Thursday, October 08, 2015

Networks have less charismatic teams for MLB playoffs; what happened to home-field advantage?

Baseball has provided the sports bar and home entertainment Tuesday and Wednesday nights.

Visiting teams won both MLB wild card games with road shutouts. What happened to home-field advantage?

On Tuesday night, ESPN televised Houston at New York Yankees, where Dallas Keuchel stymied the Yankees, making them look helpless without getting the ball over 90 mph.  There was constant “weak contact” as well as swinging at bad balls.  The Astros had a 51-111 record as recently as 2013.

On Wednesday, on TBS, Jake Arietta mastered the Pittsburgh Pirates with a complete game shutout, for the Chicago Cubs (bringing us back to 2003).  I thought, the theme of the last movement of the Beethoven Op. 111 is an “arietta”.  But Jake looked absolutely unhittable.  Max Scherzer had no-noed the hard-hitting Pirates this year (and later the Mets).

There is a lot written about teams that didn’t make it – the Yankees, the Red Sox, the Orioles, and especially the Washington Nationals, who were plagued by distracting management controversies all year, questionable handling of the July 31 trades, and less than prime injury management.
Fox and ESPN, in the meantime, have less than the most charismatic teams to draw ratings in the playoffs.  But some will take exception to that statement, as the Mets are now the pride of people who live in Queens and Brooklyn.  Solid pitching and well-performing players account for their great year. Tyler Clippard, from the Nats, will be their boon. 

Pictures:  Yankess in 2014, Mets in 2012, my own visits. 

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