Analysis. History. Perspective.

Sports Then and Now




Waiting for the Weekend: Winter in October Edition

Posted on October 23, 2009 by Dean Hybl

 

It was snowing in Foxboro in October. How will the weather be for baseball in November?

It was snowing in Foxboro in October. How will the weather be for baseball in November?

Let It Snow!!!

For the first time, the World Series is actually scheduled to finish up in November. The Series did go into November in 2001, but that was because of 9/11, but this year for some reason the baseball powers think November baseball is a good thing.

Now I love baseball and will miss it when the season is over, but that doesn’t mean I think they need to be playing past Halloween.

Sports seasons used to be pretty clean. Baseball started in early April and ended in mid-October. Football started in early-September and ended in mid-January. Basketball started in early November and ended in mid-June. Hockey started in early October and ended in mid-May.

For some reason, in recent years each of the seasons seems to be gradually getting bigger, much like my waistline. They just keep extending further out little by little until eventually you don’t even remember when it wasn’t at its current (enlarged) size.

Gone are the days of the Super Bowl being played in mid or late January as the last six Super Bowls have been played in February. The same could soon be true about having World Series games in October. If the World Series goes seven games, you could end up this season with more World Series games being played in November than in October.

Pretty soon they’ll be trying to convince us that the World Series is a “Thanksgiving Tradition” and the Super Bowl will be played in conjunction with President’s Day.

I’m not exactly sure the reason for this trend of lengthening the seasons, but I’m sure it has something to do with television. Like I always say: “If in doubt, blame the TV guys.”

Okay, I just made that up, but I should have said it before because it is most definitely true.

It is ironic that while the World Series keeps moving back on the calendar, the game is finally moving up on the clock. For the first time since 1971, nighttime World Series games will start prior to 8 p.m.

This means that those of us on the East Coast may actually get to see the entire game before falling asleep in front of Letterman.

The television people would like to make us think that they are being noble and doing this because they “heard from the fans.”

However, my guess is that because they are now starting World Series games so late into the fall that they recognized that starting at 8:30 would mean it would be really cold by the time the games ended after midnight. Starting at 7:58 p.m. won’t make a ton of difference, but it might help a bit on a cold Northeastern night.

Now those of you who know me know my two favorite baseball teams are the Baltimore Orioles and whoever is playing the New York Yankees. However, I almost am hoping the Yankees make it to the World Series this year so we can see how Bud Selig fumbles through a November World Series between two teams from cold weather cities.

What would be poetic justice is if either New York or Philadelphia (or both considering they aren’t that far Waiting-for-the-weekend2-149x300 (2)from each other) have a major cold spell while they are hosting the Series and they end up battling the cold and snow just to get the Series in.

Dealing with rain has always been a World Series issue, but how about having to postpone game seven because there was half a foot of snow on the ground.

Would serve them right for scheduling the game on NOVEMBER 5th!!!

Speaking of Snow

If you haven’t read the tailgate confession of my partner in crime Joe Gill you have got to check it out.

Seems that last Sunday Joe and a buddy had tickets to the New England Patriots game against the Tennessee Titans. After tailgating in a cold more suited for December than October, instead of enduring the snow of Gillette Stadium they went down the street to a local drinking establishment and watched the shellacking without worrying about freezing to death.

I have never been a season ticket holder for an NFL team, but I thought Joe’s story and plight are a perfect example of what fans across the nation are facing and the choices they have to make.

The cost to attend professional sporting events has gotten so expensive that even in a good economy they have priced out many loyal followers.

The choice Joe had to make between being comfortable or enduring the elements to be there in person is one that many fans are facing even when it is a pretty day.

It seems that every new stadium that is built raises the bar not just for luxury, but also for costs. Sure more than 105,000 people attended the first game in the Dallas Cowboy’s new stadium, but the crowd was down to 90,000 for the second home game and I’m betting the numbers will continue to decline as the novelty wears off and the economic reality sets in.

There was a similar situation in New York this season where the New York Yankees opened their glorious new ballpark, but raised ticket prices to the point where many long-time ticket holders had to opt out of enjoying the amenities of the new stadium. Despite winning 103 games and reaching the American League Championship Series, the Yankees saw a drop in attendance of more than 7,000 fans per game from the previous season.

Even in horrible weather, Joe still did his tailgating and nearly went into the stadium because he already had made a financial commitment.

If professional sports teams continue to keep escalating ticket prices, next time Joe (and thousands of fans just like him) may just decide that watching the game from home (or his local tavern) makes a lot more sense and is more cost effective than actually making the trip to the stadium.

Maybe if enough Joe’s make that decision, sports teams will get the message. Or maybe not.

Birthdays

Each week we look at some current and former athletes who were born during the week. This week I also want to say Happy Birthday to my brother, Darian Hybl, who turns 40 today (October 23).

Here are some notable sports figures born during this week:

October 23: Jim Bunning (1931), Chi Chi Rodriguez (1935), Doug Flutie (1962)

October 24: YA Title (1926), Ian Baker Finch (1960), Jay Novacek (1962)

October 25: John Heisman (1869), Bobby Knight (1940), Dan Gable (1948)

October 26: Sid Gillman (1911), Chuck Foreman (1950), Bert Emanuel (1970)

October 27: Kyle Rote (1928), Bill George (1930), Patty Sheehan (1956)

October 28: Peggy Kirk Bell (1921), Bruce Jenner (1949), Terrell Davis (1972)

October 29: Jesse Barfield (1959), Michael Carter (1960)


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