Wednesday, October 23, 2013

World Series Time

Sitting down to watch Game 1 of the World Series tonight between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Boston Red Sox. Was joking a little last week about how baseball really doesn’t capture my attention so much anymore until the postseason rolls around, and with the playoffs now extending deeper into October the Series is probably the only time when I’ll sit down and watch every game, or at least most of every game.

If this year’s Series goes the full seven games it will be ending on Halloween, which means it will be over and done with when that other World Series -- the World Series of Poker -- finally cranks back up with the “November Nine” starting on Monday, November 4.

Thanks to the way ESPN now presents its coverage of the Main Event, most who watch probably think of the WSOP as only the Main Event. That is to say, there must be a decent number of casual viewers who are aware of the WSOP having a big tournament every year in which a world champion is crowned, but aren’t necessarily aware or concerned about all of the preliminary events, never mind what’s happening at WSOP Europe, WSOP Asia Pacific, or even all the other tours and tourneys filling up the calendar from January to December.

Interestingly enough, though, I feel like the actual final table of the WSOP Main Event has kind of receded relatively speaking when it comes to its imprint on the broader cultural memory. In fact, when I compare baseball’s World Series to the WSOP Main Event, it almost seems like for poker its the long lead-up -- the “regular season” or early playoff rounds, we might say -- that gets at least as much attention and/or review, ultimately, as does the final table.

Think about how often we saw the WSOP ME final table rerun on ESPN from 2003-2005, that seemingly incessant loop of showings that we all basically memorized by the time the next year rolled around. Then think about how little the 2006-2012 final tables have been shown -- or watched, I should probably say.

I watched every hand of the 2012 WSOP Main Event final table last year -- all 399 of them -- focusing on it quite closely when it was all playing out. But while I was aware of later edited showings of it on ESPN that followed, I never really paid that much attention to them nor was I that aware of others discussing those broadcasts or even hands in that much detail in the months that followed.

It’s certainly the case that the “almost live” coverage of the WSOP ME final tables is lessening interest in the later reruns, but even so, it feels like the “highlights” from Greg Merson’s win a year ago have already faded almost entirely.

Anyhow, what happens between the Cards and Red Sox over the next week will certainly be relived over and again until next spring, and I suppose that once the WSOP ME plays out November 4-5 we’ll spend at least a week or two talking to each other about that, too. But after that I wonder if we’ll think about it much at all, already having moved on to something else.

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