Friday, August 19, 2005


During the past week I've slipped further into becoming a Wisconsinite. I've always found the Milwaukee Brewers to be a fairly "meh" team - not old enough to have much tradition, not new enough to get expansion points, and not inspiring enough in the present to win my support in the present. However, I've been feeling downright giddy about their 2-0 win at Coors Field, and then the triumph over Roger Clemens last night that has them within 5 games of the Wild Card. This last is especially striking as I've been sort of hoping to see Biggio and Bagwell get into a World Series and I like dominant pitching. The only thing I can really trace this to is watching the FSN broadcasts which make the Brewers into a hometown team.

Meanwhile, as a fan of certain sports rather than sports as a whole, I often find myself in a dilemma when I get angry over off-field situations. I'm pretty much an enabler for whatever happens in Major League Baseball simply because I love baseball, and couldn't simply switch over to soccer or something with the same level of enjoyment. The situation in hockey is different because of the Badger option, but I really don't feel pressure to ignore the NHL as a statement because in cancelling an entire season the NHL has clearly reduced themselves to a state where they don't need any more punishment. I mean, their national TV contract is now with the Outdoor Life Network.

Of course what really interests me about the NHL TV situation is the fact that NBC will get most of the Stanley Cup finals. NBC's ratings expectations are higher than a cable networks. Can the NHL satisfy them without major ratings draws in the finals, like maybe the Avalanche and Flyers? This might actually lead to a situation in which a salary cap, by making the playing field equitable for different market sizes, costs the sport national TV money by significantly raising the possibility that the teams competing for the championship will be from areas with small numbers of potential viewers - I can't see casual viewers flocking to watch Buffalo vs. Edmonton.


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