October 11, 2007

A look at the LCSs

by Dan Bilicki In: Baseball

If there’s one thing for certain about this year’s League Championship Series, it’s that the ratings will be a horror show. While the match up of Colorado and Arizona looks good to the biggest fans of the game, how many casual fans from a market like Tampa Bay would tune in to see them play? Especially if they play game at their normal, time zone advanced start times. Would an average Joe from Atlanta tune in at 10 for a Ubaldo Jimenez vs. Doug Davis match up? I don’t think so.

In the American League, while most Yankees (more on them in a bit) and Red Sox fans are happy that and emotional Armageddon won’t be occurring this year, that match up is the biggest ratings draw the league has. There isn’t a match up in North America quite like it with the ton of history, both recent and nearly a century old, sky-rocketing the interest in it. Sure, Cleveland has a really good team, but they’re not a draw like the Yankees.

Cleveland, in fact, has a good chance to win it in my mind. It might involve pitching their ace C.C. Sabathia two, maybe three times, and sinker-baller extraordinaire Fausto Carmona twice, but with their line up firing too, who knows. The Sox will throw Beckett when they can but Dice-K is still a questionable call.

As for New York, who’re making far more headlines than the actual upcoming series, who knows what this team will be like if Joe Torre leaves? Mariano would likely not return. Alex Rodriguez would likely opt out of his mega-contract and go searching for an ultra-contract in Los Angeles or Chicago. Andy Pettitte has a player option and Bobby Abreu has a $16 million team option. We could be looking at a very different team in Yankee-land if Torre gets the axe.

And who would benefit from this the most? It’s certainly not Yankee fans and certain not Mets fans (Who would have to deal with more media scrutiny because the Yanks wouldn’t be expected to be as good). The entire AL East would love it. A weakened Yankees team insures that Boston would take home the division without a problem, just think about how they did this year, but with a bigger gap. The Blue Jays would actually have a shot at winning the wild card if they can keep it together and battle through the injuries they suffer annually. Baltimore and Tampa Bay even snatch a few more wins. But still, Joe Torre is one of the best managers in the game and if letting him go starts the dominoes falling in the Bronx, who knows what the future holds.

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