Idol Chatter

The World Series starts this week.
“Yeah!” say the Yankee fans.
“Yeah!” say the Phillie fans.
“Dang,” say the Southern California fans, whose Dodgers and Angels both lost in the semi-finals.
And, unfortunately, “Yawn” goes the rest of the country.
In New York, land of Beliefnet HQ, and, oh yes, the land of Jeter and A-Rod and the new recruits, CC and Mark, this is a Big Week. Indeed.
But for the rest of the country, I’m asking: what happened to the Great American Pastime? What happened to Major League Baseball’s hallmark series. This should be big stuff! The Yankees are doing what they’ve always done throughout history: going to the World Series when they’re in a new (or reconstructed) ballpark. The Phillies are attempting to repeat as World Champions.
In fact, this is the Current Champs against the All-Time Champs, as the Yankees have won more World Series’ than any other franchise. And the Phillies and Yankees haven’t played each other since 1950!
So what’s the problem? Why hasn’t America been captured by this pending event?

Baseball ratings are down. Several dramatic Division Series’ were ratings losers to regular television. Two dramatic League Championship series games lost out to mid-season Monday Night Football. Heck, the Southern California ratings were higher for the NFL than one of the championship series games, and Southern California doesn’t even have a football team!
Perhaps it’s because there aren’t enough real heroes in Major League Baseball anymore, or at least any perceived heroes. Perhaps the game hasn’t been “bigger than life” since the drug scandals.
Perhaps it was the strike and the lockout and the payroll issues before that.
Perhaps it’s because baseball is boring to the ADD generation.
Perhaps it’s because more young people in American are playing soccer than baseball.
Perhaps Family Values are running homes more than dad on a lounger watching a game.
Perhaps it’s because the NFL is such a well-run business and College Football is such a catch that our sports fix has been filled.
Perhaps it’s because there’s a third-and-one-and-the-star-QB-might-go-long way, way more often than two-runners-on-with-two-outs-and-the-best-hitter-up-there-facing-the-best-pitcher.
Perhaps it’s because Quarterbacks play every game and starting pitchers only once per four games.
I think it’s simple: baseball used to inspire us, and as an inspiration source, real guys who became bigger than life were always more inspiring than big dudes behind a helmet.
But the shine is off the baseball players and football guys are on the rise. I know they’ll be watching in New York. I know they’ll be watching in Philadelphia. I know there’ll be some folks in Sports Bars nationwide who’re just glad to get out. I’ll be recording this World Series so I can watch the last few innings of each game.
And that’s about it.

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