Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010
By Joe Collins
Congratulations to the San Francisco Giants, as they ended decades of misery by winning the World Series last night over the Texas Rangers. Their win was the first by the franchise since 1954, when the team was based in New York. Im guessing you noticed this. Maybe? Maybe not?
I like to think that the newsroom chatter at Comcast SportsNet Chicago serves as a fairly accurate gauge when it comes to interest and excitement levels in regards to local and national sports. Here is a sampling of what was said around the water cooler and copy machines Monday and Tuesday:
Can you believe Brett Favre? What a goof!How about that Bulls comeback the other night!?! And did you see what Luol Deng did against Portland?Randy Moss got dumped by the Vikings? My fantasy team is wrecked! Again!The Hawks are going to go on a big winning streak soon.The Tampa Bay Bucs are 5-2? And tied for first? And the Raiders beat the Seahawks 33-3? This year is crazy!
But one comment seemed to resonate louder and clearer above all the others. And its one thats been part of a common theme in the hallways and around the cubicles over the last few weeks or so:
I think I watched about five pitches of the World Series this year.
And you probably havent spent much time watching it either.
Is it just me or has the World Series fallen to insurance seminar-excitement levels? Maybe its because Chicago didnt have a team playing on the biggest stage this year. Or that the two teams duking it out were west of the Mississippi and had less than stellar playoff histories. Or because the two teams dont have Yankees, Red Sox or Phillies attached.
Or maybe its something greater.
To me, the world of sports is like a typical high school dance. Its pretty clear that the cool kids represent the NFL. They dance better, show off more and, naturally, draw more attention. Theyre the popular ones. College basketball, college football, hockey and the NBA represent the middle class: Likable and loyal. And then you have soccer and UFL representing the kids that are considered strange by some, wildly popular by others and simply intriguing by many. And then you have baseballthe kids who used to dominate the hallways and are now just looking up at the bigger, stronger popular kids in football jerseys.
I cannot remember a time where, aside from the onlookers in Dallas and the Bay Area and a few others across the country, that sports fans have cared so little about the game of baseball. The numbers back up a disturbing trend. Take a look at these mind-boggling statistics:
Locally, Mondays World Series clincher was a virtual dead-heat ratings-wise with the regular season Monday Night Football gameColts vs. Texans. Both games peaked at around an 11 (ratings point language). Nationally, although the World Series beat MNF 10.6 to 8.6, the game five rating was down 17 from last years Yankees-Phillies game 5.
On Sunday night, game 4 of the World Series and Sunday Night Footballs Steelers-Saints game went head to head. The World Series game drew a 10.4 rating nationally (which means 10.4 percent of TV households). Steelers-Saints drew an 11.8. The numbers were even more spaced out in the Chicago market. Baseball racked up a 7.26 rating. Football trumped it, scoring a 10.48. At one point (8:45pm quarter hour), football owned a 13.04-6.82 advantage.
Saturdays World Series Game 3 drew a 6.7 national rating, the second lowest rating ever for a World Series contest (game 3 of the 08 World Series, a late-starting, rain-soaked contest between the Phillies and Rays scored the lowest).
What do you think? Have the fantasy footballs and survivor pools of the world eliminated your craving for championship baseball? Is a 3 hour, 15 minute regular season football game just more intriguing than a playoff baseball game of the same length? Is baseball just too slow and boring? Do we not have the patience to sit through, not only a nine-inning game, but a fivesixor even seven-game series? Have you ever thought the day would come where a regular season football game would draw the same or more viewers than a World Series game? Twice?
The scary part of this World Series is that they had the perfect storyline in place: the Giants hadnt claimed a World Series title since 1954. The Rangers havent won anything period. One franchise was going to break through! And they couldnt sell this? Can you imagine if the Pirates and Royals were to shock everyone and get to the World Series? What would happen then?
I think the gap between baseball and football is only going to get bigger. Theyve been the popular kids at the dance for quite some time now. And the baseball kids are looking at their shoes by the punch bowl when a slow song comes on. If only they could get a hot one to come along and ask for a dance.
Or something like that.