Evaluating the New Playoff Format

The 2012 season has brought with it a new playoff format. Some thoughts on the new format:

1.) There’s now a clear downside to being a Wild Card team (as there should be). As the Atlanta Braves & Texas Rangers can attest too, it’s a risky deal with everything riding on one game. The Oakland A’s push to win their division paid dividends with extra rest and the ability to plan their pitching rotation for at least three games in the Division Series.

2.) The jury’s still out on the scheduling. With the new Wild Card game being shoe-horned into this year’s schedule, it created a weird situation where the “lesser” team got the first two Division Series games at home. That’s too much of an advantage for the supposed “lesser” team in each Division Series matchup.

3.) Limiting postseason to the end of October makes marketing & practical sense. Even with this being an “early start” to the season, the World Series has the potential to extend into November. I say no more of that!

4.) Yes, the extra wild card has made things more interesting. As a baseball fan, it is fun to watch these one-and-done wild card showdowns. However, what’s to stop MLB from eventually turning into a NCAA basketball tournament-like setup in the far future? Is this really the end of adding teams to postseason? Let’s just say I’m more than a bit weary of baseball’s future in that regard, however, I will enjoy this postseason and the new playoff setup for the time being.

MLB.TV on PS3 is Mind-Blowingly Amazing

ps3.jpgFirst, I’d like to apologize for my long absence in writing new posts to my account here; I haven’t felt inspired enough to write a new post for a long time, but boy am I ever now. I just heard the announcement about MLB.TV’s availability over the PlayStation 3. (Snider, Mark “MLB on PS3 a game changer” The Globe and Mail. 04-22-2010) Ever since MLB.com went live, MLB itself has been light years ahead of all the other major United States sporting leagues in getting its content online. I have investigated the possibility of using MLB.tv through a PS3 before, but what disappointed to find that much like Hulu.com on PS3, there were too many hurdles to make it viable. To be frank, MLB isn’t just breaking new ground concerning digital media and sports; it’s breaking new ground for digital entertainment across the globe. Check out this YouTube video link to see MLB.tv on the PS3 for yourself; [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HD6bkJ3VZVI].

All I can say is; WOW. MLB.tv on PS3 is mind-blowingly amazing, and the folks at MLB and Sony who made this happen deserve the gratitude of baseball fans everywhere! From a Commissioner’s perspective, this first-mover advantage in digital media can translate into nothing but success. Everyone wins by having mlb.tv on PS3; fan demand for content is being met, baseball is helping promote itself by making the product more available (in addition to winning street cred by being the leaders in digital streaming media), and Sony has another unique feature that they can leverage in their quest to make the Playstation the central element in home entertainment. Oh, and don’t forget the fact that MLB has created yet another new revenue stream for itself. This development is just another sign of the prosperity baseball has been experiencing for the past several years.

Discussion Question:
1.) Will you use MLB.tv on a Playstation 3 sometime within the next year?

Photo Credit: www.thefive17.com

Commissioner Selig and Bob DuPuy Get it Right

Hats off to both Commissioner Selig and Bob DuPuy for their spot-on handling of the suspension in play of Game 5 of the Series. I just read a great article on MLB.com by Barry M. Bloom that says, “Commissioner Selig cited rule 4.12(a)(6) in explaining the suspension of Game 5.” (Bloom, Barry M. “FAQs on the suspended Game 5.” 2008-10-28, MLB.com) You might be familiar with the emphasis I put on references for this blog, so you know I greatly enjoyed seeing the Commissioner cite a specific rule to back up the suspension of play decision. Thankfully that aforementioned rule was enacted just last year, otherwise it could’ve been another case of baseball having to deal with a situation after it happens, instead of having a plan in place beforehand. I think good executives and organizations both plan for contingencies, and back up their decisions with tangible and logical policies and procedures. MLB gets an A+ for not restarting Game 5, and for waiting until weather conditions permit adedquate playing conditions.

Selig Hard at Work on Instant Replay

Commissioner Selig is hard at work trying to make instant replay for home run calls a reality in Major League Baseball. It’s great to see he’s keeping the issue at the forefront of priorities, and deserves applause for how quickly MLB is acting to make this happen. Read about it here: (Bloom, Barry M. “Selig: Work continues on instant replay.” MLB.com, 8-14-2008.)

MLB Network Debuts in 2009

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Just like the NFL has done by creating their own cable TV network, MLB will debut the MLB Network on January 1, 2009. Read about it here: Sessa, Danielle. “MLB Network will broadcast 26 games when it debuts in 2009.” 2007-05-17, Bloomberg News.. Suffice it to say this is a dream come true for baseball junkies like me. I wouldn’t be surprised if the MLBnetwork becomes accessible online within five years time, or if the distinction between MLB.tv and the MLB Network becomes very fuzzy within that same time span.

