Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The Post Season Sham

Nothing better than The Post Season in Baseball. Never do you know what the outcome will be. Never do you know who will be the hero. What you can be assured of though--is that Major League Baseball will take advantage of all the best fans in each and every playoff bound city.

As well documented in today's Washington Post--Major League Baseball allows The Television Networks to control the entire game schedule. Never is the best interest of the game considered. Only, the High & Mighty Dollar. Sure, losing control of your product to television has gone on for years, but never to the extent exhibited for Fall, 2007. That's why so many off days are set for The 2007 Division, League Championship and World Series Games this fall. The Integrity of Baseball DOES NOT MATTER to MLB, Fox or TBS. Its more important to get advertisers, the Green Backs--than it is to force playoff teams to win with what got them to the post season--their entire rosters. The Schedule Maneuvering coddles teams--Kills momentum. And, lets any Manager make less daring decisions. Yes--Your 25 Man Roster got you to The Post Season. But, Your 15 Man Roster will Win It for you.

Its Just not right. The Post Season is not about balanced competition--its a Staged Event. If Sohna and I wish to see a farce--we'll watch Wrestlemania.

Yet, that issue is not as bad as How Major League Baseball treats the BEST FANS for each and every Post Season Team. First, not only do many games go late into the night (for TV purposes)--many of The BEST SEATS at each and every Playoff Game are taken over by Major League Baseball and their Corporate Sponsors. It why you see the constant silliness of Fox showing their Prime Time Lineup Stars sitting near the field. Its why you see so many NOT WEARING the Home Team Colors of the Playoff Game at Hand.

MLB gives those GIFT SEATS To THEIR Favorites--The Big Money. While Each Playoff Team gives Their Favorite Fans the Big Shove--farther away the field. No, it does not matter that you may well have attended every game. All that matters is that you do not sponsor Major League Baseball. As a fan for Your Team--you are just the little guy. In the whole scheme of things--fans don't really matter in the playoffs. Remember back in 2005--that Fabulous Inaugural Season for Our Washington Nationals? When Washington was still in the playoff hunt in September--Major League Baseball sent out Deposit Slips and Seat Locations if--by chance--Our Washington Nationals made the 2005 Division Series. Of course, MLB asked for the entire Kit & Kaboodle. The costs were exorbinant, (in fact, playoff tickets, for Sohna and I, were nearly as costly as Our Entire 2005 Season Ticket Package), but that's not my point to make here. Maybe, some other time.

And, MLB asked that EVERYONE PAY FOR EACH AND EVERY PLAYOFF and Potential World Series Game--even if Washington did not make it that far. Of course, you could not get a refund. That money would go to MLB's Coffers--as Future Purchases--forwarded to your 2006 Season Ticket Account. As bad as that seemed--fortunately, I never paid up--as it was CLEAR Our Nats were floundering too badly down the stretch to make the playoffs.

But, more importantly, and the gist of this post--MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL informed a few thousand Season Ticket Holders at RFK Stadium that their 2005 Playoff Seats--if Washington competed--would not be their regular seats. So MLB and their Corporate Sponsors could be TREATED to the playoff games. Our Washington Nationals Season Ticket Holders--with the highest price seats--would be TREATED to The Upper Deck at RFK! How Nice. How comforting that Major League Baseball cared so much.

It was a Sham then in 2005. And, its a Sham now in 2007. For the love of money--Major League Baseball diminishes The GREAT GAME during The Post Season--at a time The Interest should be The Highest--from each and every most Faithful Fan of any Franchise.

Major League Baseball doesn't seem to care.

At Citizen Bank Park this afternoon--most of the seats down low near home plate--seemingly not Phillie Fans. When Aaron Rowand and Pat Burrell hit homers in the 5th--not much cheering from behind that plate. In fact, not a sea of Red & White Colors. Very different from Our Washington Nationals last game of the season played there--just three days ago. Yeah, The Upper Reaches and Down the lines sat The Philadelphia Fans. But, Clearly--not all of whom had the luxury of sitting behind Home Plate--or near The Dugout--as customary.

Yeah--I live in the 21st Century. Money has always talked. And, Corporate Greed never greater than in The Good Ole USA these days. But, it doesn't make it right--when Real Fans--You or I--are shouldered aside at the time Our Interest In The Great Game is at its Highest Peak.

When Our Team--is fighting for The Championship.

If and When Our Washington Nationals make The Post Season--I don't want to be told that I CAN'T sit in my Customary Seat--My Viewing Station for EACH AND EVERY Home Game of Our Washington Nationals, EVER!!--because some Vice President Of Marketing for Chevrolet, Ford, Budweiser, Sony (Whomever--you get the point) feels its necessary to show himself for self gratification. A Sponsor that has ZERO INTEREST in the outcome of the game at hand. That would suck. That would have me fired up like no other.

