There was an interesting report last week regarding Bud Selig and his intention to focus on the baseball playoffs next season. Selig seems to have awakened from a coma and heard a rumor that some people think that the baseball playoffs are too long and that the reason they are too long is the crazy scheduling that underlies the playoff games. Selig said it was his intention to tighten up that scheduling – - although he did not say how he was going to do that. What he did say was that he (Bud Selig) was going to make up the playoff schedule for 2010 and that if anyone was unhappy with the scheduling it was on him.
Let me help the Commish out as he begins to focus like a laser beam on this issue. From the time the season ended until the start of the World Series, 23 days intervened. The Phillies played 9 games in those 23 days. That is not baseball scheduling; that is basketball scheduling. From the beginning of March in Spring Training until the end of the regular season, baseball teams play 6 games a week; the Phillies should have gotten through those 9 games in 11 or 12 days. The “elasticity factor” is obvious; the “elasticity factor” is television.
What the Commish needs to do is to work with the networks that are covering the games to arrive at a television package for the playoffs that does not stretch the ramp-up to the World Series over more than three weeks. It can – and probably should – be condensed to 15 days. Moreover, if MLB can do that, they can actually have the World Series over before Halloween.
In another bit of baseball news, it seems as if the management of the Washington Nationals intend to model themselves after the management of the Washington Redskins – - although I cannot for the life of me think of any way that would be a good idea. Recall that the Redskins hired Sherm Lewis as a “consultant” to be “another pair of eyes” and then two weeks later made him the playcaller for the Redskins team. Oh, by the way, how is that working out? Well, the Washington Nationals must think it is working out just swell because about a week after hiring their new manager, Jim Riggleman, the Nats hired a “senior consultant” who will be “another pair of eyes” in Davey Johnson. The odds of Riggleman being around for the full duration of his recently signed contract just went off the board…
Bill Conlin is a Philadelphia sports writing institution all by himself. He had a recent column in the Philadelphia Daily News on the massacre of baseball records and history that deserves to be read in its entirety.
The LPGA continues to shrivel up like composting leaves. Last week, the LPGA announced that the 2010 tournament schedule will have 24 tournaments – - down from 28 in 2009 – - and that only 13 of those tournaments will be in the US. Almost half of the LPGA events will be overseas. The spinmeisters in the PR world will surely try to convince the public this situation demonstrates the great vigor of the sport of women’s golf as a global enterprise. Sad to say, but that is unmitigated buncombe. [I use that word as a tribute to H.L. Mencken, one of the great curmudgeons of the last century; it was a favorite of his.] This is the “lightest” LPGA tournament schedule since 1971.
In addition to having to send almost half of its tournaments out of the country, the LPGA also faces a financial reality. Only 11 tournaments next year will have a purse value in excess of $1.5M; this year there were 17 tournaments in that category. In addition, the LPGA has lost at least three major sponsors for next year, MasterCard, McDonalds and Michelob. Wow, maybe the LPGA is allergic to the letter “M”.
Last week, the Pontiac Silverdome – - where the Detroit Lions used to play their home games prior to the construction of Ford Field – - sold at auction. The Silverdome was built in the 1970s and it cost a reported $56M to build back then. Annual maintenance costs for the empty building have been running at $1.5M a year since the Lions moved out in 2002 and so the city fathers in Pontiac decided to take that cost item off their books.
When the auctioneers gavel fell, the Pontiac Silverdome sold for – - wait for it – - $583,000. That is all it brought at auction. I don’t know about real estate values in Pontiac MI, but here in suburban DC, that is the price of a small home that probably needs a bit of modernization. Holy depreciation, Batman!
I have complained about the over-exposure on television of college basketball for several years now. Lest you think that I am exaggerating, I ran across this tidbit over the weekend:
Teams from the Atlantic Coast Conference will appear on national television 179 times this season.
I do not care how you want to parse that out, but just that one conference represents overexposure. If you assume that the college basketball season runs for 16 weeks, that means more than ten ACC teams per week are on national TV. If you recognize that there are 12 teams in the ACC, that means the average team is on national TV about 15 times. Trust me, the distribution is not equal; you will see VA Tech, Clemson and Virginia fewer times that you will see either Duke or UNC on national TV.
The NFL is obsessed with its image. Perish forbid that a player might defile his uniform by wearing his socks improperly or – Heaven forefend – criticize the officiating. Given that this image-obsessed institution has genteel and cultured owners such as Bud “The Blatant Bird-Flashing Bozo” Adams in its ranks, I can surely understand why it could not possibly also have someone as rude, crude and unglued as Rush Limbaugh within its inner circle…
Finally, a note from Brad Rock in the Deseret Morning News:
“The Liaoshen Evening Post reports that a gym coach in Shenyang, China, has taken a side job hiring himself out as a human punching bag for women.
“Great idea, but didn’t Ben Wright already do that?”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports…