Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The World Series: It Isn't Broke, But Idiots Want to Fix It

So you might have heard, somewhere in between all the real sports news: the World Series was delayed by rain. First time in a hundred years.

Cue the idiot sportswriters.

WRITER #1: MIKE FREEMAN, Sportsline.com

In which Mike Freeman Complains about The Lack of Storylines

This is the 2008 version of the White Sox-Astros, Tigers-Cardinals and Marlins-Indians. In other words, gentlemen, start your Xanax.

I actually kind of liked the joke. Really, though - I think Freeman's bitching about big-market teams not being in the World Series. Which seems to me to be kind of stupid.

It's possible this could end up as the lowest-rated and least-watched World Series in modern history. Ratings gold, baby.

Who the fuck CARES if no one watches? If the millions of idiot Red Sox fans and idiot Dodgers fans and idiot Cubs fans and idiot Yankees fans aren't watching... I'm pretty sure that's a good thing.

What real baseball fan cares about the ratings? In fact, what human being cares about the ratings? It's like Mike Freeman wants to turn the World Series into the goddamn Super Bowl. What I hate most about the goddamn sportswriters is that they're so goddamn phony. They talk about all the great underdog stories like they're the goddamn ducks on the pond and they finally make it to the World Series and nobody cares.

This is nothing against the two franchises themselves. There are plenty of good folks in those clubhouses and front offices. There'll also be some stars on display when the series begins this week. The Rays are a good story and the perennially losing Phillies aren't bad either. But that's it. There's absolutely nothing else compelling about this series.

There's the fact that it's the World Series. I'm sorry there aren't any steroids or Hank Steinbrenners or PettiteGH or BizzOzzie Guillen or Steve Garvey sleeping with someone's mom. It's still the WORLD SERIES.

The biggest problem is the lack of a villain. Boston would have filled that role perfectly as the Patriots did in the Super Bowl last year. But what can you hate about either of these teams?

Interesting point, Mike, suggesting that the series lacks definition because neither team takes a binary opposition. How Lacanian; non-definition breeding aimlessness, CAN'T YOU SEE WE'RE AT LADIES?

Later...
You're all phonies because you know I'm right.
You're like the writer who went to Hollywood to write good sports stories and now he writes as a National Writer for Sportsline and you drive around in your sports car and nobody reads your actually good stuff about your secret goldfish.

WRITER #2: JEFF PASSAN, YAHOO! SPORTS

Here is a picture of Jeff Passan:
Critique #1: the all-caps EXCLUSIVE at the bottom which means that Yahoo! sports is the ONLY PLACE YOU CAN GO to get your JEFF PASSAN FIX.

I never worked hard enough to get me a marketing degree from one of them there universities, but it seems like "exclusive" is only a useful marketing tool if you have a brand actually worth marketing. Jeff Passan Brand Sports Journalism is like Yugo Brand Automobiles, exclusively available in the Chicagoland Area Larry B Imported Cars dealership!

Critique #2: This picture of Jeff Passan, though small and somewhat pixelated, could easily be mistaken for one of the pictures on this site.

Now: on to his actual writing: "Baseball's Crown Event is Beyond Repair

Overly hyperbolic title. The World Series once got canceled by a strike. A fucking rainout isn't going to make it beyond repair.

This World Series is beyond salvaging.

False.

It is a disaster borne of people who think cowbells and haircuts make them fans,

You're nobody to lecture on personal appearance.

owners so greedy they accept late-October baseball and late-evening start times,

A charge which you offer no solution for.

and a commissioner who unilaterally changes a rule while he’s carrying the book in his left hand.


A change which everyone in the inhabited (and uninhabited) universe recognizes as a necessary and intelligent change to make.

Game 5 is suspended. Rain washed through Citizens Bank Park from the beginning of the Philadelphia Phillies' potential championship clincher to the sixth inning, when the Tampa Bay Rays tied the score 2-2. The game is supposed to resume Wednesday night. It is on Mother Nature, which is a good thing, because if it were up to the baseball gods, they would smite the series before it could continue any longer.

Baseball gods don't exist. And if there were baseball gods, they would be more likely to listen to me than to you.

...
Re: the decision to start game 4:
The conditions were fine for playing. It’s just that the entire country was in its REM cycle, baseball hardly a competitor for sleep.

So here, Jeff Passan complains that baseball made a decision that was counter to getting higher ratings in order to complete the Series on time. This might have made sense, especially considering that the Phillies' fans might have flown halfway across the country to go to this one game. But no - the people IN the stadium don't count!

