World Series to start on a Wednesday
In an effort to boost sagging ratings for the World Series, Major League Baseball announce Monday that the 2007 Fall Classic will start on Wednesday instead of Saturday.
A Wednesday allows baseball to avoid playing on Friday, which is TV's second-least watched night after Saturday. If the Series goes to a Game 5, it also would go head-to-head with ESPN's Monday Night Football.
Game 1 will be scheduled for Wednesday Oct. 24. If the Series goes to a Game 7, it will be played on Nov. 1, the first time baseball has scheduled a World Series game in the month of November.
"Maybe it will be over by Thanksgiving," Oakland's Mike Piazza said after Monday's announcement.
It won't be the first time a Series game has been played in November, however, as the Yankees and Diamondbacks played into November 2001 after the season was delayed after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11 of that year.
"Starting the World Series in the middle of the week, when television viewership is historically higher, will provide more fans with the opportunity to watch the games," MLB president Bob DuPuy said.
DuPuy told USA Today that baseball considered starting the World Series on a Tuesday, but that would mean a Series game would be played on a Friday, and avoiding a Friday night game was a priority for the league.
The 2007 postseason will start on Wednesday Oct. 3 with the Division Series, which will air on TBS, with some games on TNT. The National League Championship Series is scheduled to begin on Thursday, Oct. 11 and will be televised by TBS. Fox will televise the American League Championship Series, which will begin on Thursday, Oct. 12. Fox also will broadcast the World Series.
"I remember when we were in the World Series in 2000 talking to Yogi Berra and he said that their World Series were usually over Oct. 7 or 6th," Piazza said. "Wow. It's like a whole other season."
Because of the schedule changes, there will be an extra day off between the end of the regular season and the postseason openers on Oct. 3, and there will be three additional days off during the postseason.
One will be between Games 4 and 5 of the division series, when teams had complained about playing without a travel day.
"The additional off-days throughout the postseason will give us greater flexibility to facilitate travel and protect against poor weather," DuPuy said.
An extra day off is being added between Games 4 and 5 of each league championship series. Barring rainouts, that means that pitchers who start LCS openers won't be able to make their next starts on four days' rest -- teams will have to choose between short rest and extra rest.
"That might have some bearing on how you set your rotation up -- with a guy that might be able to bounce back," New York Mets manager Willie Randolph said.
In addition, there is an extra off day between the LCS and the World Series. Detroit had six days of rest following its AL championship series victory last year, then looked flat in losing the World Series to St. Louis in five games. Six days off matched the most, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
"There have been a lot of postseasons determined where one teams has had an elongated period of time off, which takes away from your intensity," Piazza said. "The extreme is not having enough time. There's a fine line there with two or three days and eight days. It's going to bring a lot more options to the manager pitching-wise."
Mets pitching coach Rick Peterson immediately thought of that.
"It just opens up more strategy," he said. "I think anytime that you have competitive strategy, I think it's a good thing."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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