The Los Angeles Dodgers Mookie Betts (right) and the Tampa Bay Rays Willy Adames (left) hug at second base during game 3 on Fri Oct 23, 2020 in the second inning after Adames stole second base. Betts and many MLB players say that Adames is one of the most liked players in the game. (AP News photo)
That’s Amaury News and Commentary
By Amaury Pi-González
We have seen this unique 2020 baseball season with a 60 game regular schedule as the games have been played under a slew of new rules. Some are popular, others are still up-in-the-air. Here are the most talked about. Would baseball want to keep permanently? With a rating of YES, NO or 50-50.
YES. The double-header seven (7 innings each game) Each extra-inning begins with a runner on second base, at the top of the eighth (I call the runner”a free runner”). The batter or a substitute for the batter who leads off an inning shall continue to be the batter who would lead-off the inning. Commissioner Manfred is very much in favor of this, because it keeps the game more interesting and also saves a lot of time. These games in 2020 averaged 2 hours and 30 minutes each. The reason for this rule? In the interest of player health and safety MLB and the Players Association jointly announced that both games of doubleheaders will be seven innings.(It became effective August 1).
NO. Sixteen Teams going into the Playoff. The jury still out on this, but best bet is that this is a 50-50 proposition. There is a school of thought that it should be fourteen teams, instead of sixteen. This will eliminate the possibility that (with 16 teams) teams with under .500 records would advance deep into the postseason, maybe the World Series. This season the Houston Astros (29-31) who finished in second place to the Oakland Athletics, seven(7) games behind the A’s, came within one game of representing the American League in the World Series.
50-50.Universal Designated Hitter. This will eventually will be the norm someday, but maybe not in 2021. Reports indicate some owners of teams in the National League have strong opposition. Originally the American League adopted the DH rule in 1973, with pitchers continuing to hit in games played at National League parks. That was not the case this 2020, both leagues used the Designated Hitter to avoid over-working pitchers by having them hit.
Universal lost of revenue. All 30-teams reported revenue loses. A ten (10) billion dollar industry, reported earlier prior to Opening Day, were each team was projected to lose hundreds-of millions of dollars with no fans in the stands.
No Bueno: World Series ratings for Game One according to Nielsen attracted 9.1 million viewers according to Fox Sports. The least watched World Series game ever since Nielsen began tracking ratings in 1968. It could be accredited to the protagonist, although they are the best teams by record this year, LA Dodgers and Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays are not a well-known popular franchise for a national audience. There would have been a totally different audience if the New York Yankees would have met the LA Dodgers in the Fall Classic, two huge media markets with two storied franchises. The Houston Astros vs the LA Dodgers would have been a much more drama-driven series and most fun for all, for obvious reasons if you have followed baseball the last few years. However, television can pick schedules, but never will be able to determine who wins and who doesn’t. The integrity of the game still prevails.
NBA TV ratings for the final between the LA Lakers and the Miami Heat were also one of their lowest in their history. Many things can be attributed to this decline in TV audiences, the Pandemic, mixed with more politics that most people can tolerate infiltrating into the sport, which at the end is supposed to offer relief and escape from the daily events that cause anxiety in people.
Let’s face it, as much as we love sports, all this looks insignificant in the world we are living today.
Like the great Howard Cosell used to say: “Sports is the Toy Department of Human life”.
Stay well and stay tune.
Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the Spanish radio voice for Oakland A’s radio on 1010 KIQI Le Grande San Francisco and does News and Commentary at http://www.sportsradioservice.com