This is not a rant about the Phillies and Rockies getting screwed by MLB because its first two playoff games are in the afternoon. Hopefully, it's a little more subtle than that. This isn't about big-city bias. It is about baseball's misguided view of itself.
The fact is, nobody in the country watches Division Series baseball games during the afternoon outside of the fans of the teams involved. But baseball views itself as The National Pastime, and it sees that all NFL and NBA playoff games are televised live nationally, and it won't start the season a couple of days earlier or extend it a couple of days later, so we are left with rabid fans of participating teams unable to watch the games.
It's absurd. It is a schedule designed for sportswriters and shut-ins.
In 2007, the Phillies and Rockies got the same raw deal with two days games in Philadelphia to open their series. The first one drew 3.17 million viewers nationwide, the second 3.3 million viewers. I'm not a math major but if my ciphering is even close, somewhere between one-third and one-half of the people who watched those games were from Philadelphia and Colorado. Most everyone else who watched accidentally bumped into the game while looking for a rerun of "Cash Cab."
None of the other sports inconvenience its fans like this. There is no reason why baseball couldn't do regional telecasts on weekdays in the first round of the playoffs. The standard would be simple. There would be two time slots, 6 pm and 9 pm in the East. The slot that made the most sense for the home team would be the place the game would fall.
I guarantee you that the ratings would be higher. I guarantee you that the fans of the teams involved -- the people who really care; in many cases, the only people who care -- would be thrilled.
Who would be mad? The infinitesimal number of Americans without an allegiance to a team who like to watch games in the afternoon.
Why cater to them?