It’s become a yearly ritual: immediately following each baseball postseason, we see a spate of stories telling us that television ratings for the playoffs and World Series were the lowest since ten years ago … or twenty years ago … or since forever. And we’re bound to see just such a thing again this year–so we have something to look forward to, no matter which team comes out on top.
Usually, there’s a whole lineup of suspects that get blamed for baseball’s ratings downturn: a more fragmented audience, greater competition from other sports and non-sports programming, the nature of the game (a.k.a. “baseball’s too boring for modern audiences”). It’s any of those things, or it’s all of those things, depending upon whom you ask.
Here’s another thought: has anyone ever considered that maybe, just maybe, the ads are to blame?
Continue reading Ad-verse Effects
Subtraction By Division
The 2016 regular season is now over, and everyone can breathe a sigh of relief after all the excitement of the playoff chases.
Say what? There wasn’t all that much excitement, you say? The playoff chases were more like gentle strolls? Now that you mention it, yes, this season’s stretch run was mostly a dud. Four of the six division races were runaway wins, and really it was more like five of the six since there was no real drama in the NL West for most of the last three weeks. Only the AL East threatened to go down to the wire, and that too turned out to be a relatively easy win for the Red Sox.
Wasn’t the Wild Card supposed to remedy the problem of lack of competitive races in September? Well, this year it didn’t– Continue reading Subtraction By Division
The calendar is showing March 11, so we have definitely left February and its rodent-based holidays in the dust. Still, there’s a story playing out in the NHL right now that has certain echoes of everyone’s favorite February-based movie, Groundhog Day.
It’s the story of the Washington Capitals, of course. The Caps’ perpetual struggle to achieve something in the postseason, after a relative lack of struggle in the regular season, has reached near epic proportions. This year’s runaway winners seem like locks to challenge one of the West’s dynasty teams in the Final, and Alex Ovechkin, in the Bill Murray role, looks sure to finally embrace his Andie McDowell–in the form of a large, engraved silver chalice–after all the misadventures of the past.
Then again, it’s the NHL. And it’s the Capitals. There are no sure things here.
Continue reading Groundhog! Da?
I’ve been working a lot lately; hence the lack of original posts these past couple of weeks. In fact, I may have been working too hard, because apparently I just hallucinated in reading off of ESPN’s crawl the suggestion that Bob Geren is a candidate for the Dodgers’ managerial position. Continue reading Under Not-So-New Management
The best part about tonight’s NLCS game? Not just that the
Red Sox West Cubs lost, but also the fact that Jason Hammel got blowed up real good.
This is a local thing for me. Plenty of people around the East Bay have pointed with bitterness at last year’s Yoenis Cespedes trade as the moment when the Oakland A’s started to go downhill. There’s plenty of validity to that point of view. But if you were watching closely at the time, you know that Hammel deserves plenty of blame, too. Continue reading Very Gratifying Delayed Gratification