Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Randomization: 08/22/06

Get this crap off my television. I'm not one to get into discussions about things like "what baseball games get on national TV". It's not because I don't think it's a worthy issue (after all, we're talking about sports here, so there isn't much that can't be fairly brought up and discussed). It's just not something that needs to be brought up every 30 seconds.

But I've had enough. I've finally been driven to the point of no return when it comes to Major League Baseball.

Here is the national television schedule for the current NFL preseason from NFL.com (not counting delayed broadcasts on NFL Network):

Sunday, Aug. 6
Oakland vs. Philadelphia (HOF Game) (NBC, 8 p.m. ET)
Thursday, Aug. 10
Indianapolis at St. Louis (FOX, 8 p.m. ET)
Friday, Aug. 11
New England at Atlanta (CBS, 8 p.m. ET)
Saturday, Aug. 12
Pittsburgh at Arizona (NFL Network, 4 p.m. ET)
Sunday, Aug. 13
Washington at Cincinnati (NBC, 8 p.m. ET)
Monday, Aug. 14
Oakland at Minnesota (ESPN, 8 p.m. ET)
Thursday, Aug. 17
Kansas City at N.Y. Giants (FOX, 8 p.m. ET)
Friday, Aug. 18
San Diego at Chicago (CBS, 8 p.m. ET)
Saturday, Aug. 19
Arizona at New England (NFL Network, 8 p.m. ET)
Sunday, Aug. 20
Seattle at Indianapolis (NBC, 8 p.m. ET)
Monday, Aug. 21
Dallas at New Orleans (Shreveport, La.) (ESPN, 8 p.m. ET)
Thursday, Aug. 24
Miami at Carolina (FOX, 8 p.m. ET)
Friday, Aug. 25
Pittsburgh at Philadelphia (ESPN, 8 p.m. ET)
Saturday, Aug. 26
Tampa Bay at Jacksonville (CBS, 8 p.m. ET)
Sunday, Aug. 27
Houston at Denver (NFL Network, 8 p.m. ET)
Monday, Aug. 28
Green Bay at Cincinnati (ESPN, 8 p.m. ET)

16 games. 24 of the 32 NFL teams featured. Repeat appearances for Cincinnati, New England, and Pittsburgh, three playoff teams from 2005, along with recent Super Bowl participants Oakland and Philadelphia. Arizona got two live games on NFL Network, with one of them being against media darling New England, and the other being the opening of their new stadium against the reigning and defending champions.

It could always be better, but this is pretty good.

Now, here is a month's worth of games scheduled to air on FOX Saturday Baseball. These are the only baseball games scheduled to air on over-the-air network television on a national level. Every market gets one game per week.

Saturday, August 12, 2006
1 p.m.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at New York Yankees
Baltimore Orioles at Boston Red Sox
Detroit Tigers at Chicago White Sox
4 p.m.
San Francisco Giants at Los Angeles Dodgers

Saturday, August 19, 2006
1 p.m.
New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox
St. Louis Cardinals at Chicago Cubs
4 p.m.
Arizona Diamondbacks at San Diego Padres

Saturday, August 26, 2006
1 p.m.
Chicago Cubs at St. Louis Cardinals
Washington Nationals at Atlanta Braves
4 p.m.
New York Yankees at Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Saturday, September 16, 2006
1 p.m.
Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees
Florida Marlins at Atlanta Braves
4 p.m.
San Francisco Giants at St. Louis Cardinals
Philadelphia Phillies at Houston Astros

For good measure, here is the ESPN schedule from the last week and for this week:

Wednesday, August 16
Detroit Tigers at Boston Red Sox
Thursday, August 17
Texas Rangers at Detroit Tigers
Friday, August 18
New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox
Sunday, August 20
New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox
Monday, August 21
New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox
Los Angeles Dodgers at San Diego Padres
Wednesday, August 23
Chicago White Sox at Detroit Tigers
Thursday, August 24
St. Louis Cardinals at New York Mets
Sunday, August 27
Chicago Cubs at St. Louis Cardinals

23 total games. 19 of 30 teams are featured. The best part? Four teams with winning records, including AL West-leading Oakland, combine for ZERO appearances. One of them, Minnesota, just went head-to-head with the White Sox for three games, and they meet again this weekend. Six games featuring the top two teams in the AL Wild Card race, and none of them are televised nationally. Meanwhile, seven sub-.500 teams make national television appearances.

