I was planning on having my first contribution to the Texas Triangle Trio be about the Mavs seeing as though I have season tickets in the ultra exclusive vantage point of section 313, row L. That will have to wait though, as I cannot remain silent concerning an affliction that has struck many a MLB team in the Wild Card era and is hitting the Rangers hard this year, terrible game times.
95-67, best record in the American League and the second best record in team history. 95-67, a season to celebrate and be proud of. 95-67, new additions overperforming, even with big money players battling health issues. 95-67, home field for games 1 and 2. 95-67, games time of 3:30 pm and noon on weekdays…
Unless the goal of the networks and MLB is to rouse Rougie Odor out of bed so early that he just instinctively punches Bautista in the face, I question the forward thinking of these start times.
I’m not naive. TV money is the backbone of MLB, we know that, but what about making sure there’s a TV audience for MLB to cash in on a decade or two from now? Teams that lack a long a tradition of winning, but have had excellent recent success should be rewarded and promoted, not punished for that success. Televise playoff games simultaneously and reward the hometown audiences with games right after dinner that let the kids stay up an hour past their bedtime. How many people in the greater Cleveland area are taking off work to race home and watch the Rangers and Blue Jays? How many Boston fans are even aware that there are other teams in the playoffs if their names aren’t the Red Sox or Yankees?
Setting aside the TV thing, what about the home crowd factor? That’s what the Rangers players were really playing for for 162 games; waking up out of their own beds, feeling the crowd behind them and seizing momentum early on in the series to put the Jays away. Rangers fans have grown over the past decade and are more in tune and knowledgeable than before, but it’s still a fanbase struggling to create generational diehard fans. I have let my son choose the baseball, basketball and college teams he roots for. He should be able to do his homework, have his dad surprise him with tickets, eat a sausage sundae, watch Carlos Gomez hit a homerun and do one of his 150 mph homerun trot/sprints while screaming like a lunatic and pissing off the Jays, and then show up to school the next day groggy and filled with memories. I want him to love the Rangers and not have to care about the fact that his dad’s Brewers will never be good again until the stench of Ryan Braun’s “Axe for Bros.” body spray is out of their locker room.
Speaking, totally not in hyperbole, baseball start times are the same as global warming. Our current actions are dooming our progeny to a world of smog and weak devotion to one’s hometown team. Clearly the latter is worse than the former, at least in October.