I missed game 5 of the World Series, the Giants clinching and becoming world champs. I can’t say that I am all that disappointed I missed it, but I didn’t do it on purpose. As a baseball fan, I wouldn’t do that. I was in class on Monday night until approximately 8 PM, and then I went to dinner with friends. It was by complete momentary brain-dysfunction that I forgot I needed to go home and check it out. (I even had people saying to me “YOU missed the game?!?”). By the time I did get home the game was over, and all I had to do was pull up the twitter homepage to see that the World Series was in fact over as “World Champions” and “Edgar Renteria MVP” trending topics scroll across my screen. Surprising that I heard no reaction in the bar/restaurant that I was in indicating that the game was over; I guess most people in Edwardsville, Illinois felt the same way I did – they either didn’t really care who won or they didn’t want the Giants to win. My other guess as to why there was no reaction from the crowd in the bar; there was a Monday Night Football game on, and they weren’t watching baseball.
As much as it breaks my heart every time I see stats that a Sunday Night or Monday Night football game ratings beat LDS, LCS or World Series TV ratings, it doesn’t surprise me in the least bit. Baseball is lasting too long; people begin to move on to other sports – heck, we are halfway through the NFL season at this point. This year, the World Series wrapped up and the NFL, NHL and even the NBA are all underway. So, is it surprising that America’s Pastime is taking a backseat in late October-early November? No, not really. I don’t have to go explaining to you all how much I love baseball, but I have gotten myself fully lodged into the football and hockey seasons. And even though the postseason games were still being at least partly watched on my TV, I lost interest. Baseball is having to compete with the other 3 major sports after a 7 month long season…going into that eighth month (while it was only one day, and could have only potentially been 4 days) is where a lot of casual baseball fans get lost. (Side Note: this year's WS ratings equaled the lowest ever...see here).
Let’s face it, there is a lot going on around here (St. Louis and otherwise) other than baseball. If you are like me, you are very interested in what the St. Louis Rams are doing; 4 wins at home, a first-round draft pick quarterback, and Stephen Jackson breaking the all-time rushing record for the organization. Not to mention, the St. Louis Blues are undefeated at home and have been recently ranked number one in the ESPN power rankings poll (even if it doesn’t mean much now). On top of that, Mizzou beat Oklahoma! WOW. Yeah, they got roughed up by Nebraska, but if you are a Missouri fan, you can’t deny that it was exciting. I know not everyone that is a Cardinals fan is a Rams, Blues and Mizzou fan as well – most are not or don’t even like/pay attention to other sports besides baseball. Even if you don’t like all St. Louis sports, you might have other teams to root for. But, I am an avid sports enthusiast, and I love watching all sports whenever I can. Because the last few winters in St. Louis have been pretty painful because of under-achieving or competitive teams besides the Cardinals, this comes as quite the warm welcome. Not to mention, since the Cardinals had a dismal season, it has been exciting to look forward to and enjoy other St. Louis sports again! And because of that, I, like many others, might have lost an interest in baseball.
This is my beg and plea to Bud Selig; we have got to end the baseball season earlier. I hate the offseason; it is a long 4-5 months without my boys of summer, but the MLB is taking a backseat to the other major sports in late October-early November, and it just devastates me. I want the World Series to be the most watched sporting event, not a middle-of-the-season Monday Night Football game. I understand that the ratings may have had something to do with the teams playing (God forbid there are other teams besides the Yankees in the World Series), but the World Series – the Championship for Major League Baseball for goodness sakes – should be getting more attention. I mean, on Monday, the last game of the series, EVERY SINGLE intro for EVERY SINGLE sports program was about Randy Moss being waived from the Vikings, not about Lincecum vs. Lee – probably one of the greatest pitching matchups to end a World Series in a long time. As much as I don’t like him, Lincecum (before the night began) had a chance to be a back-to-back-to-back Cy Young, Cy Young, World Series Champ. How incredible? But yet everything was about Randy Moss.
This is unacceptable for baseball. They have to figure out a way to get back into the spotlight during their designated time. All eyes are on Football during the Super Bowl – no hockey game or basketball game out-rates that championship game. I know that every season is like this; football starts in early September, Hockey starts in early October, Basketball starts in late October, but why is it that all of a sudden, baseball seems to be losing its steam? I don’t think it would have even mattered if the Yankees were in the WS this year – I mean, I wouldn’t have watched, but that’s just me. I hope that with an earlier start to the baseball season in 2011, there will be an earlier end to the season and the World Series will get all the attention it deserves. Thankfully, with Hot Stove season now in full swing, there will be more baseball stories. However, I have a gut feeling it might all be about the Yankees again. Egh.
End Rant. I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic. As a sport management grad student, I pay a lot of attention to these details, less about players and games, more about the behind the scenes stuff and what drives discussion topics amongst TV programs and even fans of the game. Do you see it that way too? Are you angry that the World Series had low ratings? When will baseball be able to get back to having its time in the spotlight – or has the long season turned into too long of a season for that to ever happen again? I might be a tad dramatic, but I am curious to hear what others think.