November 19, 2009
Over the past few postseasons, the wait between rounds has been good for a great number of things: Writing the great American novel, growing a gigantic beard and conceiving children before seeing them off to college.
It has not, however, been good for baseball, a sport that values the rhythm of everyday play and the benefits of a deep pitching staff. Last month, the Yankees and Angels finished their division series on a Monday, but didn't face off until the following Friday. That led Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia to publicly gripe the league and television networks were threatening the integrity of the game by dragging their feet.
At any rate, Scioscia's words must carry some weight at MLB HQ because Bud Selig spoke on the issue and admitted a problem at the owner's meetings in Chicago on Wednesday.
"We're going to change it. I don't disagree with Mike Scioscia. I think he was right, so we're going to try and tighten that up. When you plan the playoff schedule, you don't know how many games the first round would go. So it's difficult. There were clubs that sat around. Some were necessary, but some were not."
Here's a big BLS head nod to Selig for finally recognizing a big fault, but I'm going to reserve full praise until we actually see a plan in place. While it wouldn't seem that hard to be flexible after division series end in sweeps, television is still calling the shots and it would seem that good ratings would mean that Fox is quite happy with the World Series start coming on a Wednesday. (The quickest and easiest fix would be to eradicate that silly off-day between Games 4 and 5 in the LCS. Without travel, there's no need for it.)
Does Bud actually have the authority to tell Fox to move the World Series up a few days after both the ALCS and NLCS end in four or five games? Past experience would say no, but we'll see what schedule magic the commish has up his sleeve before passing judgment.