The MLB Playoffs are in full swing with the Divisional Series set.
The St. Louis Cardinals, Pittsburgh Pirates, Los Angeles Dodgers, Atlanta Braves, Boston Red Sox, Tampa Bay Rays, Detroit Tigers, and Oakland Athletics face off for the chance to win a championship that will be earned after 162 (or 163) games.
Much like the regular season, the MLB Playoffs go on for way too long. The addition of the second Wild Card spot has added a handful of days to the month-long festivities. The useless play-in game also emphasizes 27 outs as a means to the end for two teams that spent six months laboring to earn that spot. Is it fun to watch? Pittsburgh can answer that, but one positive play-in game does not justify its addition.
After surviving sudden death, the next step is to survive two laborious series with inflated rosters with the hopes of playing for it all. It is a good thing that a team’s ninth relief pitcher will be depended on to get the third out of the eighth inning of game seven with the bases loaded. Clearly that pitcher has pitched in that situation during his season in Triple-A. Throw in games that consistently last over three hours and Joe Buck’s Jekyll and Hyde play-by-play and watching network television sounds awfully attractive.
Imagine the ratings for an Oakland A’s-St. Louis Cardinals World Series. How about Braves-Tigers? Short of a Dodgers-Red Sox coastal Fall Classic, televisions will be tuning away from baseball in record numbers.
Can’t do it.
NFL football on Sunday and Thursday, NHL Center Ice television package free for two weeks, Sons of Anarchy on FX, and conference play in college football. What do they all have in common? They are all more appealing to watch than the MLB Playoffs. The list could be longer, but I will be nice. If you doubt that list, prove it. You will not be able to.
For all of the bad, a power clap needs to be given to the Pittsburgh Pirates. 21 years of futility are forgotten (temporarily) because there is a reason to feel good for the Buccos. That being said, I am a Cardinals fan. The Pirates will see one round before the Cards dispatch them from the postseason.
Deal with it.
Enjoy the MLB Playoffs, if that’s your bag. The majority of America will gladly pass on “America’s Pastime” for anything else. Baseball has been forgotten because of an irrational stubbornness to change the game for the better. Pastime truly defines where baseball is: in the rearview mirror. The MLB Playoffs are a casualty of the league’s shortcomings.
Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffrotull44 for more sports and entertainment ramblings. If you play fantasy sports, check out The Fantasy Fix, where Jeff’s weekly column ‘Peaks and Valleys’ covers your add/drop/watch needs during baseball and hockey season.