And a very pleasant good afternoon to you, where ever you may be.
Most likely, not in Dodger Stadium,unless you’re trying to keep your job secure and your grades in good standing.
To look at a bright side to this afternoon’s NL Championship Series Game 5, where a full sun and 86-degree temperatures made it seem like a summer setting in October — a midweek post-season contest drew an announced crowd of 53,183 (not a sellout), as plenty of chunks of seat options were available through the first half of the game.
If you want to believe baseball has yet to fully understand the ramifications of selling itself out to television – in this case, TBS agreeing to the MLB’s wishes to have this one during the daytime so that Fox could have the night-time rights to ALCS Game 4 – that reality continues to add up to lost time that may not be recaptured.
Old-school thinking that day-time baseball in October is as God intended may be pure in intent. Sitting in back in the classroom, transistor radio plugged in with an ear piece. How American is (or was) that?
Now you’re all grown up, and life just doesn’t work that way does it?
Again, how is a 1 p.m. Dodgers-Cardinals game in L.A. optimizing exposure for the sport? Fifteen minutes before first pitch, the stadium was barely half full, and those baking in the sun weren’t all that inspired by scoreboard prompting to get up, wave a towel or “make noise” as they had the two previous nights.
As Zack Greinke squirmed out of a first-inning jam, there might have been more sounds, but the sight of rows of empty seats, especially in the shady upper reserved levels, had to be obvious.
End of the second inning: Plenty of spots available. Too late to start giving away bobbleheads?.
“Really, this is a holiday, you shouldn’t be working today,” Fred Roggin, hosting a pregame show that started in an empty Dodger Stadium Lot G outside of center field at 9 a.m. on KLAC-AM (570), said, trying to make the best of it as callers offered up excuses they could use to their employer in an attempt to at least stay home and watch.
Fans interviewed in the stands an hour before the game up on the video boards were also joking about the call-in-sick lines they ended up using so they could be here.
The stadium clean-up crew that worked through the night to get the facility ready before the doors opened at 11 a.m.might have appreciated the sentiment before they went home prior to first pitch to catch some sleep.
Today’s not-ready-for-prime-time broadcast exposes another gaping hole in the MLB’s not-ready-to-reach-the-young-demographic strategy. And since it affects the Dodgers, on this day, at this time, now it’s our issue.
Is there some kind of compromise that can be discussed to appease viewers as well as the networks trying to recoup their ginormous rights fees?
What if the ALCS flipped over to this 1 p.m. PT/4 p.m. ET window, based on logistics, while the NLCS went to the 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET window on occasions like this.
What if the games on the same day even overlapped to some degree, as they did in the NLDS and ALDS. Especially if those in the home markets have a better chance of dealing with work and school schedules.
The 1971 World Series was the first to go all prime-time, and that ship has already sailed – except for the logic in trying to bring day games back on the weekends.
West Coast starts will always be a game of shadows issue. A 2:30 or 3 p.m. first pitch for Game 5 on Wednesday, however, would have been exactly be in line with how it the time schedules were laid out in 2009 when the Dodgers and Cardinals last played in the postseason.
Daytime games in the post-season are great for nostalgia’s sake, not so much for its future stake.
Baseball can take another enlightened look at the bigger picture, as new leadership in the MLB commissioner’s office assess where the game not only has been, but where it’s going.
Ready to do the right thing? That’ll be the day.