The Yankees haven’t missed the postseason since 1993. Until 2006, the Braves hadn’t missed a post-season since 1990.
Which means for 11 seasons, we knew at least 2 of the 8 teams that were going to make the playoffs. We knew 3 for some of those years because of the Red Sox. That tends to take away a little from the anticipation.
The only prediction we probably could have made about this year’s LCS teams is the Red Sox. The Phillies had a shot, as did the Dodgers, but they weren’t a given. And none of us saw the Rays coming. Well if you did, please write me and let me know because I would like you to pick out some lottery numbers for me.
So as we look at the final four teams, only the Red Sox have made it to the LCS recently. As I mentioned the other day, the Phillies haven’t been there since 2003. The Dodgers haven’t been there since 1988, and the Rays were so far removed from the playoffs most of their players probably thought LCS was something that could only be examined with an MRI.
Which means the new blood has assured MLB of some great ratings this year right? Ok, maybe not. According to TBS, the Divion Series ratings were down 20% from last year. But they attribute it to a perfect storm of factors: the quick series, the presidential debate, and the lack of New York team.
Well, the New Yorkers may not be watching, but regardless of what the ratings do I think the infusion of new teams is great for the game. It gives more exposure to other teams, and in the process gives them something to build on for next year.
A lot of the fans may be disappointed that there won’t be a millionth chapter of the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry. But seeing as Fox and ESPN show us every single match-up between them during the year, I’m ok with not seeing it in October. To me, it’s more exciting to see a classic franchise like the Dodgers get another shot. It’s more fun to see the Rays finally put it together after 10 years of misery. And it’s more entertaining to see the Phillies push through after a few years of always being right on the cusp.
This year’s final four may not grow the ratings, but it will grow the game. The more fans that are able to watch their team contend, the better the game will do.
So good luck to all four!