The biggest question we all had when we woke up Friday is "how is going to work?"
On paper, creating an insta-game 7 seems almost too good to be true. Like finding out movie theater popcorn butter is good for you or fining 20 bucks in a pair of jeans you haven't worn since spring. Who doesn't like game 7's?
In reality, this was a move by MLB rooted more in Gladiator style pain.
We like to think that we've advanced the human race beyond sending people into the arena to fight to the death for our amusement.
We still cherish the 'thrill of victory' and endure the 'agony of defeat'. It's a little less messy blood wise (and body count wise) in 2012, sure. But we love the drama.
The NFL has surpassed baseball as America's pastime for a number of reasons. (Try to put up a MLB clip on YouTube and feel the love...) Perhaps the main reason, though, is the fact that the NFL season is 17 straight weeks of DO or DIE. There are no games where you can roll out the B team and hope for the best result, maybe sneaking out a win when you shouldn't because you got a long flight.
It's a pressure cooker.
Same way with March Madness. We've substantially upped the stakes when it comes to expectations for our entertainment dollars. And MLB recognized they needed to throw their hat in the ring. Friday night, we all saw the outcome.
1) The defending AL Champion and favorite to win the World Series less than a week ago in Vegas, are now done for the winter. They had a bad series in Oakland to lose the AL West on the last day of the season and then got dump trucked by a Baltimore team that doesn't know what they hell they're doing, but is hyped to be here.
2) The Braves played baseball like you'd expect to see on a Tom Emanski BEFORE clip featuring Fred McGriff. Oh, and had a terrible infield fly call go against them that they can stew over for the next 5 months to boot. They also went from popping bottles 2 days ago to the off-season in short order.
If you've watched SportsCenter any of the past Saturday mornings for 5 weeks, you've seen about as much play for baseball as you do for hockey any other day. Even though the sport was in it's most important stretch. This AM? WALL TO WALL BASEBALL!
Bud Selig is the big winner here.
Personally, I love the new format. I was in a packed bar, yelling at the TV with 200 new friends. Living and dying with each new bizarre play in the Cardinals game. Nobody, literally, had ever seen a game like this, and it's going to be talked about for years to come. Cardinal fans have a memory this morning they didn't have before.
The casual fan is also more engaged, raising baseball's profile. Creating more drama. Shooing away all those that are all 'baseball is SOOOOOO boring." Well, this night was not boring. May have been terrible in some people's eyes, but it wasn't boring. 4 differnt markets are totally on fire about baseball for different reasons today. It's the lede on a weekend when it normally wouldn't.
Apathy kills in sports these days. Like it or not, this is the future of the grand old game. Because the simple fact that baseball is going to overshadow football, even for a day, is a big deal to everyone that matters.
Welcome to the new MLB.