Tuesday, April 19, 2005

R.I.P. Baseball Tonight

I've worked in advertising long enough to know that the Kansas City market isn't going to make or break a television program's ratings.

I've also followed the media long enough to realize that people will relate to a story if it's either exciting, or they're told it's exciting.

Today, the Royals beat the Cleveland Indians on a home run in the bottom of the ninth by the back up catcher. That's exciting baseball. That story can be sold to anybody who cares about the game in even the most tertiary of ways.

ESPN feels differently.

I've known for a long time that Royals baseball will only exist on the "sports leader" in short highlight clips of one or two plays a night. That unless the Yankees or Red Sox are pitching a no hitter against my team, I probably won't see an update anywhere but the crawl at the bottom of the screen.

I just never realized until tonight how insignificant my favorite program had become.

Ichiro's weird batting stance was more important than the Royals. John Kruk's lifetime batting average of .300 was more important than the Royals. Peter Gammons reminding us that Eric Gagne is still on the disabled list was more important than the Royals.

In the last two segments of the show, when they present clips of home runs and count down the best defensive plays, the Royals finally appeared. Once for the dramatic home run that kept hope of a winning season alive, and once for a phenomenal play by Angel Berroa.

The Kansas City Royals didn't have a highlight package, a passing comment or any other whisper of significance until the 58th minute out of 60 on Baseball Tonight, and yet they had the third-best defensive play and the most exciting finish to a baseball game on the day.

Even considering large market fan bias, that's just terrible television.

1 comment:

  1. I really wish there was some kind of Baseball Prospectus version of Baseball Tonight...

    IMpossible dream I guess...

    BT is such a tease, it has its uses, but is often infuriating.