If I have supported Our Washington Nationals through thick and thin--I better be accommodated when Glory is at Hand.

Nothing else is acceptable. Nothing. Otherwise--Its all A Sham!!


Edward J. Cunningham said...

Here is another thing which gets my goat. It used to be that each League would be treated equally. One network would broadcast the LCS's and there would be alternating between day and night games.

Last year or the year before, they changed it so that all LCS games were at night. Fox would show the other game on F/X, thus requiring fans who wanted to see both to (a) get cable, and (b) get another VCR (or DVR recorder).

Now guess what happens this year? Instead of being broadcast on F/X, the NLCS will be broadcast on TBS while the ALCS will be broadcast on Fox. If you think it's a coincidence this is the same league that has the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees (to TV, the only teams that only matter anymore)---you're not. MLB's contract gives Fox the right to pick in advance which LCS they want to broadcast and TBS gets the other league.

Which means that until the unlikely scenario of the Toronto Blue Jays, Chicago White Sox (not even a World Series could get the Sox to draw three million fans or get most Chicagoans to care about them), the Texas Rangers and the Silicon Valley Athletics of Fremont make the AL playoffs instead of the Yanks and Bosox, the ALCS is always going to be on Fox, which means the Nationals' league will always be the "other" or the JV league...

Anonymous said...

SBF: As usual, what MLB says and what MLB does are entirely different. They say that the season ticket holders are their life blood, but when the BIG games come around, the season ticket BUYER is moved to a table near the kitchen, while the corporate big wigs get the front row. It's crony-ism as an art form. Politics? MLB? Corporate sponsors? They're all the same. It always has been and always will be about the money.

An Briosca Mor said...

"MLB's contract gives Fox the right to pick in advance which LCS they want to broadcast and TBS gets the other league."

Is this really the way it is, or do TBS and Fox rotate from one year to the next on who broadcasts the ALCS and NLCS? I think I saw somewhere in the press recently that it's a rotation (like the way the networks rotate having the Super Bowl), but I could be wrong about that. Maybe Fox just got to pick which league they wanted for this year to start off the rotation process.

MickMcD said...

Fox and TBS are going to rotate each year of the 8-year deal. Next year FOX will have the NLCS and TBS the ALCS. TBS will televise the entire Division Series for the entire length of the deal.

Let's all calm down. This is similar to Turner's deal with the NBA where TNT televises one conference final each year (which rotates, East one year, West the next) and ESPN/ABC televise the other along with the NBA Finals.

SenatorNat said...

This is very compelling stuff, making one wonder what Mike Wise and Sally Jenkins do for a living?

Why is there so little muckraking about the extortion and shabby treatment of the true fan?

Do you think that Kasten would be empathetic to this plea, and offer a guarantee of some sort that your ticket would be in the same range of seats, at least, should the Nats get in? Or, is he part of the brigade?

When I was invited to sit with then Tagliube's boss at the NFL lawfirm in 1973, since he was my college roomate's Dad, we sat at the 50 yard line for the Skins-Dolphins Super bowl VII at the LA Colosseum, among luminaries like Howard Cosell, Diana Shore, Burt Reynolds, Hugh O'Brien, Joe DiMaggio, Senator Muskie, Las Vegas showgirls (seriously), there to be seen and to see, few of whom even watched the game...

I had waited my entire life for a Washington team to be in a championship game. I was so disheartened by the experience, my first of this No Fan Ego First Experience. Super Bowls are dreadful due to this syndrome having risen to a level of pomp and circumstance and the intolerable drawing out of the game until ennui prevails ON HIGH!

Baseball is now seemingly embarked on making even the DCS in each league mini-Super Bowls. You don't have to worry about moving to a neutral site, since they are neutering the home field. And the coverage on TBS is unreal, to boot, as it sounds like it is being fed from Germany or some other cable foreign news bureau.

A real feeling of disconnectiveness, and surreality.

Cubs Lose. Cubs Lose. And No. 12 no hero...

Trust in Edward R. Murrow. All Good.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you.
In 2005, I got a letter and an invoice from the Nationals for the potential play-offs.
I still have it, the prices were about 5 times my season tickets and I was offered seats in the upper outfield, way away from my regular seats.
I love baseball and the Nats however, MLB and the Nationals want to take care of their rich wannabe baseball crowd.
How about us that go to Viera, Pittsburgh, Shea Stadium and Philadelphia? I guess we don't count.

Anonymous said...

Exceedingly well said - thanks.