Whatever you think of the wild card playoff system (and I still hate it), you have to agree that the first round of the 2007 MLB playoffs were a complete disaster. Three sweeps, and while there were some individual games that were interesting, for the most part, it was a snoozefest.

Then there’s the whole issue about the playoffs being aired on TBS, of all places. I can actually handle the Division Series being broadcast on TBS, but the fact that the National League Championship Series will be on that network boggles the mind. We’re talking about the NLCS here, for crying out loud. The championship of the oldest and greatest baseball league in the world.

To me, it makes me wonder whether baseball is just dying. Can you imagine the NFC Championship Game being played on some two-bit cable outlet? Of course not. Yet baseball’s playoffs are relegated to being aired between reruns of “Everyone Loves Raymond” and “The Andy Griffith Show.”

Is Bud Selig getting advice from NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman regarding television matters? Because baseball has a serious problem here.

About The Author

Blame Chad for creating this mess. Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, "The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds" is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad's musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine. You can email Chad at chaddotson@redlegnation.com.

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8 Responses

  1. Twill815

    I couldn’t agree more with you Chad. I live in Denver (after this season the Rockies are officially my 2nd favorite team)and if I didn’t have cable I couldn’t watch my local team play in the NLCS!!! I don’t know, maybe a local channel will pick up the TBS feed.

    As for the playoff format….i hate it. I hate the wildcard. I like 4 teams from each league making the playoffs, but it should just be 4 BEST teams…(Sorry Cubs fans).

    Quickly here’s my solution…
    1.) get rid of divisions, leagues only
    2.) move Milwaukee back to the AL
    3.) top 4 teams from each league make the playoffs and are seeded 1-4 based on their records.
    4.) both leagues are seeded 1-8 so the best overall teams remaining in the playoffs get home field advantage in their series'(getting rid of the All-Star victory homefield advantage)
    5.) all playoff series’ are best of 7 games.
    6.) for the regular season keep it at 162 games and every team plays every other team in their league 10 or 11 times and NO MORE INTERLEAGUE or WEIGHTED SCHEDULE!!
    7.) once a month during the regular season (6 times total) schedule a double-header day league wide. what fan doesn’t love the double-header and it would cut 6 days off the regular season and the playoffs could start a week earlier.

    that’s my solution, this way the regular season has much more meaning to it.

  2. Joe

    I like the five game series with only the WS at seven. If you’re not on, it can be three and out. The wild card with the best record in each league except the division winners suits me fine. Home and home series for regional rivals in the the AL and NL is good, but other than that there should be a balanced schedule as much as possible. This is the jet age not the railroad age.

  3. Y-City Jim

    Why not just back to the East and West divisions and take the top two from each? Imagine that when the Reds and Dodgers were battling it out in the 70’s!

  4. daedalus

    Baseball is dying. On both Saturday and Sunday I had to beg people to turn the games on from stupid football games – mostly college games no one should have cared about.

  5. Jeff

    Let’s not hit the panic button yet.

    Scroll down to read:

    “…So, with less accessibility into TV households, TBS’ first-round coverage would logically have lower TV ratings than the first-round coverage on Fox and ESPN last year. That was made even more likely considering that viewer interest, in any sport, usually builds the longer that playoff series last — and TBS had three of its four first-round series end in sweeps.

    Funny thing, though. TBS finished its first-round games averaging 3.8% of U.S. households — up 18% from last year’s first-round games on Fox and ESPN.”

    Baseball could benefit a fresh set of ideas and a new approach toward marketing the game to this and future generations, but as long as broadcasting baseball on radio and TV is profitable for the deep-pocketed people and entities who make programming decisions – and clearly it is – baseball’s going to be ok.

    While I would agree that baseball on TBS is unconventional, it seems to have worked well so far. What will be interesting to see is how ratings go moving forward now that Philly and NY -two of the four largest media markets in the country – are out of it.

  6. crypticphrasing@yahoo.com

    The issue is whether any playoff games should be on cable only. This has been going on for some time and is not a new issue for the clod-hoppers at MLB. In the past, I recall Fox sticking some games on FX, etc.,running some games at the same times, and last year some games were on on ESPN.

    The difference between TBS and ESPN is nonexistent from a reach standpoint–any basic cable tier will have both. FX is more of a dubious basic tier station for cable-satelite. I don’t think Dish Network, for example, includes FX on its most basic tier.

    I read in the newspaper today that an estimated 20 percent of the US does not have cable or satellite. Those folks are scrambling to find the games or doing without.

    With baseball’s attendance still hitting record highs, I doubt the higher-ups see this as a problem issue. But that is shortsighted thinking for “America’s Pasttime.”

    I’d like to see them allow only broadcast networks bid for any playoff game, but I doubt it will happen in these days of the almighty, short-term dollar.