Amidst some of the worst umpiring in years, and despite rugby weather and a three-day game, the Philadelphia Phillies have won the World Series, 4 games to 1. It's their first World Series win since 1980, and second in their 120 year history. The Most Valuable Player was starting pitcher Cole Hamels.
Philadelphia Phillies' Pedro Feliz singles off Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Chad Bradford to drive in Eric Bruntlett during the seventh inning of Game 5 of the baseball World Series in Philadelphia, Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2008. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
The Tampa Bay Rays have the nucleus of a multi-year playoff team, if they're willing to keep these exciting young players on staff. With better, timely hitting, and competent umpires, they could have held their own.
Unfortunately for the Phillies or fortunately for the Rays, hardly anyone watched. The Houston Chronicle points out that viewership was abysmal (an 8.4 rating and 14 share), lower than the dismal 10.1 rating for the Cardinals-Tigers series in 2006 (which the Cardinals won, by the way). Short series are ratings killers, and small market teams (i.e., someone other than the teams based in New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, etc.) draw fewer viewers. The weather issues didn't help. Perhaps doubling up on a few more double headers to trim the regular season might be a plan, though it would mean less money in owners' pockets.
I just hope Bud Selig, a font of bad leadership, doesn't decide to follow the NFL's lead and picking AL and NL domed or warm-city stadia might be a good idea for the Series. Could you imagine if the Cubs finally made it to the World Series with a team that looked capable of winning it all, and then their poor fans realized they had to travel to Anaheim or Atlanta or Miami to see them play?