There have been extra-inning games, upsets, various styles of play.
There have been teams from big markets and small.
There has been good pitching, clutch hitting, strategy, upsets and rallies.
And there have been lousy TV ratings for the most riveting postseason, round for round, in recent baseball history.
There is too much sports competition on TV. There are too many pitching changes, hitters climbing out of batter's boxes, throws to first base to hold runners, long counts. A sport that begins in March should be over before late October.
But the worst impediment to good ratings is that the baseball postseason is less organized than a rec-center league. With its play-in rounds, multi-initial intermediate-round tongue twisters (is this the ALDS or is it the NLCS?), various series lengths (best-of-one, best-of-five, best-of-seven), baseball gives its fans too much brain-work just to figure out who is playing where, when and why.
Beyond that, the pre-World Series rounds are televised by every network but Comedy Central. Then, after the World Series teams are settled, baseball waits around for a formally scheduled Game 1, losing any momentum of their league-championship series.
People crave clarity in their postseasons. Baseball should have three best-of-five series in each league, oddly enough labeled --- wait for it --- “first round”, “second round” and “third round.” Minimize the air-quote travel days. There should be one network responsible for televising each league's tournament.
The World Series, which must remain at best-of-seven, should return to its former format, with the home-field advantage alternating between the American and National League each year. Flood the market with brackets, encouraging office pools.
Make it fun, not a job to watch a game.
And how about your Hans and your Franz making a comeback? Dreams do come true.
Twice in this high school football season --- once in New Jersey, once in Pennsylvania --- a program has been shut down when it was found that unacceptable hazing of players had gone insufficiently policed.
Talk about jumping offside …
Fire the coach, if guilty. Sandblast the coaching staff. Change athletic director. Question the principal. By all means, run the hazers off the team --- and if some of their reported misdeeds are true, have them arrested. Punish the guilty. But don't punish everyone else.
To discontinue a football program because of the infiltration of thugs is to let the thugs win. Why should the band be denied an audience? Why should the cheerleaders have to pack away the megaphones for the season? Why should the opposing teams be left without opponents? Why should the people who may make a buck on high school football --- security guards, media sorts, referees, trainers, doctors, scoreboard operators, nearby pizza-joint owners, cops on OT--- be hit financially? Why should the fans be made to find something else to do?
There is always another qualified coach. There should be enough capable non-guilty players. Put them out there. Let them compete.
Bullies like to ruin things for others. In those two cases, they did.
Should I get a tattoo on the left side of my neck or the right side?
Notre Dame lost a football game to Florida State last weekend when an apparent eleventh-hour touchdown reception was overturned. Said the refs, the Fighting Irish had used an illegal pick play in order to free their receiver to catch the pass.
Good for the officials.
Good for two reasons.
One, they did not retreat into the sick “let the players decide the game” excuse to not throw a flag so late in the game. If it is a penalty during the first minute of the game, it's one in the last one, too.
Two, the play appeared to be sneaky and deliberate, the kind that too many college football and basketball teams try (and in some places are taught) in an effort to deceive the officials.
The penalty was correct. The proper team won the game --- a game not decided by the officials at all.
Get Duck Dynasty?
As the Union was finishing up its fourth non-playoff season in its five-year existence, CEO Nick Sakiewicz insisted that he did not hire one player, not one, not a striker, not a midfielder, not a goalie. That, he said, was the job of the personnel department and, by extension, the manager, Jim Curtin.
His claim was not universally saluted, just put it that way.
But just like when the Flyers make their bi-annual coaching change and Ed Snider insists that it was all the general manager's call, it would be interesting to do some forensic science on the Union's roster building and see how many of the CEO's fingerprints would be revealed under a black light.
Even Sakiewicz acknowledges some ultimate responsibility for every personnel move.
“Well,” he said, “I didn't veto any.”
n The Sixers will play their home opener Saturday night against Miami. They'll probably lose. But for one reason, the games should be more enjoyable this season: The new lighting that Josh Harris helped finance for the Wells Fargo Center. On display in the preseason, they brightened the court and darkened the seating areas, allowing for more of a grand-stage effect. Together they light.
U.S. District Judge Michael Shipp ruled this week that major sports leagues, including the NFL, would suffer permanent harm if Monmouth Park were to accept legal sports bets.
Yep, let some guys from Jersey to go into a legalized gambling hall and bet on a football game and that would be it for pro football in this nation. It would die. It probably wouldn't even make it until the Monday night game, that's how damaging it would be. They'd have to turn the Jets-Giants stadium into a used-car lot. The Linc would become a high-school lacrosse super-site.
Whew. That was close. The last thing the world needs is gambling at Monmouth Park.