The National League playoffs were setting up to put together some of the sexiest match ups in terms of TV ratings in years.
And the story lines were all no brainers and the markets themselves no doubt made ad salesmen drool.
You obviously have the Cubs... bringing in Chicago... plus the transplanted Chicagoans... plus all the people who follow them on WGN... plus the natural storyline of wanting to see them win for the first time in 100 years. Nice round number... it would have all the national interest of the Red Sox back in 2004, but the fan base isn't as obnoxious. (Sorry, me.)
You also have the Dodgers... LA... big stars in the stands... Joe Torre, the most famous manager in the game today getting his revenge on the Yankees... Manny Ramirez bringing his insanity to LA... Nomar going for his first ring... 50 years in LA (another nice round number.)
Then there are the Phillies... more of the Northeast bringing in Pennsylvania, Delaware and South Jersey... lots of transplants... a hungry fan base looking for a championship of any kind... the last two NL MVPs in Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins plus more stars like Cole Hamels and Chase Utley.
And finally the Mets... the lone reps of New York... more stars in the stands... the New York media machine would be running at full speed... David Wright and Jose Reyes hoping to be the next princes of the City.
Any combination of those teams would have been great.
They clearly would want the Cubs and Dodgers... winner goes to the World Series.
But there's nothing wrong with a Mets and Phillies series.
Hell, it would have venom that's for sure.
All seemed like it was lining up for this field of NL teams.
Then troubled started brewing... literally.
If the Brewers win the Wild Card it throws everything out of whack and leads to a reshuffling of playoff matchups that won't make the networks happy.
First of all you take New York out of the equation completely.
You don't want to take out New York when you are trying to hype a series.
Secondly because of the strange rule that says teams from the same division can't play each other in the first round, the Wild Card Brewers would face the Phillies... which would not be a big draw.
That means the marquee NLCS... the one with the great story lines, media markets and stars... the Dodgers and the Cubs... the two teams playing the best baseball in the NL... would now be a Division Series match up.
This reminds me of a few years ago in the NBA playoffs when the Spurs and the Suns were clearly the best two remaining teams... but they faced in the Conference Semi Finals... also known as "The Second Round."
The Spurs won that series and then beat inferior teams in the Conference Finals and NBA Finals for the crown that should have been awarded to them 2 round prior.
So you know the good folks at Turner and Fox are not exactly being subtle right now.
They are chanting "Let's Go Mets!"
They have too many half hour blocks to sell!
Friday, September 26, 2008
TBS and FOX are chanting LET'S GO METS!
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