Sometimes, if you can withstand the assault on your eardrums, you can hear some truth in Chris “Mad Dog” Russo’s epic rants.
Russo took aim at Major League Baseball, Fox Sports 1 and TBS on his SiriusXM radio show Wednesday, raving and carrying on about how the games are on too late and how fans have to stay up to ungodly hours of the night when they have work or school in the morning.
Headphone warning, you might want to turn the volume down unless you want to feel like the Marine privates in “Full Metal Jacket” when R. Lee Ermey got himself into a froth.
Here’s Chris “Mad Dog” Russo screaming, yelling, going nuts while eviscerating FS1, TBS and MLB. pic.twitter.com/ToKs9jeUih
— Jimmy Traina (@JimmyTraina) October 17, 2018
The clip picks up Russo in midrant:
“… should be steamed about this! This is ridiculous! Why, because of FS1, TBS? I mean, geez, they’re garbage channels anyway! My god! What, TBS wants to have part of the game leak into primetime, so they can’t start at 3 o’clock in Houston in Game 3? Nonsense! Who cares what TBS thinks? Put the game on, so we all can watch it, every part of the country!
“You think (NFL Commissioner Roger) Goodell would play his championship game at 3 a.m.? You think he would do that? Does Championship Sunday in the NFL, the first big game, begin at 7 and then the Rams play at 10? No, it doesn’t! Because the NFL controls the message! They control their television! They tell the networks what time the game is on!
“I understand that nobody else can play that game with the networks, the NFL can because of TV ratings. It makes it harder for the NBA and the NHL and baseball. But this is ridiculous! 2:25 a.m.!
“And when it’s convenient for baseball, they’ll make the Dodger fan go to a day game on a weekday in a postseason spot! ‘Hey, we gotta put the Cubs in primetime, screw it, you play at 1 o’clock!’ They don’t care! But when it’s not, when it’s the other way, they’re going to give you, when they do do something stupid like this, they’re going to tell you, ‘Well, we want the Dodgers fan watching at 6:09 on the West Coast.’ You can’t have it both ways! You cannot!
“Think about it! If you’re a Milwaukee Brewers fan living in Wisconsin, you went to bed on it! It’s 1:25 there! School night! Geez! 1:25!
“And tell you something else I screamed about on here today and I’ll do it again: How are the games on Saturday, the two games, if we get them, Game 6 Houston, Game 7 in Milwaukee, which we could get, why are those games on at 5 and 9? Did you know that? Did you know the times of those games? Red Sox play at 5, and the Brewers play Game 7 at 9:09 on Saturday night! All right, it’s a Saturday night, I can deal with a little later, but 9:09? What, are you worried about the Alabama-Tennessee game on CBS? Who cares? That’s ridiculous! Put the Red Sox at 3 and put the other game on at 7!”
This perfectly encapsulates baseball’s problem in a nutshell.
Consider that if you start the games too late on the East Coast, 50 percent of the population could be up past their bedtime just to watch the first inning, never mind the ninth.
Also, consider that baseball games have a nasty habit of running longer than binge-watching all the numbered “Star Wars” movies when they get into extra frames.
But if you start the games early, you lose the Pacific time zone, which has enough people that if you include Arizona (which is Pacific for most of the year due to daylight saving time) we contribute 91 electoral votes to the presidential mix, a solid one-sixth of the total.
If you start the Red Sox game at 3 p.m. Eastern, as Russo suggests, that’s noon Pacific. Kids here are at school and adults are barely leaking out to the restaurants for their lunch breaks.
Other sports can get away with this far more easily.
After all, a college basketball game runs about two hours. An NBA game runs a little under two-and-a-half. And barring something ludicrous like the wacky four-overtime game between Chicago and Detroit in 2015, if you start the game at 8 p.m. it will be over by 10:30, time enough to get the kids to bed at a mostly reasonable hour.
And this is before you consider that the upcoming World Series might involve the Red Sox and Dodgers; one team’s fans are going to have to either stay up until morning or watch a game that’s on way too early.
Baseball will never truly solve its TV problem until the sport takes less time than for-freaking-ever to play. In the meantime, guys like Chris Russo will go full nuclear yelling about it, looking like … well, a “Mad Dog” in the process.
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