Wednesday, October 15, 2014

AL playoffs and the broom

In case you didn't notice, every American League baseball playoff series was a sweep. That's pretty weird.

Five teams entered the postseason, including three division champions and two wild cards. Look at what happened.

In the wild card game, the KC Royals knocked off the Oakland As. Well OK, it was only one game, but technically that's a sweep. Perhaps of the whisk broom variety.

Then on to the ALDS matchups. The same Royals surprisingly swept away the heavily favored LA Angels 3-zip. In the meantime, the Baltimore Orioles were busy doing the same to the Detroit Tigers.

In the recently concluded ALCS, the Royals swept the Orioles 4-zip. The KC-sters are World Series bound awaiting the winner of the San Fran/St.Louis matchup in the NL.

Idle thought: What kind of odds would you have given when the post-season started that KC, merely a wild-card team, would not only advance to the Fall Classic, but so far remain undefeated during the playoffs at a combined 8-0?

This is good news and bad news. Definitely good for the Royals and their fans. Not so good for the As, Angels, and Orioles they swept along the way.

But it's bad news for a lot of other people. When sweeps happen, future potential games don't get played. And when those games don't get played, that's big-time lost revenue on several fronts.

Players not getting bonuses is a drop in the bucket. But owners are denied the major cha-ching of sold-out stadiums at playoff prices. Win or lose, with revenue sharing, packing a house either at home or on the road for another game means many millions of dollars to their bottom lines. Teams that play in big markets like those in LA or NY can still manage to offer huge player payrolls while not getting any playoff money. But there's a reason small market teams like, say, Seattle, Minnesota, and Tampa Bay continue to develop talent -- but can't keep them when free agency hits. Without big playoff bucks -- they can't afford it.

Though most fans don't notice, playoff sweeps are definitely bad news for others as well. Consider the various TV networks that ponied up big bucks in advance for the right to broadcast them. If there's no Game, 5, 6, or 7, obviously they can't televise them. That means empty air time they have to fill.

And trust me, the deep-pocketed "sponsors" they had lined up (see commercials) for playoff games aren't about to cough up the same mega-bucks for a 30 second ad spot on a Seinfeld rerun, cooking show, or the like. So they take a major hit too, both financially and in the almighty Nielsen ratings.

Bottom line? Sweeps are only good things for the home team. It's bad for most everybody else.

But hey, former KC Royal, Hall of Famer, and all-around good guy George Brett gets to seriously party for the first time in 30 years. Far be it from yours truly to argue with that......

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