Baseball Toaster Bad Altitude
Another Bummer World Series
2008-10-27 15:55
by Mark T.R. Donohue

Things could still turn around in the game tonight, but a World Series I was really looking forward to watching has kind of turned around us. Everywhere you look, it's bad news. The television ratings are beyond abysmal, aided by bad weather and dumbly scheduled start times. The umpiring has been hideously bad, from the random Greg Maddux strike zone granted Jamie Moyer (what, for every year past your fortieth birthday you get half an inch off the plate?) to the missed tag calls on the bases seemingly every other inning. Add in the young Rays tightening up in exactly the same manner the young Rockies did last Series, and you've got a Fall Classic that I'd be happy to see end today.

At least Game 3 was pretty compelling, with the Rays overcoming their complete lack of middle-of-the-order hitting to grind out runs with bunts and steals. Then they got done in by their own alleged strength, with the defense letting them down both in the ninth inning of that game and all throughout Game 4. Their young starters looked as bad as they have all postseason and Philadelphia's Rollins and Howard finally made it to the party.

The ratings are the worst news. Joe Buck spent gigantic chunks of Game 3 talking about the next day's football matchups, as if that was the only way to get viewers to tune in. How is that the headlines for baseball wallow around in this negative news like a pig rolling in slop while football writers and commentators have more or less taken a pass on addressing the fact that dozens of players have just tested positive for steroids and weight-loss medications? Baseball has a steroid epidemic, football has a few footnotes. Even when an NFL guy does mention a drug suspension, it's always just to explain how the returning offender will improve his team's play -- or worse, your fantasy team's play. I'm never going to stop being annoyed by this.

As I write this, I see the Rockies in the ESPN news crawl for the first time in months. Two items! What are they? First, they're willing to trade Matt Holliday now. That would make the team worse and save the owners a lot of money, so everything is going according to plan. Second, Luis Vizcaino, last year's "big-ticket" free-agent acquisition, was just arrested in Florida on suspicion of a DUI. This is baseball and not football, so we have to find that alarming rather than amusing.

The problem with dealing Holliday is that his agent will scare away most of the bidders for his services who could give Colorado even close to the near-MVP's value. Holliday doesn't have no-trade rights but he does have one of the best agents in the biz at getting his way, Scott Boras, and Boras will surely promise that whichever team deals for Matt must either immediately present a $100 million contract extension or else suffer the consequences. The teams in that financial position don't have the prospects, and the teams that do likely won't give them up for a clear one-year rental. I think the Rockies might be best-off hanging on to Holliday until midseason, where they can exact more punishment in a panic trade. Or I suppose it's remotely likely that they could be having a good season, though I'm not holding my breath.

2008-10-27 18:21:10
1.   das411
And yet nobody at Fox has yet equated "Buck and McCarver" = "Bad Ratings"...

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