Rays last year. They were a small market team that nobody thought would be there.

I always root for underdogs and small market teams. Underdogs because nobody thinks they will make it all the way. And small market teams because when a small market team makes the World Series, the media loses money. The media have almost destroyed the game of baseball, so I love it when they lost money.

Football has it figured out.

So I’m hoping to pry more: what has football figured out that baseball has failed at? I don’t really know much about football; the sport has never interested me after sitting through three hours of commercials during a Superbowl just to see the players get a third flag on the same play. Professionals my butt. But, I digress.

I had a good conversation with a friend of mine a while back on what baseball ought to do. He is a lifetime Twins fan, as well as a big Vikings fan. He brought up a few interesting points:

  • The season is too long. Baseball starts up Spring Training in March, and it goes through playoffs in October. It’s a heck of a long stretch to keep your attention.
  • There are too many games. This is tied to the first item, but I think it makes a bigger point. In football, each teams lays it all out for a single game a week. That’s a lot of tension to build up for all week long.
  • The schedule is funky. I personally haven’t enjoyed interleague play, and think it takes away from the divisional rivalries that are so much fun. Also, each series needs to be 3 games. No more, no less. It would be nice if the series actually meant something, too.
  • Ditch the designated hitter. I was surprised to hear him bring this up, but having grown up with the NL, I appreciate the strategy of going through a lineup (and I love when a pitcher gets his first hit his first game, so he’s batting a thousand).

Now, all that said, he and I agreed that the length of the season and number of games does play into part of what makes baseball special: statistics. Baseball builds up a whole hell of a lot of stats that set up lots of tension and are fun to break throughout the season. I don’t want to lose that for the sake of having a single game a week.

Also, baseball needs to return to its roots of being an easily accessible game. Even at 15 bucks a seat, a family of four is spending 60 dollars, not including parking and food, to see our national pastime. It should be something that you could attend on a whim.

In regards to football, I really don’t care for the giant production that the draft is. It seems like you could go down the list of incoming players and current rosters, see who would do the best and the remaining variable comes down to which teams get the most injuries to their best players. But that’s an admittedly outsider perspective.

So, back to you, Warren. What ought to be done to save our beloved baseball?