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SELIG AT THE BAT: SAYS GAME IS IN NEED OF SOME SERIOUS SPEED
Published October 23, 1997
MLB Acting Commissioner Bud Selig met the press yesterday in Cleveland and "expressed optimism" that the low TV ratings for the '97 World Series would improve and "indicated that the game's leaders will intensify their efforts to quicken the pace of play," according to Mark Maske of the WASHINGTON POST. Selig, on the TV ratings: "The problem with ratings is, everything is down. Every week I look at football ratings. Basketball, hockey -- they're all down. And (Tuesday) night was pretty good. We don't have any of the big markets in this Series. ... We started on a Saturday night, and that's a horrendous television night. NBC has been a huge winner (over the other networks) every night" (WASHINGTON POST, 10/23). Selig, after Tuesday's 14-11 Marlins win, which lasted 4 hours and 12 minutes and ended after 12:30am ET: "Am I concerned? Of course. But change in this business is very, very difficult. Even when it makes all the sense in the world." More Selig: "That was a game that was terribly ugly. I thought the 'Unfinished Symphony' had a better chance of finishing before that game. I mean, 25 runs and the pitchers were still falling behind every hitter. Ball One. Ball Two. Ball Three. It reminded me of watching my own team. ... What drives people crazy is watching pitchers circling the mound, waiting for a message from heaven." Selig said he will push for a shortened season which would allow the World Series to be played earlier and not face the cold temperatures that have hit Cleveland (Ken Daley, DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 10/23). Selig, on moving the World Series to a warm-weather site: "I can't fathom that ever happening. The pace of the game is the only thing we can do something about, and we'd like to" (WASHINGTON POST, 10/23). One MLB official on moving to a neutral site: "Can you imagine this World Series being played in New Orleans or San Diego, where there is absolutely no interest in either of these two teams? You wouldn't come close to filling the stadium for a week" (Bill Madden, N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/23). BUD'S LIGHTER SIDE: Selig, asked about the comments made by NBC's Don Ohlmeyer on the World Series: "Short of shooting him, what do you want me to do?" (Mult., 10/23). REAX: In Washington, Mark Maske: "This World Series ... hasn't helped baseball's recovery" (WASHINGTON POST, 10/23). In S.F., Tim Keown: "[A]t the moment of peak interest, the World Series is bringing everybody down" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 10/23). In N.Y., Mike Lupica: "The weather outside is frightful. So is the national pastime" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/23). Header above Tim Sullivan's column in Cincinnati: "Classic? Not by a long shot" (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 10/23). In Orange County, Randy Youngman: "Let's face it, baseball has become so infuriatingly slow ... that it makes chess seem exciting by comparison" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 10/22). In Minnesota, Patrick Reusse: "An exceptional Series was needed to avoid embarrassing TV ratings -- to slow baseball's slide in popularity" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 10/23). In Philadelphia, Jim Salisbury: "Welcome to the Winter Classic" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 10/23). USA TODAY's Hal Bodley notes the "crucial problem" to the TV ratings is the Marlins and Indians "are not high-profile teams." He goes on to add that the average time for all '97 postseason games is 3:13, and 3:26 through the first three games of the World Series (USA TODAY, 10/22). But in Providence, Sean McAdam writes that MLB "must deal with the weight of expectations. The World Series has been so compelling, so often, that anything less than a classic Fall Classic disappoints" (Providence JOURNAL-BULLETIN, 10/23).