The times they are a changing

Legendary hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan hit the nail on the head on their 1993 classic single C.R.E.A.M., which is an acronym for Cash Rules Everything Around Me.

This line is the perfect description of the broadcasting schedule for the postseason in Major League Baseball. Television contracts are worth big bucks and the starting times for each game reflect these skyrocketing revenue rates.

I hate to sound like the old guy in the barber shop, especially when I'm only 32, but back in the day when I was coming up, they showed a nice mix of late afternoon and night playoff games that ended at a reasonable hour.

This helped blossoming sports fans like myself learn about the vast differences in the level of intensity between regular season and playoff baseball.

That all seems like ancient history now.

Baseball is losing its young fan base because of the late start times during its most cherished month - October.

While I'm sure the number of pre-teen and adolescent Dodgers or Angels fans on the East Coast are fewer than the gas stations with fuel under $4 in the metro area, the future of the game rests on the shoulders of elementary, middle and high school-aged viewers regardless of one's affiliation.

It's already bad enough that the playoffs have such a late start, but if you add on the 30-minute pregame show, combined with the assortment of commercials and overall lengthy time of a baseball game, an 8 p.m. opening broadcast turns into a final wrap-up well after midnight.

Fortunately for my co-workers and I, we work nights, so the lateness of the games doesn't effect us too much. But for the rest of you who work first shift, you'll either have to stay up well past your bedtime or catch the highlights the next day to follow up on the action.

I know we live in a world where television times are regulated by East Coast bias and advertising rates, but there is something special about rushing home from school or leaving work early to watch the playoffs in the middle of the day.

Those old grainy clips of Willie Mays making his classic over-the-shoulder catch in Game 1 of the 1954 World Series, Don Larsons' perfect game in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series and Bill Mazeroski's walk-off home run to clinch the World Series for the Pirates over the Yankees in 1960 stand tall as some of the greatest moments in baseball history.

The times they are a changing.

They're being pushed back later and later, forcing an entire generation to resort to 3-minute highlight reels and YouTube clips to capture the essence of playoff baseball.

Hope you have some NoDoz, because it's going to be a long night.

(Rory Sharrock is a sportswriter for the Clayton News Daily and Henry Daily Herald. He can be reached at