[Given tonight's Monday Night Football doubleheader, ECB West Coast Correspondent Michael was given the opportunity to put the theory that he has been pestering me about for five years into writing: namely that the West Coast is ideal for sports viewing. Enjoy, and come up with some counterarguments.]
With 75% of this country’s 300 million people living in either the Eastern or Pacific Time Zones, it is tough for leagues to televise events where everyone can watch the entire game. If they start them at 7:00 in the East, people in the West won’t even get home from work until the second half. Likewise, if they start it at 7:00 in the West, people in the East would be falling asleep in the second quarter. It is a tough balance, and logically enough, they compromise by starting most games at 8:30 or 9:00 Eastern, and I maintain that the West coast is by far the better option of the two.
Baltimore, 1979. Marty Bass is attacked after Orioles-Pirates World Series coverage runs into the third shift at Bethlehem Steel.
Some East coast fans also scoff at the notion of college football games kicking off at 9am on Saturday, and NFL games at 10am on Sunday. While 9am on Saturday is a bit early, it typically is an ESPN Big-10 game, which probably isn’t even worth watching. And for NFL Sunday’s, I couldn’t think of a better time than 10am. Many Sundays during football season, I wake up, roll over, turn on the TV to see kickoff. Or for when I am more ambitious, many bars out here offer bloody mary specials and $1 breakfast burritos. It is quite a sight to see a bar overflowing at 10am. And this year they took the best games and put them on Sunday night. Last nights Giants/Cowboys game ended around 8:30, instead of starting around the same time, still allotting me a full hour of Family Guy to watch afterwards.
To close this article and further prove my point, I will give a few examples of times all of you wished lived in the Pacific Time Zone. The first one is one that J-Red reminded me of, Jack Morris’ 10-inning no-hitter in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series. At the time, I was a 7th grade kid living in Connecticut, and only saw the few three innings of this game which started at 8:30 on a Sunday night…only reading about the end in the next day’s paper, and watching it on tape after school that day. Then you have Derek Jeter becoming “Mr. November” with his game winning home run well after midnight on a Halloween Wednesday night in the 2001 World Series. In the 2007 NBA Playoffs, the two best series (Mavs-Warriors and Suns-Spurs) both had most of their games top off at 10:45 Eastern Time, 7:45 Pacific. And then you have the best game from the 2006 NCAA Tournament, and one of the great comebacks in tournament history: UCLA vs Gonzaga in the Sweet 16. Not only because it was two west coast teams but also because of the tip-off time (10:40 Eastern, due to a long first game that night), very few people actually saw UCLA score the final 11 points in the last two minutes to win 73-71, in a game that ended around 1:00am (Eastern) late on a Thursday night.
The proof is in the pudding. People have been saying it since the 1840s, and it could never be more true to this day: “Go west, young man.” It really is a rough life, but someone has got to live it.