SELIG AT THE BAT: SAYS GAME IS IN NEED OF SOME SERIOUS SPEED
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).