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Friday, February 22, 2013

Parker: Baseball Is Still America’s Pastime

Rob Parker…now writing for The Shadow League. For now.

Instead, they came out in even bigger numbers. People always considered the Golden Age of baseball to be in the ’50s. Not true. It’s right now.

And if it’s all about TV ratings and not attendance, why does the NFL still have that silly TV blackout rule? It’s simple. Without it, the NFL would be embarrassed to have mostly half-empty stadiums being broadcast on TV. They are afraid they couldn’t sell out eight home games a year in 75 percent of NFL America.

The NFL can stick its chest out about its TV ratings, but, really, how hard is it to get fans in the cold-weather months to stay in on a Sunday afternoon?

If the NFL—which changed its blackout policy to stipulate that 85 percent of the tickets have to be sold 72 hours before the game—was all about ratings, it would drop the blackout all together. Fans could stay at home and the TV ratings would go even higher. But that’s not going to happen because they understand how important attendance is to a sport.

In the final year of Monday Night Football on broadcast TV, it was rumored that then-NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue tried to give the Monday Night Raw people money to move the wrestling event. Apparently, it was hurting MNF’s ratings on ABC.

... You can have your TV football broadcast all you want, but there’s nothing better than going to the ballpark, sitting in the bleachers on a crystal-clear, warm June evening with a hot dog and a beer.

Baseball’s robust attendance numbers tell you that America agrees.

Repoz Posted: February 22, 2013 at 07:22 AM | 15 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history

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   1. zack Posted: February 22, 2013 at 10:08 AM (#4373807)
I don't really disagree with any of this, but attendance and TV ratings isn't what makes something a pasttime. At least, I hope it's not, maybe it's fitting now given how much time we spend watching TV.

I'm not really sure there is an American pastime, singular, anymore. Plenty of kids are still playing little league, but plenty of kids are also playing pop warner and house soccer and peewee hockey and gym basketball. But even then, those aren't really pastimes, which should be less structured. Any way you slice it though, there is no hegemonic pastime anymore.

If we have a pastime, it's not a singular one, and it's not a national one. It's by culture/race and geography and it's street basketball, count-blitz football and pick-up soccer.

When I was a kid I played street hockey with my neighborhood friends and football with my school friends. I always tried to get sandlot baseball games going, even though I wasn't a baseball fan 'til I was 16, but could never marshal enough players for an actual game. The best we could do was hotbox or batting practice, the latter of which always fizzled because no one could pitch well enough to keep it interesting. Sandlot baseball is hard (equipment, skill, playing space, required players) in a way that none of the others are, so without ubiquity it's hard to maintain.
   2. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: February 22, 2013 at 10:51 AM (#4373835)
street hockey

Car!

Sandlot baseball is hard (equipment, skill, playing space, required players) in a way that none of the others are, so without ubiquity it's hard to maintain.

Growing up in the suburbs of Detroit in the 70s, it seemed me and my friends (and older brothers) played baseball all summer long, all day, every day. There were always plenty of players; hell, usually there were too many, and we'd wind with with seven guys in the outfield or something. (You'd think this would hamper offenses, but no.) We'd play football in the fall, and occasionally street hockey in winter (nobody played basketball, possibly because we were an all-white group), but mostly it was baseball, baseball, baseball, all summer long. Why would anyone ever want to do anything else?

Now...I don't think I've seen a genuine baseball pickup game in decades. I live in a small town, but there's plenty of kids and plenty of playgrounds, including ball fields. Kids shoot hoops, they skateboard, they kick a soccer ball around. No baseball, ever.

Hell, if this isn't proof that my generation represented the apex of civilization, and that today's kids are a complete waste of flesh, then nothing is!
   3. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 22, 2013 at 12:42 PM (#4373993)

Hell, if this isn't proof that my generation represented the apex of civilization, and that today's kids are a complete waste of flesh, then nothing is!


I believe the word you're looking for is "Ke$ha."
   4. Bitter Mouse Posted: February 22, 2013 at 12:44 PM (#4373995)
Do writers write this story from scratch or just copy and paste it?
   5. Joey B. is being stalked by a (Gonfa) loon Posted: February 22, 2013 at 01:04 PM (#4374021)
Sadly, the combination of video games and scummy trial lawyers looking for any excuse to file a lawsuit have all but killed off unorganized outdoor recreational activity among the boys of America.
   6. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 22, 2013 at 02:01 PM (#4374058)
Yea, things were much better when I was a kid playing neighborhood baseball in the 80s when there were no video games or lawyers.
   7. cardsfanboy Posted: February 22, 2013 at 02:21 PM (#4374079)
but mostly it was baseball, baseball, baseball, all summer long. Why would anyone ever want to do anything else?


QFT.

   8. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: February 22, 2013 at 11:08 PM (#4374435)
Who is Rob Parker? What is the Shadow League?
   9. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: February 22, 2013 at 11:33 PM (#4374447)
Never mind question 1. I forgot that he's the RG3 guy.
   10. Shoebo Posted: February 22, 2013 at 11:46 PM (#4374451)
Football is better on TV than it is at the Stadium. Thats the main difference between football and the other "major" sports.





   11. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: February 23, 2013 at 12:18 PM (#4374606)
Never mind question 1. I forgot that he's the RG3 guy.

Question 2 remains though: What is the Shadow League?

Seriously, this is the best that Parker could get after ESPN?
   12. BDC Posted: February 23, 2013 at 01:21 PM (#4374626)
why does the NFL still have that silly TV blackout rule? It’s simple. Without it, the NFL would be embarrassed to have mostly half-empty stadiums


I honestly didn't know that the NFL still had a blackout rule. Ever since I moved to Dallas (25 years ago) I can't remember it ever being mentioned around here, as the Cowboys always sell out, and everyone assumes they'll be on TV, too. Are there other NFL teams whose attendance is being kept on life support by the blackout rule? I have to think the interest both exceeds the available seats and provides excellent ratings nearly everywhere. Even the Chiefs sold 89% of their seats last year (Miami was lowest in the NFL, at 76%, so maybe some games were indeed blacked out there).

The Cowboys sold 111% of their capacity last year, though that's something of a cooked number. They sell standing-room places on various levels in the end zone, which must be figured as the 11% over capacity, even though the stadium is designed to include all that standing room.
   13. The District Attorney Posted: February 23, 2013 at 01:52 PM (#4374644)
What is the Shadow League?
Bane pitches for them.
   14. cardsfanboy Posted: February 23, 2013 at 02:15 PM (#4374659)
Are there other NFL teams whose attendance is being kept on life support by the blackout rule


The Rams over the past couple of years have had blacked out games, have had to get special permission from the NFL to extend the deadline, and have had the owners buy out all the remaining tickets at least one time.
   15. BDC Posted: February 23, 2013 at 02:29 PM (#4374671)
Thanks, fanboy! Must have something to do with that 81% have seen a Cards game, 48% have seen a Rams game figure we saw in another recent thread :)

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