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Thread: Fox and MLB don't mind WS games that end after midnight... But fans do

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    RZ Chamber of Commerce Unassisted's Avatar
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    Fox and MLB don't mind WS games that end after midnight... But fans do

    http://www.ajc.com/blogs/content/sha...ason_base.html

    Postseason baseball games too slow to keep interest

    Sunday, October 28, 2007, 06:19 PM
    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

    Mark Bradley


    Denver ó I love postseason baseball ó in theory. The reality is rather different. I donít love nine-inning games that begin at 8:36 p.m. EDT and end 4 hours and 19 minutes later. Saturday nightís Game 3 had a lot of things to keep you interested ó a big Red Sox surge, a big Colorado comeback, a clinching Boston countermove ó but how many in the Eastern Time Zone (outside New England, that is) stayed up to watch?

    The first World Series game I ever saw in person was Game 1 in 1972 at Cincinnatiís Riverfront Stadium. The Oakland Aís beat the Reds 3-2. Gene Tenace hit home runs his first two times up. Vida Blue worked 2 1/3 innings in relief and earned the save. Jackie Robinson, who would die 10 days later, threw out the first ball. Time of that game: 2 hours and 18 minutes.

    I ask myself: If I were 17 years old today, would I have the patience to watch ó or, to use a more pejorative word, endure ó postseason baseball? Would games that never run less than three hours and often run past midnight hold my interest the way the games did in my formative years?

    My answer: No way.

    USA Today ran a story last week on the glacial pace of October baseball, and it noted that, contrary to what many of us believe, the overlords of MLB and Fox TV donít mind if games last until tomorrow. ďUp to midnight with a close game,Ē consultant Neal Pilson was quoted as saying, ďthat makes network executives sleep well.Ē

    Why? Because, according to USA Today, research indicates viewers often turn to baseball after watching prime-time shows, which end at 11 p.m. in the East. But letís think about that: The target audience for baseballís showcase event has become the audience that doesnít really care much for baseball? Is that how far Americaís former pastime has fallen?

    Clearly the game has changed from the days of Gene Tenace and Vida Blue, to say nothing of Joe DiMaggio and Al Gionfriddo. The ability to take pitches has become, to many organizations, as great a skill as the ability to hit pitches.

    There were 339 pitches thrown in Game 3, and when you added all that to Foxís 35-minute pregame show and its three-minute commercial breaks between half-innings, you wound up with the longest nine-inning game in World Series history.

    And thatís too much for the casual viewer, too much for even the truly interested viewer. When the NFL saw its games running ever longer, it moved to have its 40-second clock start on the whistle that ends a play and to let the game clock restart after a player runs out of bounds (except in the last two minutes of the first half and the last five minutes of the second). The NFL, which has long been the gold standard for sports as a product, was smart enough to grasp that in a world where everything moves faster, it made no sense to go slower.

    Baseball being baseball, it hasnít gotten the memo. It hasnít demanded that Fox start games earlier or cut pregame shows in half. It canít do anything to keep batters from taking pitches, but it could do more to keep the games moving. It could preclude batters from stepping out and readjusting each article of clothing after every pitch. It could put pitchers on a pitch clock. (The idea has been floated in years past, but it needs to be more than floated now.)

    The first World Series game I ever attended took 2 hours and 1 minute less than the one I witnessed here Saturday night.

    Think about that. Iíve been thinking about it all day, and I have to confess: If I hadnít been getting paid, I wouldnít have watched Game 3 to the end. Lifeís too short. As Lenny Megliola of the Metro West Daily Post said when the official time of 4:19 was announced, ďMy first marriage didnít last that long.Ē
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  3. #2
    Big Red Machine RedsBaron's Avatar
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    Re: Fox and MLB don't mind WS games that end after midnight... But fans do

    I would prefer to have some World Series games, at least those on a Saturday, played in the daytime, and I'd definitely like for the first pitch in night games to be thrown no later than 8:05 EST. A 35 minute pregame show, with the game beginning after 8:35, is unnecessary.
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    Redsmetz redsmetz's Avatar
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    Re: Fox and MLB don't mind WS games that end after midnight... But fans do

    I have yet to see a post-season game in its entirety. I have gone to bed (or fallen asleep on the couch and then gone to bed) for everyone of them - and that's only the games that have been on FOX because I don't have cable.

