Whether it matters that the World Series didn’t resonate with audiences beyond casual baseball fans is its own discussion. The lust for ratings is something that TV networks care about because they’re the ones paying for the broadcast rights. As long as the product is good, and the games and series are competitive, the rest is moot, because the point of any postseason is to watch athletes compete when the stakes are their highest.
The Texas Rangers’ run will be remembered for Adolis Garcia more so than anything else, and he missed most of the Fall Classic with a strained oblique. Neither that injury nor Max Scherzer’s mattered, like at all, and Corey Seager, who hasn’t had a bad postseason, won his second “Oh yeah, he did win a World Series MVP” World Series MVP.
Congratulations to Rangers fans on finally having a reason to shut up about 2011. I’m sure it’s been a blast hearing people complain about how boring and uncompelling these playoffs were, and since I’m going to do that right now, feel free to find another puff piece to blow smoke up your ass.
If you want to keep reading, know that I’m not going to bash the Rangers, or take anything away from their accomplishment. Being streaky isn’t a fluke; Texas proved that they can get as hot as anyone, and reignited at the perfect moment.
Alright. Moving on.
Outside of a few games in the league championship series, the winning team was evident within four or five innings, and though I don’t know who to blame for this, my gut says to default to Rob Manfred. The commissioner spent the playoffs defending his new format while trying to find fault in contemporary approaches to the game.
His sole motivation is to restore baseball to its glory days by forcing teams to play the way they did in the glory days. Never mind that bullpen games can quickly devolve into offensive slugfests — which happened in Game 4 of the WS even if Arizona’s fireworks came after Texas had a 10-0 lead — and sports leagues love offense, it’s un-American.
Old heads view three-outcome at-bats, shifts, and excessive bullpen usage as life hacks that cheapen the game. Their points are valid yet overlook the fact that modern players have been conditioned to hit, pitch, and field this way because it’s their best option against bigger, faster, stronger competition. Pandora doesn’t go back in the box, and it’s outlandish to force old philosophies onto people for the sake of stubbornness.
There has to be a better approach to the evolution of baseball. Basketball and football are trying to integrate more wide-open styles, with varying results, and though every sport presents its own set of difficulties, the NBA isn’t trying to limit three-point shots, and the NFL will never cap pass attempts.
If Manfred could mandate three slap singles per game, or reward starting pitchers for going six innings, he would. I mean if you force extra innings in the regular season, you get a free man on second, so how about when a team’s starter goes six, the bullpen only has to get two outs per inning over the final three frames?
No? That sounds like a clown show? I agree.
Baseball is at odds with itself, and instead of trying to understand why hitters struggle to see a pitcher until his third time through the lineup, they’re being told that the solution is somewhere in the history of the game. I just want to grab Manfred by the shoulders and shake the sh*t out of him.
There isn’t a new element hidden in the Howard Stark expo, Rob, so you can stop watching MLB home movies like some depressed, domineering sociopath.