Rocktober is here! The Rockies are in the playoffs and I’m really looking forward to see the Rockies take on the Phillies. only to find out that the game aired at 12:30pm on a Wednesday?!? We’re talking about playoffs – the pinnacle of your season – yet MLB in it’s idiotic lack of wisdom puts the game on when the entire country is at work and can’t watch the game. At what point is this a good idea? I realize that these leagues feel like their game should be the only game on TV, but at what point does it seem like a good idea to air your game in the middle of the day compared to airing two games in the same night, or rotating the 4 games with 2 on each night for opposite nights? Thanks for nothing baseball!
However baseball isn’t the only sport that screws up their playoff schedules. Nobody is perfect at doing this, but a lot of leagues have a lot more to learn than others.
It’s pretty hard to screw up football, and the NFL does a pretty good job of not killing momentum with the playoffs. With the “1 and done” format and the fact that the NFL is played on weekends, it’s not surprising the the Super Bowl is an unofficial national holiday.
What they need to improve: Get rid of the week between the Conference Championships and the Super Bowl. While I’m sure all those involved with the game appreciate that week, it’s excruciating watching the hype-machine in overtime. This year they’re putting the Pro Bowl in that week between the games, so hopefully this schedule/format change will improve things a bit.
The NHL arguably does the “best of.” playoff series most effectively. The NHL isn’t afraid to alternate nights, and have teams play on the same night, yet ensure that each series effectively gets a share of the spotlight. The playoff rhythm is strong and consistent from the start of the playoffs to the Stanley Cup Finals.
What they need to improve: Get on a network where people can watch them. They would have the perfect playoff format if they were on at least a major cable network.
The NBA is obnoxious with it’s playoff scheduling, especially in the early rounds. You have teams that play one night, then won’t play again until 3 or 4 nights later. They get in a better rhythm in the later rounds, but it’s tough to get through the first round and realize that the playoffs are going to span a better part of 2 months.
What they need to improve: Go to a best of 5 series for the first round, maybe even for the 2nd round. Alternate nights for these rounds so that the series won’t last longer than 10 days. If necessary, air 3 games on the same night. The Eastern/Western Conference layout makes it easier to make sure the home teams can get a the game on in their prime-time.
MLB has a lot of wrongs that they need to correct, and they need to start with October. First off, they need to get their games at times when people can watch them. That means that they need to get their first-round games out of the mid-afternoon time slot, as well as get their League Championship Series and World Series at earlier start times so that people on the East Coast can watch them without staying up until 1-2am. Trust me, the West Coast will tolerate a 4:30 start time for the World Series.
What they need to improve: Aside from the previously mentioned time changes, they need to move to an “Alternate Night” model and stick with it. if a series ends early, don’t be afraid to kick it off reasonably early. Rest after a series is not a right guaranteed to both teams, it’s something you earn by sweeping your opponent. It’s inexcusable that the Rockies had to wait nearly 10 days to play the next round.
Honorable Mention: College Basketball. They do the most effective job maintaining intensity for a 64 team playoff throughout the end. If they could just do away with the 64/65 “Play-In” game they would be perfect.
Dishonorable Mention: College Football. It’s hard to have a playoff schedule without a playoff. Aside from that, the fact that the bowl games are played up to 5 weeks after their last game is asinine.