TBS proved a point Saturday, there is something worse than having to listen to Chip Carey cover the playoffs and that is not being able to listen to him at all. Thanks to a “router failure” TBS was unable to put Game 6 of the ALCS on the air until the middle of the first inning, seven batters into the game, Saturday night. The technical glitch just highlights a dismal postseason effort by baseball and its TV partners.
Yes, the age of playoff baseball being shown in daylight hours is almost extinct, but there is a price baseball pays for its insistence on starting games after 8pm in the East and that is children don’t usually get to stay up and watch the games. Since children are the future fans and financial backers of the sport, this would seem to be an obvious error in judgment by baseball, but they apparently don’t think so. Maybe they haven’t noticed, but the Super Bowl kicks off right around 6:20 every year allowing most kids a chance to see at least the first half.
Apart from the start times, the coverage has been uneven at best. Baseball sold the playoffs to TBS and FOX, cutting ESPN out of the mix two years ago. TBS has some good announcers, but not enough depth to cover the four opening round series. FOX has a solid, if sometimes annoying team in Joe Buck and Tim McCarver, but we have only seen them in the NLCS so far (they will do the World Series when it starts Wednesday). The current TV deal runs through 2013, hopefully TBS can improve the quality of their production by then. Just don’t expect the games to start any earlier.