Saturday, August 1, 2009

Riverside Rant of the Week: Screw you, MLB

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Let's play the "Team A vs. Team B Hidden Identity" game, shall we? I'm going to list the profiles of two different teams, and you tell me which squad deserves more attention on national TV as we hit the dog days of August, cool? Cool.

____________________________Team A________________Team B
Current record_____________
57-47__________________52-52
Division rank______________T-2nd__________________3rd
Its division leader has...______Best record in MLB________12th-best record in MLB
Playoff standing____________Co-wild card leader________3 games out of division lead Playoff years since 2005______1______________________1
World Series since 2005______1______________________0
ESPN.com Power Ranking____11______________________19
Team payroll rank__________21st ($72.4 mil)___________23rd ($67.6 mil)
Census population rank______16th largest______________15th largest
*all statistics as of Aug. 1

So you've got the A team that's five games ahead of the B team, is sitting in a playoff spot, and plays in a much more competitive division. Both teams have appeared in the playoffs recently, but only Team A has been to a World Series during that trip. Team A is also eight spots ahead of Team B in the latest ESPN.com rankings. The two teams have similar payrolls and play in similar TV markets (so, this is not a Boston vs. Tampa situation where the markets are vastly different.)

So, you'd obviously think that Team A should be on national television much more than Team B, right? Guess what, guys and gals: Team B is going to be on national television FOUR TIMES this month. Team A? Once. ONCE. And that's only if you consider MLB Network national television - in fact, that lone game is against the Cubs, whose games are mostly on WGN or Comcast Sportsnet anyway. But the point is, Team A will not appear on Fox, TBS or ESPN in August.

Go ahead and guess the two teams' identities. While you're mulling it over, here's a fun picture that'll make you laugh. Look real closely at the text graphic at the bottom:


Haha, Mark Buehrle's a stud! Hitting hos all over the place. Anyway, Team A is, of course, my beloved Rockies. Team B is Minnesota, which has a couple of stud players in Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau and has been a perennially successful team. But sorry Twin Cities, your team being on national TV four times in August kind of makes me want to barf.

Think I'm being too harsh on Minny? Fine. In fact, I just as easily could have played this game with the Atlanta Braves (53-51, 3rd place, 13th power rank, no playoffs since 2005, and 21st-largest media market - all weaker than the Rockies). Atlanta will be shown to America five times this year. Hope the U.S. likes old guys named Chipper and bespectacled catchers, because that's about all there is to like about the team that TBS deemed not attractive enough to continue following.

Then you've got Boston (eight times), which has officially replaced the Yankees as America's SUDAT Team (Shove Us Down America's Throat). Yanks are on five times since YES just isn't enough; Cubs are on five times, thank goodness they didn't tank; Mets and their sub-.500 record are on four times; Philly and the Dodgers are each on five times, understandable considering the defending champs and current top record and baseball are among those two.

But actually, you have no idea how glad I am that the Cleveland Indians take their 43-61 record to a national stage twice during this pivotal month. That's right, 43-61. No, really, I was so pumped when I saw I'd get two chances to watch a team that decided "you know what? let's just spit on our fans by letting go of a Cy Young winner and an All-Star catcher who swings both ways and can also play first base when not behind the dish. Who needs 'em?"

Oh, and you've got the Reds on twice too. You know, the 45-58 Reds who have been "just one year away" for about 28 years. And then, the Royals. The same Royals that are 23 games under .500. Yep, they were on Fox today. I'm sure their 14 fans were thrilled.

By the way, Cleveland, Cincinnati and Kansas City are 18th, 25th and 27th on the media market list. All lower than Denver. None of those franchises are higher than 15th on the league's payroll list. None of those cities has more than three teams in the four major pro sports, either (Cincy and KC have just two each - no hockey or hoops). Last I checked, Denver has four.

I think you get my drift. It continues to be absolutely deplorable that Major League Baseball and the networks that carry the product ignore the Colorado Rockies. Absolutely deplorable. Honestly, that's an understatement. I'd use better vernacular to describe this fact if I possessed it...or if I wanted to allow successive expletives on my blog.

What's funny is, the Nuggets were on national TV 19 times this year. 19! That's a quarter of their games!!! And they hadn't won a playoff round in a couple decades until this season! So we know the NBA department at ESPN can find Denver on a map. Besides, the Broncos have always received more than their share of attention in the past, and when the NHL was hot, the Avs were one of the three or four premier teams in the league. Apparently, the MLB department needs the heads-up that yes, hardball is played in the Rocky Mountains.

That's all I gotta say. Makes me wanna puke.

-AJ

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