The MLB playoffs started this week with a play-in game in Arlington and wild card games in Pittsburgh and Cleveland. Although the new format makes for a more exciting and dramatic postseason it won't necessarily create a larger viewing audience. Some potential World Series match ups could have the whole country tuning in while others may struggle to get better ratings than a re-run of Storage Wars. It all depends on which teams hold up their end of the bargain. Here's a list of the best and worst case scenarios for the World Series.
1. The advertisers worst nightmare: Tampa Bay vs. Pittsburgh. The Tampa Bay Rays have established themselves as a perennial postseason threat while the Pirates are experiencing success we haven't seen since the Barry Bonds era. That doesn't make them entertaining to watch however. Your average fan can't name two players on either squad and could care less about who wins or loses. If these two teams meet up in the World Series baseball will lose millions.
2. For baseball purists only: Oakland vs. St. Louis. The A's and the Cardinals both have a storied tradition and a combined 20 World Series titles between them. They play fundamentally sound baseball and no one player is bigger than the team. That being said if you don't live in the Bay Area or near the Gateway Arch and your name isn't Peter Gammons or Buster Olney this series would probably bore you to death.
3. Familiar and competitive: Detroit vs. Atlanta. This potential match up has a little sizzle to it. Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera are former MVP's and the Braves are synonymous with winning. There's enough storylines and intrigue to hold your interest through the final at bat.
4. The royale with cheese match up: Boston vs. Los Angeles. There's more wanna be pretend Red Sox fans than the population of Canada (literally) and the Dodgers are the New
York Yankees of the west coast. Everybody and their grandma will tune in to watch this slug fest. Sponsors will give MLB a blank check and ask questions later. There's so much love and hate for both of these teams the Nielsen ratings would go through the roof. LA vs. Boston could actually make baseball relevant again.