I don’t think I’m stretching it when I say that there was a time in the past when the World Series was the major sports event of the year. Oh, there was the Indianapolis 500, the Kentucky Derby, the Rose Bowl, world heavyweight title fights — Dempsey-Tunney, Louis-Schmeling, Marciano-Moore come to mind here—but when October came around, the World Series took center stage.
No more. The major leagues cheapened itself when the leagues were chopped up into divisions, and the World Series was only the final chapter of “postseason playoffs.” Bush league stuff. The minor leagues installed playoffs to stay alive. A team might finish fourth, but in the playoffs might
eventually win the championship.
The major leagues kept spreading themselves around until they reached from Atlantic to Pacific, and nothing made any mathematical sense. There were 16 teams in the National League, 14 in the American, six teams in one National League division, five in the other two, and in one American League division, only four teams. All skewed up. Then to complicate things further, somebody came up with the idea of inter-league play. No order to it, just scramble the teams about and look for the best money matches. You didn’t have to wait for the World Series to see AL versus NL teams.
There is only one way to do it properly, and that is to see that each team in each league plays every team in the other league one time. No way it could be done and make any sense of it, but inter-league play went on against the wishes and the standards of many a baseball man with major league ideals. Not only that, but then they started opening the season in foreign lands. Imagine that, the American League opening the season in Japan! Sacrilege in these eyes. Can Paris, Berlin, Melbourne and Rome be next?
So time moves on and the plot thickens. Things multiply. Weather injects its icy, rainy hand. Television gets spread about until old Turner Broadcasting—whatever its name is these days—gets involved. The lights go out. Instead of the Tampa Bay-Boston game on television, Americans get somebody called Steve Harvey for 20 minutes, or more. For a week, the Phillies have been sitting round waiting until the Rays and Red Sox finally finish up their business. And who wins? The Rays. No Red Sox-Phillies, rich markets. Television is crushed. Already it is predicted that this World Series will get the lowest rating since ratings have been kept. Not that a whole bunch of us care, for who wants to be watching baseball at midnight? Where’s the sun? And that green stuff, is it grass, or is it a tattered rug?
Ye gods, no wonder the World Series is losing face. The damn fools in charge of the game are doing it. Off with their heads!