The events of Sept. 28, 2011 are among the most memorable moments for a MLB season finale in recent memory.
Do you remember?
Surely, MLB does, too. That might be why the league will start every game of the regular season finale on Sunday, Oct. 4 at the same time — 3 p.m. Eastern (2 p.m. Central and noon Pacific).
It is a move destined to generate interest, excitement and drama.
MLB chief operating officer Tony Petitti weighed in on the league’s decision that could result in the most epic day of baseball scoreboard watching, saying: “If a game impacts another game, they’re all occurring at the same time, so no team would be put into a lame-duck situation because their fate already had been decided by an earlier result. … If we do have games coming down to the wire, we want to make sure we maximize that day.”
Last season, the NL Central title and the second AL Wild Card spot came down to the final day of the regular season. But an early loss by the Pirates and win by the Athletics made late starts by the Cardinals and Mariners uninteresting at first pitch.
That would not be the case this year with simultaneous first pitches. And who wouldn’t want to have seen the Cardinals sweat it out during Game 162?
MLB isn’t the first league to pull this off, as fans of the English Premier League find themselves familiar with this scenario.
The EPL has Survival Sunday, when all 10 league matches are scheduled for the same time window on the same day. It’s an interesting day for the sport, which could feature implications for the league championship and relegation.
NBC Sports, which currently holds the broadcast rights to the EPL, simultaneously broadcasts the day’s games across more than 10 different channels including NBC, NBC Sports Network, CNBC, MSNBC, USA Network and Telemundo.
While a great idea in principle, MLB will still have to compete with the NFL regular season that Sunday for viewing eyes. But the value of simultaneous win-or-go-home games could trump regular season football and pull some viewers away for this kind of action.