    This has been a slow, slow, slow series. I can't believe this is helpful to inducing more fans - let alone hanging on to the ones they still have. I'm going to start watching this one while I fold towels and then try on my winter shirts and then who knows. I know I won't see the end. Five fifteen comes really early most days!
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    Big Red Machine RedsBaron's Avatar
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    Re: Fox and MLB don't mind WS games that end after midnight... But fans do

    How smart is it for MLB to have its games telecast at an hour when the next generation of fans are asleep?
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    The Big Dog mth123's Avatar
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    Re: Fox and MLB don't mind WS games that end after midnight... But fans do

    Quote Originally Posted by redsmetz View Post
    I have yet to see a post-season game in its entirety. I have gone to bed (or fallen asleep on the couch and then gone to bed) for everyone of them - and that's only the games that have been on FOX because I don't have cable.

    This has been a slow, slow, slow series. I can't believe this is helpful to inducing more fans - let alone hanging on to the ones they still have. I'm going to start watching this one while I fold towels and then try on my winter shirts and then who knows. I know I won't see the end. Five fifteen comes really early most days!
    No kidding. The long and late games coupled with the drawn out process with unnecessary off days has really killed any momentum that this post season could have potentially had. Though I didn't get to watch much, I was intrigued by the Rockies story until the long lay-off. By the time the series started I really didn't care much. The Red Sox big comeback was kind of a good story even if you aren't a Sox fan, but I have to wonder whether the extra time off allowed them to set-up their pitching and helped thier chances.

    This is the worst post-season in my memory and it really had potential to be pretty good. I just hope the Sox win tonight and get it over with. The Free Agent filing period, the Mitchell report and the winter meetings all promise to be more intriguing than what Baseball provided this post-season. I really can't remember a time when I cared so little about the World Series. Its just been something to kill some time this year.
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    Re: Fox and MLB don't mind WS games that end after midnight... But fans do

    It's truly ridiculous. Think about the kids. They may get to see 30 minutes or 60 minutes before they have to go sleep.

    I agree, the games should not start any later than 8:05 and I really think it should be in the 7:35 range, though I can understand it being slightly later.

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    Rally Onion! Chip R's Avatar
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    Re: Fox and MLB don't mind WS games that end after midnight... But fans do

    Not a bad article. He makes some good points. He did exaggerate in saying the commercials last three minutes when in fact it's only two minutes and 30 seconds. I am glad to see someone give the main reason why the games are lasting so long. It's because these teams see a lot of pitches. There's nothing wrong with starting a game at 8:30. If I've said it once, I've said it a hundred times, ever since they started showing post season games at night, they have started after 8:00. Even a three hour game, when started at 8:30, will only last till 11:30.
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    Mon chou Choo vaticanplum's Avatar
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    Re: Fox and MLB don't mind WS games that end after midnight... But fans do

    Quote Originally Posted by mth123 View Post
    No kidding. The long and late games coupled with the drawn out process with unnecessary off days has really killed any momentum that this post season could have potentially had. Though I didn't get to watch much, I was intrigued by the Rockies story until the long lay-off. By the time the series started I really didn't care much. The Red Sox big comeback was kind of a good story even if you aren't a Sox fan, but I have to wonder whether the extra time off allowed them to set-up their pitching and helped thier chances.

    This is the worst post-season in my memory and it really had potential to be pretty good. I just hope the Sox win tonight and get it over with. The Free Agent filing period, the Mitchell report and the winter meetings all promise to be more intriguing than what Baseball provided this post-season. I really can't remember a time when I cared so little about the World Series. Its just been something to kill some time this year.
    I completely agree. Last night was the first time I made it to the end of a World Series game, and that was only because I was half lit. Didn't make it through all the League Series games either. That's never happened to me before. it's been tough in the past, but I've done it. And the extra off days have been ridiculous. I sincerely hope they chalk that up to a failed experiment and can it next year.