Later:
Such is the norm, too, with the 8:30 p.m. start times now typical for World Series games – and the remainder of the postponement, which will begin at 8 p.m. Thank MLB again for that. It got into bed with Fox for a long-term $3 billion deal. Fox requested a later first pitch. MLB obliged. The guys in suits win. The kids with hats and genuine interest in the game, and not the green it generates, lose.

I actually kind of like his point. Screw the networks. But here's the thing, Jeff: you can't bitch about MLB starting a game REALLY late because nobody can watch it, but then also bitch about MLB starting a little later so that people CAN watch it.

You can't have your hair-gel and eat it too, Jeff.

When two teams get together, no matter the size of the market or depth of the history, and play a to-the-max series with the requisite drama that accompanies a great matchup, it is magic. Baseball doesn’t need the Yankees or Red Sox. Minnesota and Atlanta did just fine in 1991.

Please tell this to Mike Freeman.

And that, actually, is the only thing that can turn this debacle around and help MLB avoid it being the Rain Series or the Delay Series or the Atrociously Umpired Series or the Series No One Cared About.

Every single memorable world series has to do with the spectacular plays on the field, and nothing to do with MLB decisions. 1960? Oh, that was because MLB set up the greatest and most dramatic upset ever! 2001? Oh, that must have been MLB setting the Yankees up to lose.

Series get Proper Names because of the baseball. Other than deliberately telling fans to pull Maiers or Bartmans, it's hard for the big brass to add intrigue. That's the players' jobs.

The questions crossing everyone’s mind Monday night were how to keep weather from so adversely affecting the biggest games of the year. Shorten the regular season? No chance the owners would lose the revenue.

No chance fans would want this either. What an idiotic solution, and Jeff Passan's such a two-faced moron for suggesting that only the owners' greed would shoot this down. Every respectable fan (especially the ones who recognized the endless * battle that happened LAST time they changed the length of the season) recognizes that this is not a solution. 162 is fucking sacred, man.

Do it by playing doubleheaders every other Saturday, shaving nearly two weeks from the season? Again, revenue would lag, and the players’ union almost certainly would say no.

Do we really need to reschedule the entire season just because one game - the first time in a hundred years? No... you're just a hand-wringing space-filler.

Schedule a neutral-site World Series? No thanks.


Wow, Jeff! We agree! (This, by the way, is about the stupidest solution to the "problem" I've heard).

Sometimes, nothing can save baseball from itself. Not even global warming.

Sometimes, baseball doesn't need to be saved.

But baseball journalism sure does, and that's why we're here!

9 comments:

Tonus said...

I like how MISTER PASSAN feels that the season needs to be shorter, so that we can avoid rainouts in the world series.

Stupid asshole.

cb said...

Shortening the season and neutral-site World Series are the worst ideas in idea history.

Martin said...

You have to wonder how the World Series might be if a cable network ran it. It really seems to be going in that direction, and if it got the proper attention, better start times (And I live in Los Angeles and wouldn't mind 4:30 start times, it really isn't any worse then 5:30 ) and a good announcing team, I don't think it would be a bad thing.

Djmmm said...

Catcher in the Rye references! Yay!

Chris W said...

the problem with the world series is and only is Joe Buck.

See above.

pnoles said...

That....was awesome.

CitizenX said...

I'm no licensed meteorologist. Dropped out with two weeks to go, because it got too political.

But I'm pretty sure it rains year round. Which is why some places have domes? And when it's not raining, it's snowing.

Basically what I'm trying to say is that Seattle should never be in the World Series.

The Seattle ownership apparently agrees.

Anonymous said...

correct me if i am wrong, but what i gathered from those "solutions" was passan's ridiculing of said "solutions," instead pointing out how the World Series has lost its luster to the broader public. I'm not saying that to the real fan it isn't as impactful, but anyone who honestly watched this world series can't tell me that the rainout fiasco/exaggeration (depending on what side you take) wasn't the defining event of the 2008 WS. Speaking bluntly and honestly, this world series was one of the most uninspiring

Anonymous said...

I actually agree with anonymous. I think that for lack of a better story, that's why the media peeps focused on the suspension of the game rather than any other storyline. Yes, it is always nice to hear about a city or team who hasn't won anything in however many years (repeated to the point of exhaustion), but honestly, if it's not the Cubs involved, how dramatic is 28 yrs compared to 100? I myself am not a cubs fan, but if the only storyline you can make for a team is a problem that another team has way worse, then you're just stretching to create interest in a series that is, obviously, boring.