Good morning, Birdland!
No playoffs this week has been a real bummer. Instead of flipping on a little fall baseball, I have had to resort to watching other sports, and catching up on new shows I had been meaning to see. I can only pretend to care about Washington Wizards basketball for so long!
There have been a lot of games left on the table during these playoffs. Three of the four Wild Card matchups ended in two-game sweeps. Only one DS set went beyond four games. And then we had the CS games, which were speedy as well, one ending in a sweep, and the other going just five games.
That created a massive gap in the baseball schedule between this past Sunday and this Friday, when the World Series begins. It feels disjointed, and the sports world, at large, does not seem terribly invested. ESPN is almost entirely focused on football, with a dash of early-season NBA mixed in.
At this point, this is not a surprise. There has to be an incentive for media to cover the sport extensively, and that incentive does not exist right now. World Series ratings did increase in 2021, but that was after yet another downturn in 2020. The presence of the Phillies, an organization known to have a rabid fanbase, could provide a boost in 2022.
It would just be nice to see MLB do...anything. We have a week-long gap, and the league is not filling it with anything to keep fans beyond Philadelphia and Houston interested. They are resigned to the idea that people would rather watch other things. Which makes sense on its face, but not in reality.
Early-season basketball is routinely panned as being dull, same with hockey. Thursday Night Football is largely unwatchable, even for massive fans of the sport. There is the stacked fall TV schedule to compete with, but sports fans will gravitate to sports programming when given a reasonable alternative.
It would take some creativity on MLB’s behalf to come up with something to put on at this time of year. Maybe another home run derby with a bigger cash prize? Maybe do something related to the World Baseball Classic so people are actually aware of its existence? Maybe make a big production out of the year-end awards before the World Series? Just do something, rather than hoping that people tune in for the most important games of your entire season.
In the meantime, you can watch a rerun of a 1980 NLCS game between the Astros and Phillies on MLB Network tonight. That is the actual programming that they think is of interest to anyone.
Three questions posed to the Orioles’ front office | Roch Kubatko
For me, the answers to these questions are pretty easy: I’m out on Jesús Aguilar. I would decline the Jordan Lyles option at $11 million, but would pursue him at a lower amount. And yes, an outfielder needs to be traded; Anthony Santander makes the most sense.
Who will run Peter Angelos’ law firm, how much will his bankers disclose: what’s on the agenda for the next court hearing | The Baltimore Sun
What a mess. They talk about “doing what Peter Angelos would want” in regards to selling his law firm. I’m not so sure he would want his entire family bickering over every cent to his name.
The best players in the World Series, ranked from 1-30 | MLB.com
Trey Mancini is not on this list. He gets mentioned as a nominee for the 30th and final spot, but ultimately does not make that cut. That feels harsh. Yuli Gurriel makes it despite being terrible during the regular season. As does rookie reliever Hunter Brown and Blake Taylor, a pitcher that did not appear in the ALDS or ALCS. Seems weird.
Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!
- Dwight Smith Jr. turns 30 today. The outfielder spent parts of two seasons with the Orioles from 2019 through 2020. But perhaps he is best remembered as the team’s representative in the MLB Player’s League that took place during COVID lockdown in 2020.
- Wayne Garland is 72 today. From 1973 through ‘76, the right-handed pitcher appeared in 99 games. That included a 1976 season in which he won 20 games, posted a 2.67 ERA and finished eighth in Cy Young voting.
This day in history
Not much has happened in Orioles history on this day, according to Baseball Reference. Here’s how things have unfolded outside of Birdland:
1774 - The First Continental Congress adjourns in Philadelphia.
1823 - The Erie Canal opens up between the Hudson River and Lake Erie.
1863 - The Football Association is founded in London.
1881 - Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday participate in the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.
1936 - The first electric generators at Hoover Dam goes into full operation.
1958 - Pan American Airways makes the first commercial flight of the Boeing 707, going from New York City to Paris.