Stop Whining

The Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees open a three game series tonight in New York, and MLB’s national television broadcasters are positively giddy over the prospect of airing a couple of games for the biggest baseball markets in the world in prime time.

FOX will be broadcasting their Saturday night tilt at 7:00 PM EDT, while the Red Sox and Yankees Sunday night game will be on ESPN starting at 8:00 PM EDT (be sure to check out Monday morning’s Annotated Box Score).

It ends up that not everyone is as ecstatic over FOX and ESPN broadcast choices as FOX and ESPN. With Kansas City in Detroit, Philadelphia visiting Atlanta, Cincinnati and St. Louis getting together and the Angels playing the Rangers, people are suggesting that the networks are catering to the larger markets instead of showing the games with the greatest implications for the standings.

I’ve got two words for these people:

I’m sorry, but it’s the middle of May. There’s still almost five months of regular season baseball to be completed. I don’t understand how any fan of baseball who has ever been a fan of baseball before this year would be more concerned with division standings than seeing the two best teams in baseball play each other.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a fan of either team. But it drives me a little bit batty knowing that the same people complaining about this weekend’s television coverage are the exact same ones who complain about the competitive advantage that they Yankees and Red Sox get because of the size of their payrolls.

If they’re buying the best players in baseball, as a baseball fan, wouldn’t you want to see them play each other?

Not to endorse a product too heartily, but if the teams that ESPN and FOX pick to broadcast nationally is really all that upsetting to you, buy MLB.TV or the Extra Innings package and stop worrying about it.

As much as it may be artificially created by the large media following the largest baseball markets, there exists a narrative and a rivalry between the Yankees and Red Sox. And while they often don’t create the most exciting games of baseball, the intensity of the matchup for casual and die hard fans alike is far more enticing than a Royals/Tigers series, no matter where they are in the standings.

I suppose a point could be made for the Phillies / Braves series, as both teams have playoff intentions and a large national following, but even that rivalry plays second fiddle to Boston and New York. And besides, TBS will be broadcasting their Sunday afternoon game nationally anyway.

There’s also a lack of genuineness to the people complaining over FOX and ESPN’s broadcast schedule. I find it hard to believe that their proclaimed distaste is anything more than finding something to complain about, whether it’s personally offensive to them or not, and then complaining about it. I also find it highly unlikely that if given the choice between watching a Royals / Tigers game and a Red Sox / Yankees game, that those whining would honestly choose the former before the latter.

We all get it. Everyone who isn’t a Yankees and Red Sox fan hates the Yankees and Red Sox. I hate the franchises too. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t enjoy their rivalry and the players who compete for each team. And it certainly doesn’t mean that a national television viewing audience shouldn’t either.

For more reasons why complainers should stop, check out item E from a recent Annotated Box Score.