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Televising Baseball

It just goes to show that baseball gets no respect, not once football season is underway. Sheesh.

Here it is, Sunday, the last day of baseball’s regular season. Big things are going on in the National League. San Diego came into San Francisco on Friday needing to win all three games to tie the Giants for first place in the west. They won the first two, meaning another win Sunday would leave them tied. But meanwhile, over in the east, Atlanta entered Sunday with the same record as San Diego, but well behind the Phillies in the eastern division standings, meaning Atlanta had no chance to win the division but was in the hunt for the fourth and final National League playoff spot — the wild card. (The Reds had sewn up the central division and was guaranteed, along with the Phillies, a spot in the playoffs.)

There were four possibilities:

1. SF and Atlanta win and both make the playoffs.
2. SF and Atlanta lose, leaving SF and SD with identical records and Atlanta a game back. SF and SD both make the playoffs, with SD declared the division champ because of a better record against SF.
3. SF wins and Atlanta loses. Then SF wins the division and makes the playoffs. Atlanta and SD are both second in their divisions, with identical records, necessitating an extra game between them yesterday to determine the fourth and final playoff team.
4. SF loses and Atlanta wins. A bit of chaos. SF, SD, and Atlanta end up with identical records. Yesterday, SF would play SD to determine the western division champ. The loser would play Atlanta today to determine the wild card spot.

You might just think the the Braves-Phillies game should be televised, followed by the Giants-Padres game. They barely overlap, since both are afternoon games, on opposite coasts. But if you thought that, you would be wrong. Way wrong. You would forget that it’s football season. The television gods know that we’d rather watch week 4 of the NFL, despite the fact that there are 13 more weeks of regular season football to come.

Hold on now. Maybe Fox is going with football, but what about TBS? They’re surely showing the Braves game, right? I mean, it’s TBS, the local station that became national on the backs of the Braves a few decades ago, the station named after Turner, who bought the Braves and broadcast them every day.

Well, I don’t know about that. Maybe TBS did show the game. Regionally. Not nationally though. In these parts, we were treated to the Yankees playing the Red Sox in a meaningless game, as we were the day before. After all, the television gods know that if we must watch baseball at all, we would prefer to worship at the altar of the divine Yankee-Red Sock rivalry.

Do you know how annoying this is? In the late afternoon, ESPN did show the end of the Giant-Padre game in a small screen as part of SportsCenter, with lots of football data filling the margins. Awfully distracting. Better than nothing though.

What happened? The Giants won a close one. Earlier, after taking a big lead, the Braves watched the Phillies mount a comeback. Not a big enough one though. The Giants took the division title. The Braves took the wild card. The regular season ended on time. And we learned once again that television doesn’t take baseball fans seriously.

The postseason starts tomorrow. One consequence of the Padres’ elimination is that all four National League playoff teams are original members of the league. Not so in the American League, with the expansion Rangers and Rays competing. I have no particular team I’m rooting for. I just don’t want to see the Yankees in the Series again. I get so tired of reading about them. The sooner they’re gone, the better. And I would just as soon not see the Phillies again either. I’m ready for a change. Go Reds!

Categories: Baseball
  1. awilliams53
    October 6, 2010 at 6:20 AM

    Go Giants.

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