Thursday, May 6, 2010

Will No One Rid Me of This Turbulent Team?

"What miserable drones and traitors have I nourished and brought up in my blog, who let their author be treated with such shameful contempt by a low-born expansion team?"

These were the words (adapted, of course) of King Henry II, imploring his coterie to murder the Catholic priest Thomas Becket. And now I'm them to incite Major League Baseball to rid the Yankees of their own turbulent foe:

The Rays are now 20-7, a game ahead of the Yankees for the AL East lead and the best record in baseball. They're kicking everyone's ass in the near vicinity, with the Mariners and Cliff Lee as their latest victim. Garza even made Milton Bradley have a mental breakdown. (Seriously, I hope Milton gets whatever help he needs and gets better.)

Someone, please beat these guys. I know you all hate the Yankees, but for so many reasons, you should hate the Rays more. They can't even come close to filling their horrible ballpark. I remember more passionate fanbases going to Expos games as a kid. RID ME OF THIS TURBULENT TEAM!

*Speaking of the AL East, here's yet another article about the Red Sox and Yankees taking too long to play baseball. Somebody needs to tell people that there's no clock in baseball, and that if they really want faster games, the best move would be shortening the commercial breaks. You could take off 20 minutes in a heartbeat, and 25-30 off games aired on FOX or ESPN.

Another thing: why the hell are playoff games starting at 8:15? Why don't they start at 7 like every other night game during the year? No kid under 10 is going to be able to stay up for the entirety of an 8:15 game, and lo, a generation of baseball fans is lost. It's silliness, and I don't get why they do it. Wouldn't it be better ratings-wise to start earlier? Then people get hooked on the game, and when 8pm rolls around, they aren't switching to the other primetime shows. I guess you can't charge the same ad rate at 7, but at the current rate you won't be able to sell ads for baseball at all in about twenty years. I'm fully prepared for a future where the World Series is on the Versus Network, and my kids become huge mixed martial arts fans, or something.

My girlfriend sent me the Times article linked above, and argued that baseball is a slower game that should be appreciated for its length. From a personal standpoint, I agree; I have no problem with 4-hour games, especially when the Yanks and Sox are battling. But that's because I love baseball, and can lose myself in the nuances and subtle drama of each at-bat, each play, each interaction. To ensure that younger fans reach that point on their own in sufficient numbers to keep baseball viable in America, the game needs to be accessible. You can't really govern the pace within an inning, but you can shorten commercial breaks and start things at a reasonable hour. Sometimes it feels like baseball and its TV sponsors are digging their own grave.

Okay. Time to go do some yoga, take a shower, and spend the night singing the off-day blues.

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