Outrage! TV says champion Phillies still not ready for prime time


They play in the nation's 4th largest television market.

They have one of the most compelling lineups in baseball in the last generation, from a slugger in Ryan Howard who is literally producing Ruthian statistics to your classic all-around sparkplugs in Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley to an ace pitcher from central casting -- Hollywood good looks included -- in Cole Hamels.

Most importantly, they are -- to paraphrase Utley ever so slighty -- the world freakin' champions of baseball.

So why does Major League Baseball -- and the TV executives behind the curtain calling the shots -- insult you and me and every other Phillies fan by yet again by declaring that the defending world champs are not ready for primetime. The much-anticipated schedule for the Phillies first three playoff games against the Colorado Rockies has just been released, and I think it's an insult.

Two weekday afternoon (2:37 p.m.) games -- the lowest rated, low-profile time slot, when most of the fans who dinged the turnstiles at Citizens Bank Park an amazing 3.6 million times this year will be at work or trying to wrap up their school day. Followed by a Saturday night game that starts at 9:37 p.m. (who comes up with these times?), which is great for the Phillies' beer-chugging College Night contingent but ensures that the team's youngest fans -- the ones needed to keep baseball going into the late 21st Century -- won't stay up to see the end of the game, which could come close to 1 in the morning thanks to the slow pace of playoff baseball.

You know, it's nauseating how Manhattan-based TV World -- the next-door neighbors and prime bankrollers of Major League Baseball -- impose their Yankees-v.-Red-Sox-centric view of baseball on the rest of America. Sure, there've been some good times in Fenway and the House that Ruth Built and now the House that Plutonomy (look it up) Built, but...enough already! How many Octobers must we be forced to watch A-Rod bouncing back to the pitcher with the bases loaded? Meanwhile, interesting teams and interesting players from around the rest of America get the shaft -- even if they're the defending world champions.

You could make the case that while the vast majority of fans -- certainly 9-to-5 workers -- are shafted by the first-round schedule, there's something romantic about day baseball in October. Sure -- but this isn't even about that, really. It's all about R-E-S-P-E-C-T. I hope the Phillies' players feel the same way that their fans do about getting dissed by national TV, and whack this demeaning schedule 450 feet off MLB's proverbial right-field scoreboard. Winning is the best revenge and in this case the only revenge -- especially while the Moet champagne on ice in those Madoff-sized luxury suites up in Yankee Stadium goes flat for yet another year.