Behind the Mic: Watching Baseball

The Chicago Cubs have me watching baseball again.  And I would suspect a larger number of people will tune in to see if the Cubs can win their first World Series since 1908, 108 years ago. Teddy Roosevelt was the president.  They last played in the World Series in 1945.

The Cleveland Indians have not set the baseball world on fire either.  Their last World Series victory was in 1948 during the Harry S. Truman administration.  They did play in the 1997 Series and blew a ninth inning lead and lost in the eleventh to the Florida Marlins.

It will be very interesting to see if this storyline catches on with ALL fans.  World Series ratings have declined steadily, with three of the last four years owning the lowest ratings in history.  I, for one, became interested enough to watch the Cubs in their playoff games.  I enjoyed the games and was also frustrated by the sport.  There are things wrong with baseball.  With that in mind, I, along with many others, have come to some conclusions:

  1. There are too many playoff spots. Ten teams make the playoffs: five American League teams and five National League teams.  There are a possible 42 games that could be played to decide the overall champion.  42 games!  With the current set-up of three divisions, changing the format would be difficult.  Eliminating one wild card berth only reduces the playoffs by two games.  We are stuck with this system.
  2. The games take too long. This is the biggest drawback to truly enjoying baseball.  Pitchers take too long to pitch.  Batters take too long to get ready to hit.  Managers have too many options available that only slow down the game.  So, what is there to do?  Here are a few suggestions:
  • Hitters must stay in the batter’s box.
  • Pitchers must throw a pitch in 20 seconds.
  • 2:00 breaks between innings.
  • Three mound visits per game, not counting pitching changes.
  • Limit the number of pitching changes per inning.
  1. Start games earlier. I know this is an East Coast problem, but would it be bad to actually finish games BEFORE midnight?  Regular season games take around three hours.  The playoff games usually take around 3.5 hours.  Throw the first pitch at 8:00pm and the problem is solved.  Wait to 8:30pm and lose a big part of your audience.
  2. Young people are not watching. Because of reasons #2 and #3, young people have just not been turned on to the sport as far as viewership is concerned.  Sure the seats at the ballparks are filled for the most part and television revenue is up, but overall viewership is way down and the long-term outlook as far as interest has to be in trouble.
  3. The All-Star game winner gets home field advantage for the World Series. The team with the best record during the regular season should get home-field advantage.  The powers-that-be should not use a game that is so unlike a real game.  Enough said.


  1. The Cubs actually won back-to-back World Series in 1907 and 1908.
  2. The Indians lost three World Series match-ups in 1954, 1995, and 1997.
  3. Indians’ manager Terry Francona led the Boston Red Sox to a championship in 2004, following an 84-year drought. Ironically, he was hired by the Red Sox over Joe Maddon.  More irony in that Cubs’ General Manager Theo Epstein hired Francona over Maddon in Boston and hired Maddon in Chicago.  He seems to know what he is doing.
  4. Joe Maddon grew up in Hazleton, Pennsylvania. He attended Lafayette College and played baseball and football.  He received an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from Lafayette in 2010.  As a player, he was never able to go higher than Class A in his baseball career.
  5. On Friday, October 28, the RCN-TV crew will have the Parkland – Emmaus game LIVE at 7:00 PM. Emmaus can win the EPC South championship with a win.  That game will be followed by Easton-Nazareth.  That game is on at 10:00 PM.  The crew will have Georgetown at Lafayette on Saturday LIVE at 12:30PM.  Freedom-Liberty will be on at 7:00PM.  By the way, you can catch both of these award-winning bands on November 10 (8:00 PM), 11 (6:00 PM), and 12 (8:00 AM).

And that will end the regular season with District playoffs up next!


Gary’s Guesses: NFL Picks – (Last week – 9-4-1; Overall – 64-41-1 – 61%)

 Gary's Picks

Week Eight



Gary Laubach About Gary Laubach

Gary began his broadcasting career with Twin County in 1972. Twin County eventually became C-TEC and then RCN. Gary holds the dual role of Director of Media Services and Sports Director/Broadcaster. He currently broadcasts about 140 sports and entertainment broadcasts a year, and oversees the scheduling of all sporting events for RCN.

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