November Rain

It’s November and the hot stove league is heating up. Honestly, I’m not good at guessing who’s going where until they actually get there. When they do sign with a team, I’ll analyze.

Next year, the World Series will start on a Tuesday. Hopefully, the 2007 ratings will be a vast improvement over this year’s ratings, which were an all-time low.  Credit ABC for keeping with their fall lineup as Desperate Housewives, Dancing with the Stars and Lost drew more viewers than the World Series. Ouch for baseball. ABC had nothing to lose without Monday Night Football and stuck to their guns while other networks went with repeats.

The 2006 season saw record attendance at Major League Baseball games but depressing series ratings. I can point to a couple things

a)      Baseball is more of an attendance sport than a viewership sport.  The starts and stops of a baseball game can frustrate the neophyte baseball fan. The traditional fans will stay true to the game.

b)      Lack of a New York (AL/NL) or Boston team. Say what you will but the Yanks, Mets and Red Sox draw viewers nationwide. The Cardinals have a good fanbase and the Tigers have a loyal following but the Yanks, Mets and BoSox  draw no matter where they are-Florida, Kansas City, the moon.

c)      Start times, start times, start times. At least the 2006 World Series average game length was three hours. Still, an

8:30

first pitch East Coast Time isn’t the best way to draw outside viewers. I would like to see the East Coast ratings for the World Series. I don’t hold much hope for World Series day games in the future. Teams won’t be wild about a night game followed by a day games. I’m not sure baseball has the confidence to pull a Saturday afternoon game in the fall against college football. It should. The World Series on Sunday afternoon won’t happen since Fox has the NFL rights, wouldn’t want to conflict the two sports. Night games, I think, are here to stay

Question for the Nationals organization.  When can fans expect a fanfest like they have in other cities? This is the first offseason with an actual owner and some stability. The Nationals need to market the heck out of their product now. This means getting the ball rolling on season tickets asap, promoting a lot earlier, getting the buzz out there. I have high expectations for the Nats to promote their product better before the 2007 season even without Soriano (although I think Nationals fans will still see him when he visits either as a Phillie or Met). Sure, it will be a challenge without Soriano but it can be done. Any Nationals fan with a shred of common sense knows this will not be a contending team for at least two years. Even if they have to do the old Washington Bullets trick of promoting the other teams to sell season tickets or highlight the youth on the squad.  Guys like Cordero and Zimmerman are going to be the face of the organization for the next couple of years.

I’d be interested to hear people thoughts on their favorite MLB moment of the year.  One worthy mention is Anibal Sanchez’ no-hitter against the Diamondbacks. I recorded the game on my DVR and Byrnes was out by a hair. Great moment to watch. It’s funny to watch Joe Girardi shake hands with everyone.

National League Manager of the Year: Willie Randolph.  I don’t think they’ve ever given the Manager of the Year to a manager with a losing record (Girardi).  Randolph will likely get it based on the best regular season team by far award.

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