Back in 2000, when I was in the seventh grade, the Chicago White Sox pounded the shit out of the baseball, grabbed 95 wins, and won their division for the first time in seven years. Then, in the playoffs, their league-leading offense disappeared, and they got swept out of the ALDS in three games by the wild card Seattle Mariners. What was a six-month thrill ride ended in less than a week. It was a kick in my preteen balls.

My dad, who’d been rooting for the Sox since the early 1960s, and had lived through a grand total of four Pale Hose playoff berths (including 2000), didn’t get to see a single pitch of the sweep because, like most people, he had a fucking job. He didn’t get home until after 6 p.m. The three games (which were all played on weekdays) started (in order) at: 3 p.m., noon, and 3 p.m. again. This pissed off my dad immensely.  

The reason why Major League Baseball did this was obvious; they wanted the highest-possible TV ratings for their biggest team in their largest market—the Yankees. All of New York’s games started at 7 o’clock Central Time. It would’ve been perfect for the Chicago area if they wanted to watch. 

But, contrary to what MLB thinks, not everyone gives a rat’s ass about the Yankees. 

When the Royals won the pennant last year it was at 6:03 p.m. local time…on a Wednesday. 

We didn’t witness a single pitch of that series. Why would we have any interest in two franchises we hadn’t followed all summer? This isn’t football, where you only have a handful of games that are played only one day per week. It takes a real commitment to keep up with baseball, especially considering teams play nearly every day for half a year.

Imagine, if you will, supporting a team through what is far and away the longest season in sports only to be screwed by mid-day start times during the most crucial games of the campaign. Perhaps you don’t have to imagine because, if you’re like many baseball fans, it has happened to you too. 

It was bad enough when Major League Baseball—through their daytime scheduling—was disregarding the very fans that supported their product through a grueling 162-game season when the Division Series came around. They still do that. But, for the past decade, they’ve expanded this money-grubbing bullshit into the Championship Series, too. In seasons past we’ve seen MLB alternate night games for different markets during the best-of-seven battle for the pennant. Case in point, last year the Royals and Orioles would play a night game then, the next day, the Giants-Cardinals would. It was still bogus. But only half as much.

This year they’re not even bothering with that. 

Image via USA TODAY Sports / John Rieger

That’s because MLB almost certainly got an organizational boner when two of their biggest markets advanced to the NLCS—New York and Chicago. They played at night yesterday. They’ll be playing at night again today. 

That comes at the expense of the working fan in Toronto (North America’s fifth-largest market) and Kansas City (America’s 31st-largest market).

Yesterday the Blue Jays and Royals faced off in the afternoon. They’ll be doing the same today. If the Blue Jays win, they can have a game Friday night because the Cubs and Mets aren’t playing. If the Royals win, they’ll jump to the World Series where their diehards will finally be able to consistently catch them on weeknights. 

Never mind that both teams’ fan bases have shown remarkable patience by waiting more than two decades for their teams to finally not suck. The Blue Jays just got done with the longest postseason drought in the four major sports—22 years. That mark was previously held by the Royals just a year before, when they finally got back to the postseason after 29 years. 

When the Royals won the pennant last year it was at 6:03 p.m. local time…on a Wednesday. 

[people] just want to watch their teams play contests that actually mean something after sitting through thousands that didn’t. 

If you were a kid, unemployed, or a shut-in—you were ecstatic. If you worked, hopefully you didn’t get stuck in traffic and made it home in time to see your team celebrate on the mound. Then, maybe, you got to watch the recap. Two-minute pun-filled highlights are just as thrilling as watching playoff games anyway, right?

Basically it comes down to this: I like baseball. I like it a lot. I liked it as a five-year-old kid. I’ll probably still like it as an 80-year-old kid. I can admit that many, many games during an MLB season are boring. You get games that are 6-0 before your team even comes to bat. You get games, unlike other sports, where non-injured starters rest and the manager sacrifices a blowout to keep key players spry. You get games that stretch on for hours due to on-and-off rain delays. It’s a freakin’ marathon that can, at times, be more boring than watching an actual marathon.  

But the postseason? Each pitch in the first inning of a Division Series feels like a mini heart attack. 

To sit through six months of games—from freezing early-April, to the dog days of August, to the playoff chase—only to miss the most exciting games your team has played in two decades shows how little MLB (and their TV partners) care about non-major markets. It’s as if some baseball and network shot callers simply think fans don’t care what teams are playing, as long as there’s a game on. 

Right now there have to be millions of fans who are silently enraged that they have to burn a personal day/sick day/risk getting fired to watch the biggest game in a generation for teams they’ve been supporting their whole lives. Meanwhile, Major League Baseball will tout that their ratings are up. Many will blindly applaud these figures and the suits who decided to ensure there’s only one option at a time to tune into. But that decision comes at the expense of honest, hardworking people who just want to watch their teams play contests that actually mean something after sitting through thousands that didn’t. Playoff games are rare. Nobody knows that better than Kansas City, or Toronto, or White Sox fans. 

Unfortunately, if you have a dad (or are a dad) in Kansas City/Toronto who missed most of this series, the only thing you can do is exactly what my dad did about it 15 years ago—absolutely nothing.

Or become a Yankees or Mets fan, I guess.