Just what I want to see on a Saturday afternoon. The 59-65 Braves against the 54-71 Nationals.

The Yankees are featured in nearly one-third of those games. The Red Sox are on in seven games. The Cubs, inexplicably, are featured three times, one more time than the cross-town rival White Sox, who have a noticeably better record.

Baseball's best team, the Tigers, are on four times. The National League's best team, the New York Mets, are on once.

And when you decide to hate on ESPN for their selections (which admittedly suck), look for a few moments at FOX's games. When they're not busy jamming the Yankees and/or Red Sox down everyone's throat, they're torturing Midwest viewers by continually airing Cubs games, even though the Cubs are absolutely wretched. Maybe you'll get lucky this week and get that Braves-Nationals game instead. That oughta be a barnburner.

No wonder the Blue Jays can't keep up. The Shea Hillenbrand thing happened. When it did, people talked about it and moved on.

(Hillenbrand was DFAed by Toronto after he got into a heated argument with Jays manager John Gibbons that ended with Gibbons challenging Hillenbrand to a fight.)

But when the manager and a player get into an argument that ends with the manager getting a bloody nose, people aren't going to be so quick to move on.

The Blue Jays have problems. Last night, starting pitcher Ted Lilly didn't like being taken out of the game. He got into it with Gibbons, and the argument spilled into the tunnel between the dugout and clubhouse, where things apparently got physical. Gibbons ended up with a bloody nose, but said after the game that he talked things over with Lilly. Team president Paul Godfrey said he doesn't think either man will be disciplined.


Your manager got into a physical altercation with a player - in a public setting of all places - and you don't think discipline is necessary?

I'm not calling for a trade or a firing here, but to say that no discipline is necessary is a joke.

Happy Madden-oliday! Today marks the national release of Madden NFL 07, the latest edition of EA Sports' signature video game. The popularity of video games, and even the popularity of sports video games, can be, in part, credited to this game. As usual, early reviews are mixed, though it's hard to imagine that the game will be a bigger disappointment than last year, when the only significant changes were the "passing cones" that were strangely conceived and somewhat difficult for the non-hardcare gamers (they were also optional, so you didn't have to master the concept) and the emphasis on the passing game (cover boy was Donovan McNabb).

They are emphasizing the run this year, featuring Seattle running back Shaun Alexander on the cover. The major change is the ability to take control of the lead blocker on running plays. One of the minor changes, allowing QBs to scramble without taking down the passing icons (makes throwing on the run and evading the pass rush more effective) is similar to one made in the NCAA 07 game.

I'm not going to tell you to go buy the game because I'm not sure I'm going to buy it yet. But chances are that most Madden junkies are going to buy the game, many of them today, whether I tell them to or not.


Anonymous said...

Um Bruce,

If you want to see why certain teams are always on the national telecasts, go to Vegas and see which baseball teams have the most action on any given night. I think you'll find the Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs ect.

Its got nothing to do with their records.

As for ESPN, who do you think are watching college basketball games at 2am? The same people betting on the Yankees, Red Sox & Cubs.

Bruce Ciskie said...

I'm not going to do that research, because I'm just too damn lazy, and I really wouldn't know where to look.

I'm not into sports betting, and neither is about 90% of the country (outside of the occasional "I'll plunk down $20 on a longshot to win a title because I'm in Vegas" crowd and, of course, the Super Bowl).

Football betting is a ton more prominent than baseball betting, and if you look at the national selections in the NFL, they are much more diverse than baseball.

You're going to have to go a long way to convince me that the national television selections for Major League Baseball are set by gambling.

Show me some numbers, otherwise I'm going to write this off as an argument from someone who thinks gambling has much more influence on sports than it really does.