Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Way to go American League

Last night, my wife and I watched the last couple of innings of the game. I loved it. I was a bit disappointed to see Hoffman lose it in the 9th, but the all-star game has never been his cup of tea (10.something ERA going into the game, now at 12). Not only did they win this in the 9th, but they were down to their last strike when Young hit the triple.

Can Lopez play third base or what? Yes, I know he had a bobble that allowed Carlos Beltran to get on; however, he showed the rest of the league how much of a gun he has for an arm. His native position is 2B, for those of you scoring at home. I blogged at the start of the season how happy I was our infield was made up of Lopez and Betancourt. This could be one of the best infield defenses the M's have had in a long time.

Honestly, I like the idea of this game meaning something. To some degree it does suck, because the managers actually have to manage. This can get in the way of making sure that everyone plays. My level of interest in this game has not gone up or down with the winner taking home field in the World Series. Mike Golic on ESPN radio is not a fan of this format. He points out that the TV ratings have gone down since this rule was put into place. Maybe that is because people are still burnt out on the tie game? Who knows really. Perhaps inter-league play has something to do this, even though that was introduced well before this format.

1 comment:

Ryan said...

I'd lean toward your "people are burnt out on the tie game" as a good reason for ratings being down. I'd also agree with your assessment in your earlier post about managers bringing along the players from their own teams instead of the consensus best players. Most average fans probably only really care about seeing the starters play, so the old tradition of "everybody plays" flew in the face of that. I guess that would contradict the fact of lower ratings now that managers actually play players for strategic reasons - no comment on my lack of coherence here, pleae.

I agree that adding some meaning to the All-Star game is a good idea, but I'm not sure how effective that is at increasing fan interest or player/manager effort. I think interleague play and free agency have diminished the rivalry between the AL and NL. I'm not sure how much pride the AL cellar-dwellers take in the White Sox' World Series win last year, so is the reward (home field in the Series) really going to incent all players to play at the proverbial 110%? Doubtful.

It would be interesting to see some stats on the NFL and the NBA all-star games vis-a-vis their regular-season ratings - I can't imagine that there's a MLB-specific drop in ratings for the mid-summer classic. Truly, I think all-star games just aren't that interesting to the average TV viewer (not to be confused with the average fan of the game), and the long, compacted baseball season (162 games in something like 190 days) means that many people actually like the 3-day reprieve from following the game.

Giving home-field advantage to the winner may have addressed Selig's immediate problem of trying to restore any semblance of fan respect for and enjoyment of the All-Star game, but if he was trying to bring TV ratings out of the tank, the notion was doomed from its conception.