Photo Credit: MLB holds all copyright to the MLB Network logo, image obtained from Wikipedia. I have no idea who actually designed it.

Discussion Question:
1.) What are your predictions on how the future of MLB Network will pan out? Will MLB Network fail quickly, will MLB Network & the online MLB.tv entities share content, or will MLB Network & MLB.tv actually converge into a single entity in the not-too distant future?

MLB.com’s “Ballparks of the Future”

MLB.com has a new section on the site called “Ballparks of the Future.” Check it out here: Ballparks of the Future. This by far the coolest thing I’ve seen on MLB.com in a while. It’s very clear that the A’s and Cisco are going to create the most advanced and unique stadium experience in professional baseball when Cisco Field opens for business. I especially like how a fan can use computer kiosks on the Cisco Field concourse to instantly upgrade their seats after they’ve already entered the stadium. Honestly, that idea is pure genius! It’s a win for fans, who can instantly find out if better seats are available, and a great way for the A’s to maximize potential revenue for any given game. That’s the kind of innovative thinking MLB as a whole needs to continue striving for.

Discussion Question:
Would you consider upgrading your seat for a game after you’ve already entered the stadium if the process was very simple and easy to do?

Baseball Strikes Out at 2012 Olympics

London 2012.jpg

Baseball has been voted out of the 2012 Olympics in London by the International Olympic Committee. Read all about it here: (Zinser, Lynn. New York Times, July 9, 2008..) What are your thoughts about this?

Photo Credit: Alternative London 2012 Olympic logo created by Nerijus Valancauskas for the BBC “Your logos” promotion. Original image posted here: (

Yankees Swindle Fans by Banning Sunscreen

sunscreen.jpg

I couldn’t believe this article when I read it (Doctorow, Cory. “New York Yankees ban sunblock “to fight terrorism.”” BoingBoing.com, July 24, 2008.). The Yankees are swindling fans out of their money, and perhaps endangering their health, by barring fans from bringing sunscreen into Yankee Stadium, citing “terrorism” concerns. You can buy sunscreen inside the stadium, of course, 1 ounce will cost you $5 (FYI: that’s way overpriced).

Have the Yankees and their security team completely lost their mind? Is our society now so paranoid about terrorism that people must risk skin cancer for safety?

I urge the Yankees, and Commissioner Selig, to immediately abolish this policy. MLB has done a good deed in the past by promoting sunscreen use, and baseball fans should not be forced to pay the Yankees money in order to protect their skin from UV rays during Major League Baseball games.

(Photo Credit: www.shopbug.com and Banana Boat)

Discussion Question:

1.) How outraged are you about the Yankee’s ban of sunscreen on a scale of one to ten (with one being “not outraged at all” and ten being “extremely outraged”)?

MLB Teams Create Peanut-Free Sections

In the spirit of accommodating fans with unique needs, teams like the Mariners, Cardinals, and Twins have created “Peanut-free” seating sections during some games so fans with peanut allergies can attend games without fearing for their safety. Here’s the article about it: http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/blog/big_league_stew/post/Top-O-The-Order-DON-T-buy-me-some-peanuts-and-?urn=mlb,95734.

What are your thoughts on this move?

Do the Twins Cheat by using the Metrodome’s Ventilation?

Metrodome.JPG

Besides fans’ perception that players have “cheated” by using performance enhancing drugs in the past, other instances of cheating continue to remain under the radar in Major League Baseball. In particular, I’d like to call attention to suspicions that the Minnesota Twins have manipulated the Metrodome’s ventilation/air conditioning system to push the Twins’ own fly balls out of the park, and maybe even push back opponents’ long fly balls from the fence. Where’s the proof you ask? While no concrete evidence has emerged, since 1987 Major League managers Whitey Herzog, Bobby Valentine, and Alan Trammell have all publicly questioned whether the Twins’ use to the Metrodome air blowers to cheat. Read all about it with the link to an ESPN article about it here: (Associated Press. “Trammell challenges use of ventilation.” June 6, 2004.).

Only the people who have ever operated the Metrodome’s air conditioner on/off switch really know the truth. Perhaps MLB should talk to these people (if they haven’t already)?

After originally posting this entry in July 2008, I came across this quote by Ozzie Smith on Wikipedia:

A couple of the balls we hit in the Metrodome were hit solidly, but once they got to a certain point in the outfield, they seemed to stop. Yet some balls that the Twins hit, once they got to the same point, seemed to carry. I don’t have any proof that it was the blowers, and it may or may not be true, but in the back of my mind I will always wonder whether that had something to do with why the Twins were such a different team at home and on the road.” – Ozzie Smith

Photo Credit: Wikipedia user Wahkeenah, from the English Wikipedia

Discussion Question:
1.) If you have been to a Twins game at the Metrodome, do you think it is possible the Twins use the ventilation to their advantage?

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