Saturday, April 5, 2008

Saturday Night Baseball?

For decades, three teams have traditionally played more than half of their games during the day. The Chicago Cubs, the Oakland A's and the San Francisco Giants. The Cubs didn't get stadium lights put in until 1988, and day baseball is still the tradition on the Northside. The A's and Giants have always played a high percentage of day games, and always a day game on Saturday, because of the cool, foggy nighttime weather in the Bay Area, with the midweek getaway day usually played under the sun, too.

Saturday afternoon at the ballpark in the sunshine has always been a treat. But things have changed, and the Giants have just this year started playing a large majority of their Saturday games at night. Why? The short answer is television. FOX has the rights to the daytime slot and teams are forbidden to televise their own games during that time. Since the Bonds era is over and the Giants really suck, FOX isn't going to show the Giants anytime soon. They were on FOX nearly every Saturday in at least a regional game for years. Now the Giants have nothing more than their historic name as a national TV draw. So, to take in TV revenue, they're moving most of their Saturday games to a night starting time so either the local FOX Sports Net or their new channel 11 can carry the game, and the Giants can still pull in some revenue. TV money rules baseball. Just my guess, anyway.

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