No one says that about the NFL when another player is suspended, so clearly it’s not the drugs that are an issue, but how the audience views them. In baseball, they’re a worse evil than global warming. In football, they’re a gnat bite.
Somebody has pointed out that baseball’s championship now draws lower ratings than the Super Bowl, the Final Four and the BCS championship game. This, too, is supposed to be significant, even though it’s like saying that you get more juice from an orange than from a potato, which means something is wrong with the potato.
The other events are one-and-done games. Baseball’s World Series is the best-of-seven. You’ll always get more viewers for a one-game championship than for one game in a series. And you’ll always get more viewers for the Super Bowl than for anything — it’s in February, when there’s not a thing going on, and it’s become America’s secular holy day, when fans worship at the wide-screen altar while sharing the sacramental meal of tortilla chips and malt beverages.
Moving the World Series to a neutral site won’t raise interest in the games. Putting the games in a faraway city is demanding that true fans pony up for plane tickets plus ten days in a hotel plus seven days worth of tickets. The beauty of baseball is that the games are played in the same stadiums that are used during the regular season. Why take away something that is good?
Playing games in the afternoon is even dumber. The big ratings are in the evening, not at 1 p.m. on Wednesday. Adding two teams to the playoff mix doesn’t help either. It sells more tickets and adds TV money for extra games, but it has no effect on who watches the Series.
The truth is the game doesn’t need to be fixed. Two years ago, Boston’s advance to the World Series drew great numbers. This year, the Tigers and Cardinals weren’t the sexiest teams imaginable, and the Cardinals simply took control and removed most of the drama early on.
The nation grieved for those hurt, killed and affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. After one of the suspects was caught on Friday — following a day-long lockdown and manhunt — sports returned to Boston over the weekend.
This season, more people watched baseball than ever before, and that’s the number that’s most important. The fans are there. If they couldn’t get excited over the Cards and the Tigers in the Series, it’s not a reason to fix what isn’t broken.
World Series, in pictures
See highlights from the World Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Detroit Tigers.
Taking a look at some of the greatest catchers off all time.