…she isn’t all bad. OK, so television executives and Major League Baseball officials are distressed at the potential for a Philadelphia Phillies-Tampa Bay Rays World Series. The Phillies are already in and the Rays lead the Boston Red Sox 3-1 going into tonight’s Game 5 at Fenway Park.
And the media’s been plenty down on the prospect already, knowing that MLB and Fox were salivating at the possibility of a Red Sox –Los Angeles Dodgers matchup. My favorite storyline in that would have been the Red Sox paying for Manny Ramirez to face them in a Dodgers uniform.
But since that’s not going to happen, I wondered if there’s any aspect of the baseball business that benefits by having a small-market or a team that’s brand new to the postseason or just a plain old good story in the World Series? After all, the Phillies have won the World Series just once in their history – in 1980.
Besides, as a sports fan, how can you not love Cinderella stories?
Here’s what MLB President Bob DuPuy said via email:
“From a business standpoint, having competitive balance and a Cinderella story like Tampa Bay is very good for the game. It not only stimulates the Tampa Bay market, both in terms of ticket sales going forward and merchandise, but it gives the fans in other communities that have had lackluster seasons hope that they can catch lightning in a bottle next year.”
He went on to say, “There is no reason why Kansas City or Pittsburgh cannot next year be the Tampa Bay of this year or the Colorado of last year.”
Kansas City and Pittsburgh? But you get the idea. We’re talking about the Rays, who’ve never had a winning season before.
“While it may take a while for the nation to catch up with the Rays on television, their dramatic march through the playoffs has captured the interest of the casual as well as the avid fan and will only continue to grow as/if they move on to the World Series,” DuPuy said.