    I think 8:30 is too late to start a game, and I don't care if night games have always started this late before. There should be some kind of balance, either a) mix it up with day games here and there, b) start earlier (even starting at 8 would make a big difference; throw the pregame show on at 7:15 or 7:30), and/or c) figure out a way to afford commercial breaks between every inning, not every half inning. Do a 30-second fluff piece on a player sponsored by Kodak moments rather than 2:30 of commercials mid-inning. I realize that probably wouldn't make a huge difference in terms of time (that's 18 minutes a game I guess) but it would keep up the pace of the game much better.
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    Re: Fox and MLB don't mind WS games that end after midnight... But fans do

    MLB must do something about this. The games are unwatchable. It's bad for kids and it's bad for adults. Mostly, it's bad for baseball. The NL playoffs weren't too bad, but the AL games and World Series have been ridiculously slow and long.

    There needs to be a "24 second clock" type requirement for pitchers. Even in the NFL teams are penalized for delays. And batters shouldn't be able to delay by stepping out too much. Similarly, baseball should limit the amount of time between half innings -- allowing for commercials but not too much time.

    Visits to the mound should be limited in duration.

    As for the late starting time, an 8:20 pm EDT start isn't too bad if the game is over in 3 hours.

    These changes are needed for both the playoffs and the regular season. Games are way too long. But this post-season has been ridiculous.
    Last edited by Kc61; 10-28-2007 at 09:26 PM.

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    Re: Fox and MLB don't mind WS games that end after midnight... But fans do

    The only problem with these games starting at 8:30 is that they are lasting so long. If they got over by 11, no one would be complaining. Even if they started that game last night at 8 it would have gone till 12:30. We also have to remember that the games start at 8:30 in only part of the country. Unfortunately it has to be our part of the country but these games are starting at 5:30 in L.A. and Portland and San Francisco. These people have TVs too and they like to watch games just like we do. Fox is a national network. That means they have to take all parts of the country under consideration and not just the Eastern time zone. The only complaints your are hearing about the stating times are from people in the Eastern time zone.

    I wouldn't mind seeing some weekend games in the afternoon but I'm sure MLB and Fox don't want to compete with college football and the NFL. I don't think they moved the weekend games to night just to annoy us. They probably figured out that their ratings were suffering because of the competition with football so they moved it to nights. Notice that there is no Sunday night NFL game on tonight.

    I know it's not romantic or poetic to talk about ratings and commercials and networks and Bud Selig but that's the deal with the devil you have to make in order to have MLB be successful. If they don't get their money from Fox and the advertisers, they are going to get it from the fans.
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    The Big Dog mth123's Avatar
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    Re: Fox and MLB don't mind WS games that end after midnight... But fans do

    Quote Originally Posted by Chip R View Post
    The only problem with these games starting at 8:30 is that they are lasting so long. If they got over by 11, no one would be complaining. Even if they started that game last night at 8 it would have gone till 12:30. We also have to remember that the games start at 8:30 in only part of the country. Unfortunately it has to be our part of the country but these games are starting at 5:30 in L.A. and Portland and San Francisco. These people have TVs too and they like to watch games just like we do. Fox is a national network. That means they have to take all parts of the country under consideration and not just the Eastern time zone. The only complaints your are hearing about the stating times are from people in the Eastern time zone.

    I wouldn't mind seeing some weekend games in the afternoon but I'm sure MLB and Fox don't want to compete with college football and the NFL. I don't think they moved the weekend games to night just to annoy us. They probably figured out that their ratings were suffering because of the competition with football so they moved it to nights. Notice that there is no Sunday night NFL game on tonight.

