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World Series to start on a Wednesday

5/14/2007 - MLB

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.