Tuesday, October 09, 2012
(Last modified: 2012-10-09 14:14:15)
 
Author: Seth Butler
Source: The Newport Plain Talk

The ending of the 2011 baseball season was exciting.

A spectacular final night of the regular season - which saw extra ordinary jockeying for postseason spots into the season's final innings, was followed up by one of the best World Series in years.

The Cardinals - who got into the 2011 postseason on the season's final day -twice were down to their final strikes, only to stave off elimination and come back to win the championship.
For the first time in a very long time, there was some genuine excitement about the sport.

Then Bud Selig got involved.

Despite having the dramatic ending on what many called the sport's best night ever, Selig decided to attempt to manufacture more drama over the offseason with an additional wild card team per league.

Nevermind the fact that this addition would've rendered the final day of the 2011 season meaningless - the decision was so shortsighted that there wasn't even enough time to get the additional wild card slot on the schedule.

Instead, the decision was pushed through which brought much calamity and made a mockery of the national pasttime.

While I realize these wild card teams did not win their division, baseball plays a long season of series for a reason.

Yet despite having the longest regular season in sports, the wise mind of Selig thought it would be a good idea for a one-game, winner-take-all, do-or-die playoff.

Makes sense, since a one-game scenario that could see one bad call, a bad day, or something wild abruptly end a team's season on a whim.

Just as what happened to the Braves on Friday night. It's as almost the commissioner never got over the Braves leaving Milwaukee.

While the Braves did their fair share and then some by committing critical error after error, their last gasp at life was ripped right from them with one bad umpire's call.

It was something that Chipper Jones mentioned he feared of the dreadful new system almost a month earlier.

"We play three-game series all the time, and we concentrate on winning those series all the time," Jones told the Atlanta Journal Constitution in September. "I think it's more fair from a standpoint that anything can happen in one game - a blown call by an umpire, a bad day at the office ... at least in a two-of-three-game series you have some sort of leeway."

Of course, that makes too much sense. You can't catch lighting in a bottle with adding in another postseason series. You have to manufacture the drama because it's all about TV ratings.

Of course, those ratings aren't still aren't very favorable.

The Nationals, which made their first postseason appearance since the early 1980s, had their opening Division Series road game hammered in the local TV market up against the Washington Redskins.

It's all because fans - especially those in the killer demographic of 18-35 - don't give a damn about Major League Baseball.

There's no wonder why, with the sport's own commissioner making a mockery of the sport he's supposed to support.

And every short-sighted, knee jerk decision he makes sure supports that.

Seth Butler is the Sports Editor of the Newport Plain Talk. You can follow him on Twitter @NPTSethButler or email him at seth.butler@newportplaintalk.com

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