ESPN has announced its choices for Sunday Night Baseball games through the end of May yesterday. I'd like to tell you that Major League Baseball learned something from its poor postseason ratings last year, but then I'd be wrong.
Of the 11 matchups that ESPN has announced, two are Red Sox-Yankees games, three feature either the Red Sox or Yankees, and outside of choosing the Reds for two games, the rest of the schedule is all made of the other big market teams: the Mets, the Phillies, and the Dodgers.
Last postseason we heard all this talk about how the ratings were down and how the NFL was slaughtering baseball because the "small market teams" (Dallas and San Francisco, two of the larger markets in America) had knocked out all the big guns last year. So what has MLB done about it? Instead of actually trying to develop a rooting interest in these other teams by putting them in prime time, they're just going to keep putting the same six or seven teams on prime time every week, with the occasional bone lobbed to a club that was good last year if they're playing a good team.â†µ
The compelling story of the oiled machine that is the Rays fighting their way into the millionaires club? That's cute, but you guys are in a bad market! We'll get back to you when you play the Yankees or Red Sox. Rangers, AL World Series representative? That's adorable! When are you playing the Yankees? Twins? You haven't won a postseason game in forever. Who needs you guys? Astros? Well...it's probably a good thing they aren't on it this year.â†µ
Just remember this: in the event that the "small market teams" are playing for a championship again this year, and you hear all this talk about how bad for baseball this is because the ratings are down, baseball brings these bad ratings upon themselves. No one is forcing them to show us every other game the Red Sox or Yankees play in.