    I know it's not romantic or poetic to talk about ratings and commercials and networks and Bud Selig but that's the deal with the devil you have to make in order to have MLB be successful. If they don't get their money from Fox and the advertisers, they are going to get it from the fans.
    I understand the ratings thing. I haven't seen any reports, but I wonder how good the ratings can be when hard core fans like the ones on this board don't even care. For the record, I'm watching a re-run of an old movie tonight and only flipping over to the game during commercials.
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    Re: Fox and MLB don't mind WS games that end after midnight... But fans do

    Quote Originally Posted by Chip R View Post
    The only problem with these games starting at 8:30 is that they are lasting so long. If they got over by 11, no one would be complaining. Even if they started that game last night at 8 it would have gone till 12:30. We also have to remember that the games start at 8:30 in only part of the country. Unfortunately it has to be our part of the country but these games are starting at 5:30 in L.A. and Portland and San Francisco. These people have TVs too and they like to watch games just like we do. Fox is a national network. That means they have to take all parts of the country under consideration and not just the Eastern time zone. The only complaints your are hearing about the stating times are from people in the Eastern time zone.

    I wouldn't mind seeing some weekend games in the afternoon but I'm sure MLB and Fox don't want to compete with college football and the NFL. I don't think they moved the weekend games to night just to annoy us. They probably figured out that their ratings were suffering because of the competition with football so they moved it to nights. Notice that there is no Sunday night NFL game on tonight.

    I know it's not romantic or poetic to talk about ratings and commercials and networks and Bud Selig but that's the deal with the devil you have to make in order to have MLB be successful. If they don't get their money from Fox and the advertisers, they are going to get it from the fans.
    They could cut the time between innings and make up the revenue with higher ad rates if they could keep games short and ratings high. Unfortunately, they've let more ads creep into the game and it's really slowed things down. It's going to be difficult to close Pandora's box on that one.

    I think they should really stagger the start times so that some games start earlier and some later. The Eastern Time Zone is still the one with the most viewers. Start some games early and some games late.
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    Rally Onion! Chip R's Avatar
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    Re: Fox and MLB don't mind WS games that end after midnight... But fans do

    Quote Originally Posted by mth123 View Post
    I understand the ratings thing. I haven't seen any reports, but I wonder how good the ratings can be when hard core fans like the ones on this board don't even care. For the record, I'm watching a re-run of an old movie tonight and only flipping over to the game during commercials.
    The ratings for Game 1 this year were way up from Game 1 of last year. Of course you have to take into consideration that Game 1 this year was on Wednesday night and last year it was on Saturday.

    Now would you be watching this movie if the Series was 2-1 and the games had all been close? I can fully understand people not wanting to watch the Series when one team has a 3-0 lead and has dominated throughout.
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    Mon chou Choo vaticanplum's Avatar
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    Re: Fox and MLB don't mind WS games that end after midnight... But fans do

    Quote Originally Posted by Chip R View Post
    The only problem with these games starting at 8:30 is that they are lasting so long. If they got over by 11, no one would be complaining. Even if they started that game last night at 8 it would have gone till 12:30. We also have to remember that the games start at 8:30 in only part of the country. Unfortunately it has to be our part of the country but these games are starting at 5:30 in L.A. and Portland and San Francisco. These people have TVs too and they like to watch games just like we do. Fox is a national network. That means they have to take all parts of the country under consideration and not just the Eastern time zone. The only complaints your are hearing about the stating times are from people in the Eastern time zone.
    There is no real solution to the time zone thing. From a human standpoint, I feel sorry for the people on the West Coast who get shafted a lot, but from a marketing/network standpoint, they are clearly marketing to the East Coast anyway, which makes sense as it's the most baseball-centric part of the nation. It is always a prime time start geared towards Eastern time. The West Coast is slightly screwed no matter what; whether the game starts at 6 or 9 Eastern, it's always going to be work/rush hour time (the latter particularly for major markets such as LA). The two middle time zones kind of luck out by default, but I have trouble believing that's the network's intention. The East Coast ratings are what they're aiming for to begin with.

    I was in LA at the beginning of the playoffs and I missed a few starts, but it was really nice to see the ends of the games, I have to say. And some of them bordered up on bedtime there as it was.
    Last edited by vaticanplum; 10-28-2007 at 10:30 PM. Reason: mixing up of coasts
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    Re: Fox and MLB don't mind WS games that end after midnight... But fans do

    Why can't play off games start at the same time as the regular season? Most people aren't watching the pregame show, they are just putting the tv on so they don't miss the start. I don't see how making the games start later gets anyone who wasn't going to be watching at 7.
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