So it was. Five games played over six nights. Five fairly excruciating baseball games with limited interest. I, for one, had hoped for more, but expected what was delivered. Fox execs looked for some stories in the pile, but there was little there. No scandal, no curses, no nothing. My only hope lie in the prospect of watching the network capture Detroit manger Jim Leyland cooking butts in the dugout like an expectant father. But regrettably, Leyland seems to have given up this hobby.
Joe Buck and Tim McCarver, both carrying an intimate appreciation of, and deeply rooted history with, the Cardinals, kept the homerism to a minimum. Buck’s isms and McCarver’s coiffure were both subjects well mined by yours truly during last season’s Fall Classic, but nothing at all was special this year. In fact, with the one exception of pre/post game hostess Jeannie Zelasko’s continued transformation into a ‘60s-era southern Beauty queen wannabe (or ‘70s glam rocker), there was just nothing here. Given that this WS featured the lowest ratings in the history of the broadcast, it would appear that I was not alone.
In the interest of full disclosure, I had planned to contribute at the very least a few words to this very space at the conclusion of each game. But having watched the first three, I felt the effort would be forced. Forced when trying to feed a fois gras goose = good. Forced when writing semi-comic musings on network sports coverage = bad.
Fox built their network on sports. The NFL delivered affiliates galore, and NASCAR has opened doors to a whole new cross-section of cross promotion.Major League Baseball, fed by the reignited Red Sox/Yankees rivalry and interleague play, continues to enjoy some solid numbers and exposure during the season, but will the network continue to push the World Series? How much longer will viewers patiently wait for all new episodes of Bones and ’Til Death, all the while hairshirting their way through punchless lineups and throwing errors? Contract, schmontract. If there’s a way out of broadcasting next year’s barnburner featuring the Twins against the Diamondbacks, you can bet they’ll find it.
Then again, if the Cubs play the Yankees next October, Prison Break will have to wait.
By Guest Blogger Jim “Mr. Blogtober” Cheney