The line at the DMV, the sound of a drill at the dentist’s office and the Major League Baseball season: all things that are long, boring and sometimes painful.
One would expect that the finale of a season composed of a grandiose 162-game schedule would be a celebrated event. I mean, after more than eight months of baseball, there should be some sort of mind-blowing payoff, right? Getting people to watch the World Series shouldn’t be like pulling teeth, and yet, this year’s championship featuring the Philadelphia Phillies and Tampa Bay Rays became the lowest-rated of all time.
The 2008 season was already following the two lowest-rated World Series ever in ’06 and ’07. Baseball needed to bounce back in a big way. Unfortunately, the MLB suffered one of the least memorable campaigns of all time, which ended in yet another World Series dud. How did it come to this?
Here’s a quick review of yet another season to forget:
Feb. 27 – Spring training begins.
Mar. 31 – The first games of the season start to great fanfare.
Apr. 27 – The baseball world is shocked to find Baltimore and Tampa Bay at the top of the AL East division. Florida and the Chicago White Sox are also surprise division leaders.
June 7 – The Mariners, Royals and Nationals are for all intents and purposes eliminated from playoff contention just 62 games into the season. Don’t worry, Seattle fans, only 100 more to go!
June 8 – Alcohol sales at Safeco Field rise dramatically.
June 21 – First day of summer. “Boys of Summer” now seems an odd nickname for players who have already played 77 games. At least it’s nice enough outside to actually go to a game.
July 14 – The All-Star Game. Justin Morneau wins the homerun derby by hitting 13 fewer home runs than Josh Hamilton. Yeah, that makes sense. After three brutal days of realizing that ESPN has absolutely nothing else to cover, I find myself watching the Home Shopping Network. Maybe I should go outside.
July 25 – Red Sox lead the AL East, and the Yankees are climbing the standings fast. All seems right with the world.
Aug. 2 – At five and a half games back, everyone is waiting for the Yankees to buy that special team that will make “the run.”
Aug. 15 – Yankees didn’t do it and find themselves 10.5 games back. Hank Steinbrenner receives a disapproving look from his father.
Sept. 4 – Opening night for the NFL essentially curtains the MLB. But hey, the Twins still have a shot.
Sept. 26 – Tampa Bay clinches the AL East. MLB and FOX higher ups vomit a little in their mouths. Rays fans pretend they’ve cared all along.
Sept. 30 – The Twins are eliminated from playoffs in a 1-0 barnburner loss to White Sox. Yes, I use the term barnburner very loosely.
Oct. 1 – Playoffs begin. Cubs’ fans liking their odds.
Oct. 4 – The Dodgers complete a three-game sweep of the Cubs. Just think, Cubs fans, only 162 games to achieve the best record in the NL, three games to end your season. It stings, doesn’t it?
Oct. 9 – Phillies vs. Dodgers; Rays vs. Red Sox. I can almost hear the FOX and MLB execs chanting, “Dodgers-Red Sox, Dodgers-Red Sox”.
Oct. 15 – The Phillies advance to World Series. “Well, there’s still the Red Sox.”
Oct. 19 – The Rays defeat the Red Sox and will face the Phillies in what is almost sure to be the lowest-rated World Series in history. Later that night, FOX and MLB execs are found in the corners of their offices rocking and whispering to themselves, “It’s going to be okay.It’s going to be ok.”
Oct. 26 – It’s not okay. Through four games, the World Series has managed a rating of 8.0. The lowest previous rating in World Series history was 10.4.
We’re talking the worst by MILLIONS of viewers. A week two game – WEEK TWO – in the NFL season this year grabbed a 13.3 rating, and it was on cable!
Oct. 29 – In a game that started on the 27th, the Phillies defeat the Rays 4-3 to clinch their first World Series since 1980.
Too bad no one saw it.