Watched another bit of the World Series tonight. Nice to see the Rangers show up. At one point, you, you out there reading this could have gotten a key RBI. Just stand up there and take 4 pitches. Assuming you didn’t panic and wet yourself, welcome to baseball lore. To answer your question, yes, I’m still a little bitter about the Phillies, but I’m just disappointed in the quality of baseball we are seeing in the post-season. Across the board, all teams, it just doesn’t seem representative of the best the sport can offer.
On another note, something only loosely related, game four of the World Series will be facing up against Sunday night football this weekend. Now, I believe in the past the NFL did not hold a prime time game during the World Series, but the NFL bows to no man, and they are trotting out Pittsburgh/New Orleans to thrash the World Series in the ratings. I don’t have a specific problem with it (although I think the NFL loves itself a bit too much), but I feel bad for Giants fans who might end up missing one of the better Sunday Night games of the year. I assume by Sunday, Giants fans might be the only one watching baseball. The question is, are people so football obsessed that nothing should go up against it?
I don’t mean no other games, obviously you cannot run professional seasons end to end in a calendar year, but should MLB bother trying to compete with the NFL when it comes to playoff time? Are they best sticking to the “Boys of Summer,” adage? I think they might be. And, because the playoffs are far more exciting than the regular season in every sport, wouldn’t it be nice if we could space out post-season play a bit better and avoid some terrible lulls in the calendar? I think that would be smashing. Now, I don’t have a spreadsheet open in front of me, or a calendar for that matter, but this is just a seed I’m hatching right now in my world of sports perfection. Let me talk it out.
The NFL season runs from early September to the first week of February. This is and remains the NFL’s territory, and we can continue to allow college football to be a supplement. Think about your weekend. It’s week 8 of the NFL, your fantasy team is in shambles, your bookie is calling you every 15 minutes, you are trying to figure out if Boise State is for real, do you really need the World Series on? Of course not. The World Series and baseball playoffs should occur during the NFL pre-season. This will still give the baseball haters something else to do, but for everyone else, the World Series gets its proper spotlight. Am I planning on starting baseball in March? No, I’m planning on playing a 136 game regular season. How many? 136. If you can’t get it together in 136 games, come back next year.
Football is over the 1st week of February and that kicks off one of the great lulls in the sports calendar. Pitchers and catchers? A few weeks away and not that exciting. Hockey playoffs? Not even close. An occasional winter Olympiad? Maybe. But, really wouldn’t the ultimate way to decompress from the Super Bowl be February Madness? Let’s push the college basketball season up a couple of weeks. I don’t want to do anything too drastic, so in the week after the Super Bowl, but before tournament week, maybe we need to take a breath. Solution? Move the PGA Championship to February. Hey, some relevancy for the event. It can be the 1st major of the year instead of the one no one cares about. Play it at warm weather sites, sorry Medinah.
Now, the final key aspect of this plan is that the NBA and NHL schedules need to be more staggered. I’m not exactly sure why basketball must be played in the winter (well, actually the NBA plays almost year round). I get that it is an indoor game, but it’s not like you have to keep the ice cold in the building. It’s part of the Summer Olympics, so with that in mind it should let hockey take the spotlight for its playoffs. Hockey playoffs could start sometime in the middle of March and run to the end of April, or however long they take. There is no reason to be playing hockey in June, and if everyone agrees that there is nothing like playoff hockey, shouldn’t it get the stage to itself? Do people like converting buildings back and forth from ice to hardwood? Wouldn’t this make scheduling easier?
So, we give the NBA an actual off-season and start it up sometime in the winter so the playoffs will start in the late May/early June range. We’d probably need another little breather area for the Kentucky Derby, the Masters, things of that nature. One week wonders. The NBA Playoffs (which I still wouldn’t watch) would then not have the NHL to compete with, but just some regular season baseball action. Not a big deal, but again, much like the people who loathe baseball, it’s another option for the people who truly cannot stand watching professional basketball. I see no reason why college basketball and professional basketball need to have overlapping seasons.
It all comes back around full circle when basketball ends, which I imagine would be sometime in July. You’d have time to hammer out the US and British Open, throw a Wimbledon in there somewhere, and before you can blink it’s pennant race and baseball playoff time. The more I watch sports lately, the more I realize the regular season doesn’t amount to much. Sure, it qualifies you for the playoffs, but are the Giants really the best team in baseball? Really? Or do they have a rabbit’s foot shoved up their bum? It’s about getting hot at the right time and fans are drawn to the stakes, the intensity, so let’s the spread the wealth over the full 12 months. No February to Mid-March lull and no July to September without a single post-season game.