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View Full Version : WS games to start 40 minutes earlier



westofyou
05-18-2009, 01:21 PM
http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=4174213



Major League Baseball is going to turn back the clock for the start of World Series games this season.

The first pitch of World Series games will happen shortly before 8 p.m. ET this season, shortly after Fox's pregame show, which will now begin at 7:30 ET.

The new first pitch time is approximately 40 minutes earlier than World Series games in past years. In fact, according to MLB's records, this year will mark the first time in more than 30 years that a World Series game will begin before 8 ET, according to MLB.com.

"Our goal is to schedule games so the largest number of people can watch, and Fox has gone to an enormous amount of effort to make this happen. It's been a great joint effort between the two of us," MLB commissioner Bud Selig said, according to MLB.com.

American League Championship Series games, also televised by Fox, will have the same earlier start times. According to USA Today, Selig said it is undetermined whether postseason games on TBS will start earlier.

"World Series games have been running longer," Fox Sports president Ed Goren said, "and we made the adjustments with the acknowledgement that young kids can only stay up until a certain hour.

"In all fairness, I haven't seen that as an issue in other sports, but that aside, there is a potential benefit in this with regard to young fans -- as well as a possible ratings benefit with games not running till midnight."

Cyclone792
05-18-2009, 01:23 PM
I must say, as a fan who lives in the eastern time zone, this is just fine by me. I imagine those folks out on the west coast may be disappointed though.

westofyou
05-18-2009, 01:25 PM
I must say, as a fan who lives in the eastern time zone, this is just fine by me. I imagine those folks out on the west coast may be disappointed though.

We're used to it, it's really no issue with me.

VR
05-18-2009, 01:28 PM
Long overdue.

I yearn for the days of daytime playoff games during the week. I haven't watched an entire World Series in some time because of the late games....and I live on the West Coast.

M2
05-18-2009, 01:32 PM
A 7:05 p.m. start would be ideal.

Like WOY said, folks out the west coast are used to it.

bucksfan2
05-18-2009, 01:32 PM
Long overdue.

I yearn for the days of daytime playoff games during the week. I haven't watched an entire World Series in some time because of the late games....and I live on the West Coast.

I haven't watched the end of a playoff game or WS game since the BoSox came back from a 3 game hole in 2004. I hardly ever stay up late to watch sporting events anymore. If the game ends by 11, which it hardly ever does, I may stay up to watch the end of it.

blumj
05-18-2009, 01:36 PM
Technology can't make the games start earlier, it can make them "start" as late as you want, at least for tv audiences. For live audiences, well, I'm not going to waste a lot of pity on WC people who have playoff tickets.

Chip R
05-18-2009, 01:43 PM
And when the games still go on past 11:30, who are they going to blame?

SunDeck
05-18-2009, 01:55 PM
Baseball = daytime.
It won't be right until I can watch a World Series game on a Saturday afternoon.

Roy Tucker
05-18-2009, 02:01 PM
I'm glad they are doing this and frankly a little surprised.

I'm sure there are still going to be games that go well past midnight, but they should be the exception. A four hour time window should cover most games. It seemed to have gotten to the point where after midnight was the norm.

westofyou
05-18-2009, 02:06 PM
Baseball = daytime.
It won't be right until I can watch a World Series game on a Saturday afternoon.
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C0CE7DB1E3FF93BA15753C1A9639C8B 63&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=all

October 28, 2005
TV SPORTS; Money Dictates That World Series Games Won't See the Light of Day
By RICHARD SANDOMIR

The World Series is over, but certain fan questions are eternal: Why can't games start earlier? Why can't there be day games? Why can't Major League Baseball take less money to put one or two games on in the daylight?

The notion that baseball -- or any sport -- would accept less money is absurd even if it is logical to those who advocate earlier games to appeal to young or dozing fans. But leagues never willingly accept less cash from the television networks; if a network wants to pay less, leagues find more willing suitors.

The flip side is that networks pay dearly to carry marquee sports that will help in prime time, but those hefty price tags must be supported by selling more commercials, which cause the length of games to bloat.

Some fans resist the idea that baseball is a prime-time entertainment product like a drama, a comedy or a reality series. Fox uses World Series games as prime-time chess pieces; the games would wield less power in the day. Prime time begins at 8 p.m. Eastern time on every day but Sunday, when it starts at 7, but Fox will not cut football (which is much costlier) to start the World Series earlier. An N.F.L. game is a most powerful lead-in.

There is nostalgia about daytime World Series games, a fuzzy feeling that returns us to the pre-Walkman, pre-iPod days of sneaking transistor radios into classrooms while feigning interest in biology. Until 1971, every World Series game was carried in the daytime, according to Nielsen Media Research; that year, one game was carried in prime time. In 1972, there were two night games, but there were three in each of the next two years. In 1975, the tide turned, and five of the seven games in the Boston-Cincinnati Series were in prime time.

From 1977 to 1984, there were two weekend day games in each Series and none during the next two years. The last one was in 1987, when the Minnesota Twins defeated the St. Louis Cardinals in a seven-game series.

Undoubtedly, games that start at 8:40 p.m. Eastern and last more than three and a half hours -- much less the 5 hours 41 minutes for Tuesday's Game 3 -- are difficult to endure, especially if they last until 2:20 a.m.

But that is an Eastern -- and potent -- bias. According to Nielsen, 54.3 million TV households, or 49 percent of the 110 million in the country, are in the Eastern time zone. There are 31.9 million TV homes in the Central time zone, where the White Sox and the Astros make their homes; 6.7 million in the Mountain zone; and 16.7 million in the Pacific.

