Monday, July 25, 2016

Some Thoughts on Sunday Night Baseball

I love watching baseball. In person is best, obviously. But on the television isn't too bad. But...I'm almost bored with ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball. The current schedule is set only through 14 August, but I did a little look through the schedule up to that point during Sunday Night's Baseball Tonight because, frankly, there's only so much Dallas Braden one can take. (I would listen, rapt, to Tim Kurkjian read the telephone book because he do it so enthusiastically and I love - always have - John Kruk.)

It's something I've noticed over the last few years: that the predominant schedule includes just a few teams: Red Sox, Yankees, Cardinals, Dodgers and Giants. This year is no different. Through August 14, here is a break down of the teams and the number of times they've appeared Sunday Night Baseball in 2016 (please note one game between the Tigers and the Yankees was postponed because of rain but they have been included):

Los Angeles Dodgers - 7
Boston Red Sox - 5
San Francisco Giants - 5
Chicago Cubs - 4
New York Yankees - 4
St. Louis Cardinals - 4
New York Mets - 2
Pittsburgh Pirates - 2
Arizona Diamondbacks - 1
Atlanta Braves - 1
Detroit Tigers - 1
Houston Astros - 1
Kansas City Royals - 1
Miami Marlins - 1
Seattle Mariners - 1

The general suckitude of the Braves (vs. Marlins) and Diamondbacks (vs. Giants) are the anomaly here.

That's 15 teams features in the first four months of baseball this season, leaving 15 teams with zero, national prime time exposure. I think a genuine rivalry exists between some of these teams: like the Giants and Dodgers and to an extant the rise of the Cubs versus the Pirates and Cardinals. But the Red Sox vs. Yankees (who were featured in back-to-back Sunday's earlier in the season and at least one other time? That "rivalry"? That's ovah).

Here are the 15 teams not yet represented.
AL East: Baltimore Orioles, Tampa Bay Rays, Toronto Blue Jays
AL Central: Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians, Minnesota Twins
AL West: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Oakland Athletics, Texas Rangers

NL East: Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Nationals
NL Central: Cincinnati Reds and Milwaukee Brewers
NL West: Colorado Rockies and San Diego Padres

At the present time, none of the AL division leaders and one of the National League (Washington Nationals) have appeared on Sunday Night Baseball!  And under the remaining 7 Sunday's beyond August 14...

I don't know about you, but I'm absolutely bored senseless with the Red Sox, Cardinals, Dodgers, and Giants. And to a degree with the Cubs, too, who are far less dynamic than they were in the first two or so months of the year. Maybe some of these ignored teams don't have much to play for this year; and maybe they don't even have really dynamic players. But each of these teams does have at least one player who could or should be highlighted in the national, prime time broadcast. Mike Trout! Nelson Cruz! Felix Hernandez! Bryce Harper! Paul Goldschmidt! Ryan Braun! Mark Trumbo! And when he's not melting down, Chris Sale! None of these guys have appeared on Sunday Night Baseball this year. We know that something unique or amazing can happen in any given game. The White Sox, for example, have turned three triple plays this year alone! (The Brewers accomplished the other one.) I like watching other, out of market teams and seeing their players and ball parks as well as what the cities themselves have to offer. I'm sure I'm not alone.

Thanks for stopping by!

5 comments:

  1. Sunday Night Baseball is about the only thing I watch on ESPN anymore. That being said, there is a definite bias towards teams in major media markets and teams with superstar players when it comes to ESPN. That being said, my personal opinion is that each team should have at least one Sunday Night Baseball game per year.

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    1. Hi Adam, Thank you for your comment! I couldn't agree more. I meant to say, in agreement to your statement, that all teams should get at least one appearance on Sunday Night Baseball.

      -Peter

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  2. With the expansion of the number of games that are televised nationally on cable thanks to the MLB Network, Sunday Night Baseball gets a bit lost in the shuffle. And as much as I fundamentally disagree with pretty much everything Joe Morgan represented as a color commentator, Sunday Night Baseball pretty much stopped being appointment (sports) TV as soon as they got rid of the Jon Miller/Joe Morgan team.

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    1. Yeah, I agree. The current crew is wanting. I applaud ESPN for going with a female but it's a weak crew. That being said, it's the one night with NO competition from the MLB Network so they should be able to knock it out of the park, to use baseball parlance. But they just don't.

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  3. I can't even remember the last time the Rockies were nationally televised. For all I know it was the 2009 NLDS.

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