From the clubhouse laptop to Santa Anita in 45 minutes
Whoever put off days, or more precisely off days without travel, into one of these League Championship Series, is either an idiot or a saint.
If we were stuck in some rainy, cold eastern city today, it would definitely be the former. But this is sunny California; the temperature is in the high 20s, Santa Anita is racing, the tops are down, if you know what I mean and I think you do, and the Yankees and Angels are working out fairly early in advance of Thursday’s fifth and possibly deciding game.
So the powers that be who are spacing out these league series will read nothing bad about themselves. At least not here. Today. Not unless I blow the expense money at the racetrack.
The reason they are inserting these days off has to do with the drawing power of football, specifically the mighty NFL, which baseball does not wish to challenge. The World Series, which used to begin and end on weekends (that was at least the plan) now will begin mid-week and end the same way, with only one weekend going head to head with the NFL and getting killed in the ratings. So these LCS are extended to make less of a gap before the World Series begins. That’s the theory, anyway. Both the Phillies Wednesday and the Yankees Thursday could shut them down in five games, which would mean a six-day wait until things crank up again in Yankee Stadium.
If Alex Rodriguez can stay this mind-numbingly hot with six days off between games, God bless him.
By the way, a wander through the Yankee clubhouse today revealed one more way things have changed. Used to be that a clubhouse had a TV set, newspapers, magazines (some of the one-hand variety), candy bars, a couple of beat-up couches and a coffee maker. Now there are big, flat-screen TVs, the skin mags have been replaced by journals focusing on wealth management, there are things like fruit along with all the candy and, biggest difference, there is a table full of laptop computers streaming video.
Matter of fact, after Monday’s defeat here that included pinch-runner Brett Gardner getting thrown out trying to steal on a pitch-out, he was encamped before a laptop, replaying video of the Angels’ defence on the play. Even in a clubhouse, technology is king.