Fans in the Central, Mountain and Pacific zones deserve courtesy regardless of Eastern gripes. A game that begins at 8:40 p.m. in New York starts before many potential fans are home from work in California, but it is perfect for fans in Ames, Iowa. Game 3 ended at a still-reasonable time in Spokane, Wash. And Chicagoans surely did not feel bad that their White Sox won their first World Series since 1917 at about 11:10 p.m. Central time.

But even if the start-time squawk is one that largely riles Easterners -- a complaint that is rarely made about the N.B.A. finals and N.C.A.A. men's basketball final, which both start well beyond 9 p.m. -- Fox and baseball can take modest steps to cut pre-World Series game dawdling.

Fox's pre-Game 4 hoo-ha and commercial breaks lasted nearly 16 minutes, which was followed by the introduction of the Latino Legends team, which took 12 minutes. The national anthem (1:34) gave way to more commercials (3:40), an on-air preview by Joe Buck and Tim McCarver (3:22), still more commercials (3:07) and another 1:16 of preview and chatter until the first pitch was thrown at about 8:40 p.m.

That's quite fatty. The baseball pregame routine continues to be a pedestrian effort that seems to exist as a repository for commercials. Cut it to a few minutes, then move to the first pitch by paring the announcers' preview talk.

Ideally, you could cut the tradition of player introductions, but they only delay the first pitch twice a Series. Special events like the Game 4 introduction of the Latino Legends team are rare but consume time; it would have been best to use it as the entirety of the pregame program and as a perfect lead-in to an 8:19 or 8:20 start time. Back in 1981, games started at 8:13.

In 1959, when the White Sox lost, such considerations mattered little. The six day games in Chicago and Los Angeles ran an average of 2:30. After Game 6, Vin Scully interviewed the celebrating Dodgers in their clubhouse and asked Gil Hodges if it was more memorable to win that Series or the one the Dodgers won in 1955, before they left their ancestral Brooklyn home.

Hodges chose the '59 Series ''because it came a lot sooner,'' he said on NBC's telecast. A soundtrack of it is available on tapes made by Archival Television Audio in Albertson, N.Y. ''You know, we were just out in Los Angeles, this is our second year, and we won a World Series already, and it took us umpteen years up until 1955 to win a World Series for Brooklyn.''

VR
05-18-2009, 02:07 PM
I'd much rather miss the first couple innings of a game, or quarter of football/ basketball....rather than the last part because it runs so late.

With the advent of DVR, they are making a conscious choice to have me miss all their ads....because I blow through it the next day...if it was a good finish. Otherwise, not interested.

cumberlandreds
05-18-2009, 02:23 PM
A 7:05 p.m. start would be ideal.

Like WOY said, folks out the west coast are used to it.

That would be best, a 7:05 start. But this is a step in the right direction. Next try to get either a Sunday or Saturday game in the afternoon. I know,fat chance of that happening.

dfs
05-18-2009, 03:01 PM
It's a step in the right direction. It wouldn't bother me if they let the hype machine start at 7:00 and let the games begin at 7:30, but I'll take what I can get.

BCubb2003
05-18-2009, 06:07 PM
I happen to be watching the '75 series on the MLB channel, where they say the "Tonight" show will not be seen tonight due to the length of the game. Tom Snyder and the "Tomorrow" show will air 30 minutes after the conclusion of the game.

paintmered
05-18-2009, 10:52 PM
The next issue to tackle is to reduce the time between half-innings. FOX will never go for it, but a reduction of one minute per half inning would make a significant difference.

15fan
05-18-2009, 11:10 PM
So this gets the Sunday night games (2 & 7) of the WS going before the Sunday Night NFL games.

What about the Saturday night college football games? Don't those usually kick around 7:30? Starting the Sat night games (1 & 6) at 7 might make some sense.

But I agree this is a step in the right direction.

Eric_the_Red
05-19-2009, 09:13 AM
I agree that this is a good decision. So good in fact, that it seems a bit odd coming from MLB. (Almost like the Mike Brown this off-season.)

Evidently there were also discussion of day games for the World Series on weekends. Won't happen in '09, but it could in the future. :thumbup:

Degenerate39
05-19-2009, 09:14 AM
At least we'll get to watch the Reds 40 minutes sooner

bucksfan2
05-19-2009, 09:27 AM
The next issue to tackle is to reduce the time between half-innings. FOX will never go for it, but a reduction of one minute per half inning would make a significant difference.

After thinking about it, that may be more of an issue than anything else. The start is stupid, especially after having to watch Jeanne Zelasko for 40 minutes prior to the game. But my real issue is the end time. If the game ends before 11 I will probably watch the entire game, as long as it is compelling. If the game goes into 1130 or even after 12 I will be sawing logs long before the completion of the game.

What I don't understand is the "prime time" TV hours that the networks try so hard to achieve. "Prime Time" would be the hours from 8-10 correct? With the population center of America located somewhere in Indiana it would seem to assume that the majority of people in the US would fall into the Eastern and Central time zone. Not to mention the majority of MLB teams would fall into those two time zones. I would start the game at 730 as long as there wasn't a left coast team in the final. If there were two left coast teams in the WS then I wouldn't have a problem with MLB pushing the start time back to accommodate the fans. In reality the first thing MLB should try to accomplish is to get as many home town viewers as possible.