The New York Yankees lead the World Series 3-2 over the Philadelphia Phillies as the series returns to Yankee stadium for the final two games. Yes, I’m aware there may end up being one game. But, no league has ever needed a Game 7 more than Major League Baseball needs one now. MLB Network analysts Matt Vergersian, Harold Reynolds, Al Leiter and Mitch Williams wrapped up their pre-game show by recognizing the importance of a Game 7 all at once saying, “We don’t care who wins, please just give us a game 7!”
Here are five reasons MLB NEEDS a Game 7:
Ah, the black eye. The ‘roid cloud has affected fans’ perception of the league, possibly doing damage similar to that of the ‘94 strike, making us doubt our heroes. But, like Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa helped fans forget post-strike, there’s nothing like a Game 7 to heal all wounds. And, the players who have been outed a la A-Rod, have been forgiven and are presumably clean. The testing is there, no matter what your opinion is on the testing, Major League Baseball is perceived as being the cleanest it’s been since Reggie Jackson was an Oakland A. Nevertheless, Game 7 drama and excitement would make even the hardest cynic forget PEDs.
Last season’s World Series topped out at a 9.3 rating, this World Series lowest rating is a 9.1 and highest a 13.5. Maybe we can’t go back to the days were MLB was king, but drawing higher ratings builds momentum for the league to compete against the mighty NFL. Think of it this way: When selling MLB next year, if there is a Game 7, the league can charge more from sponsors by proving its product can compete. If the highest rating is a 13.5 so far, Game 7 would likely flirt with a 15, which would be the highest since the historic 2001 World Series, which also went to seven games. Also good for the league, the mantra “MLB is back” will undoubtedly spread.
Yes, that word. Think of the Game 7s of the past. Names like Mazeroski, Edgar Renteria, Luis Gonzalez, Johnny Podres etc. come to mind when you think Game 7. Who would be this year’s Maz? A Game 7 would give 50 players a chance to stamp their names in history and create unforgettable “remember that” moments. Sure, the game could be a blowout, but just the potential of that moment would draw attention back to Major League Baseball.
-Making up for lackluster Division and Championship series
Two sweeps in the American League and a sweep and a 3-1 result in the National League Division Series made the MLB wish they had Tim Donaghy calling balls and strikes. The Championship Series’ weren’t much better going 4-2 and 4-1. So, the league only saw only 24 out of a potential 34 games be played. That’s 10 missed ticket sales, concessions sales etc. and also, six missed chances at a clinching game, which ultimately would have meant boosted TV ratings. And six series that completely failed to thrill fans. The World Series is the last chance at a clinching game, which the league hasn’t seen since 2002, including series sweeps in ’04, ’05 and ’07.
-Redemption for all
The sweeps in the previously mentioned years are why redemption is needed. Major League Baseball can redeem itself by making up for poor World Series of the recent past; consider the casual fan who certainly passed on Game 4 of Red Sox vs. Rockies. This Game 7 will bring in that casual fan, especially considering how close the games have been, out of five games so far, only one has not been separated by three runs or less.
The Yankees can redeem themselves for a decade of failing to win with the highest payroll and can finally justify outrageous ticket prices. Keep in mind the Yankees drew around 4,000 less fans per game than in 2008.
Bud Selig can redeem himself for giving us the “Radar Game” from 2008.
Selig, FOX, owners and all who support Major League Baseball are pleading, as the MLB Network crew said, “Please give us a Game 7!”
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Matthew Coller is staff member of the Business of Sports Network and is a freelance writer. He can be followed on Twitter
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