BOB:  World Series ratings and playoff expansion

World Series ratings a mixed bag

You have to love the spin here. MLB’s last press release on the final television numbers showed an average of 14.27 million tuning in. Instead of comparing this to last year, they compare it to 2008 when “teams of similarly combined market size” played. Compared to 2008, the numbers were up 5 percent.

These numbers were actually down a bit compared to what came in after the fourth game. After Game 4, the overall television draw was down but the percentage gain was higher at 8 percent.

Expanded playoffs getting a look

Bud Selig is now talking about expanding the playoffs from eight teams to 10, saying “It’s more fair then eight.” There were no details on how this would be accomplished but it looks like there would be a wild card round that would consist of either one game or a best-of-threed series.

I have mixed feelings on this. My initial reaction is that they’re going in the wrong direction and diluting the playoffs. It wasn’t that long ago when four teams got in. Now you’re talking about potentially the 10th best team making the playoffs and having a shot at winning it all. On the other hand, adding another wild card team would make the race like we had with the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays a little more interesting because the division winner would have a leg up and not have to play that first series.

Cactus League could cash in on World Series

I didn’t recognize this until I saw this story, but this was just the fourth time in history that we’ve had a World Series with just Cactus League teams. With the event, the Cactus League is anticipating a boon at the box office this spring when the now 15 teams kick off their season.

Attendance was down last year with 1.47 million fans coming out to Cactus League games. This was down from 2009’s 1.58 million but in that year, the league set a record. In a bit of trivia, only five Cactus League teams have won the World Series in the past 30 years.

Dodgers go after Brooklyn Restaurant

You’d think the Los Angeles Dodgers would have their hands full at the moment but they’ve filed an official complaint with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office over a logo that was developed by Brooklyn Burger, a hamburger restaurant in Brooklyn, N.Y. A team lawyer for the ballclub claims the Dodgers still own the trademark to the distinctive cursive Brooklyn lettering and that there’s a chance that people frequenting the restaurant will think they’re affiliated with the team.

The restaurant’s owner, Alan Buxbaum, had his trademark approved earlier in the year so it’ll be interesting to see if this one ends up in court. Apparently he has his bases covered because even Buxbaum’s lawyer said the Dodgers’ trademark covers only apparel and not food.

The charitable side of Minor League Baseball

If you’re interested in the business of baseball, Ben Hill’s Minoring in Business is a must read. His latest column looks at the Cedar Rapids Kernels and all they’ve done in the local community. In 2008, the area was devastated by a flood and the team reached out by allowing the local community to use their ballpark as a command center for the team. An offshoot of this generosity came when Minor League Baseball then donated $25,000 to the local Boys and Girls Club.

Not content with just the money from the league, the Kernels went on to raise even more funds and they eventually formed the League of Dreams, a baseball league for at-risk kids in the area. There’s a few other examples of how minor league teams are pitching in so be sure to check out the full column.

Harlem looks to rename city street in honor of Willie Mays

Prior to their victory in the 2010, the Giants’ last World Series came way back in 1954 when the team still resided in New York. Harlem wants to recognize Willie Mays for his contributions both to that 1954 team and his time in New York by renaming a street in his honor. There’s just one problem.

The New York city council’s first rule as far as the requirements for naming streets is that they can only be named for people who have passed away. Mays is alive and well but that’s not going to stop the local attempt at pushing it through. At this point, it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen until Mr. Mays passes away which hopefully isn’t for some time.

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  1. Erik said...

    I love the fact there are less teams than the other sports.  If anything I would like only 4 teams to get in.

    NHL NBA regular seasons are pretty much meaningless.

    Dont dilute the playoffs Bud!

  2. Paul E said...

    Get back to two divisions in each league and one playoff teams from each division. Let those teams play a best of 9 (3-4-2), and eliminate off days not related to travel. Making the WS 11 games (3-5-3) will force teams to use four starting pitchers and reduce “luck” from the winning equation. MLB still will a potential 28 post-season games…let them play the Japanese League champ indoors for another 9 games. This would make for a potential 37 post-season games (versus current 41). Selig will become a global brand (WOOOOHoooo)
      What makes MLB unique is the fact that 162 games more often than not produces a “best” team in first place. Let’s see that team advance w/o the wild card, hot-in-September-86 game winners, as an impediment…
      The NFL plays 16 games and employs “socialist” regular season scheduling into their equation to get as many teams as possible into contention…let THEM invite an excess of teams to THEIR playoffs

  3. Kent said...

    Ratings: I know it’s a personal view of friends, family, acquaintances, but people were watching the WS and play-offs.  Maybe not whole games, but people (homes, bars, restaurants, etc) were flipping channels between football and baseball throughout the WS and play-offs.

    Wild Card:  Expand it by one and have a one game play-off between both Wild Card teams (home field to the best record of the two).  The winner expends a top pitcher, possibly travels, and then has to go to play the league’s top team.  In short:  Add a team, but increase the difficulty for a non-division winner. 

    Season:  Keep 162 and make just “a little” less money.  Have expanded rosters (say 27) and play a more double headers throughout the season.  Make this especially so during the week and make one of those games 1/2 price if one’s over, say, 60 or $5 (or $1) if one’s under, say, 10.  Keep the games and get the season over by late September.  Get the play-offs off and running and over before Halloween.

    Love MLB!

  4. Nick C said...

    I like the idea of another wild card team, but having to play the other in one game to see who goes to the DS.

    I know it doesn’t always work out this way, but take this year for example in the NL. Atlanta limps in to the playoffs not because they were the 4th best team in the league, but due to being one the best at the start of the season. They would have had to play the Padres to get in, who had a horrible slide, but were probably one of the top 4 teams in the NL this year.

    It would also make the AL a little more interesting.

    However, besides the afore mentioned plan I don’t want the playoff system to become something so large that the season is meaningless.

  5. Davor said...

    Walk like a Sabermetrician blog analyzed wild cards several weeks ago. First wild card is usually second or third best team in the league, and on average they win 93 games (the worst division winner wins on average 90 games). Second wild card would mostly be 5th best team, a bit worse than the worst division winner. This system would put into playoffs team worse than other participants, in some cases third team in the division, and penalize possibly the second best team. Not good.

  6. Groucho Lennonist said...

    I agree with Paul E. – those dang socialists are everywhere! We gotta root ‘em out where they be! Too many NFL types runnin’ ‘round expandin’ playoffs an’ bloatin’ schedules! Pretty soon we all be in chains!

  7. Brian Borawski said...

    Great stuff guys.  I just wish they’d let the 162 regular season mean more.  I know the expanded playoffs add more flash, but there was a reason they did it they way did before 1969.

  8. Juancho said...

    Two leagues. Two divisions in each, seven teams in the AL and eight in the NL. The four division winners make it, as do the teams with the third and fourth best records in each league as wild-cards. The division champion with the better record plays the wild-card with the worse record in each league, and the two and three seeds play each other.

    Possible problem: Central teams will never make the playoffs if they don’t have their own division.

  9. LT said...

    @ Paul E:  86 game winner wild card teams may come out of the senior circuit, but lets face it, not bloody likely to happen in the AL anytime soon.

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