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Saturday, June 04, 2022

Mike Lupica: Aaron Judge isn’t just the face of the Yankees, he’s the face of baseball right now

Judge has been the best and most dominant player in baseball across the first third of 2022. There is still a long way to go, of course, and he has gotten hurt before. Stanton was looking pretty ferocious himself before he went on the IL. Doesn’t change that Judge made it to 20 homers, through 52 games, after it was Yankees 13, Tigers 0 at the Stadium, and go ahead and do the math on that over a full season, because it’s not just fun, the possibilities of it all make your head want to explode.

Even people in outer space know by now that he and the Yankees couldn’t reach agreement on a contract extension before the season started. Everybody knows that the Yankees offered Judge a $230 million contract and that he turned it down. And if things don’t change between now and the end of the season, and nobody expects that they will, the Yankees won’t just be bidding against themselves the next time they talk long-term contract with Judge, they will be bidding against anybody who’s willing to spend $300 or $400 million on a 30-year-old guy who might have 60 homers in him.

He’s not just the face of the Yankees across the first third of the season. He’s the face of baseball right now. The Yankees would be a really, really good team this season because of the remarkable way they’ve pitched, after years and years and years when they never had enough pitching. But it is Judge, hitting wherever Aaron Boone hits them in the order, who makes them look great. He has hit 14 homers since the start of May, and shows no sign of slowing down now that we are into June.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 04, 2022 at 07:31 PM | 71 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: aaron judge

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   1. Rough Carrigan Posted: June 04, 2022 at 08:16 PM (#6079892)
As a Red Sox fan, I naturally recoil from such an argument but it's not crazy.
   2. escabeche Posted: June 04, 2022 at 08:35 PM (#6079898)
How can he be the face of baseball when nobody even knows what he looks like?
   3. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: June 04, 2022 at 08:46 PM (#6079900)
Is this 1998? Are we still doing "Chicks dig the long ball"? Mike Trout has been the face of baseball for many years now, and is having just as good a 1/3 of a season as Judge.
   4. Walt Davis Posted: June 04, 2022 at 09:17 PM (#6079903)
The face of baseball

EDIT: Not an Albright
   5. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 04, 2022 at 09:26 PM (#6079905)
Mike Trout has been the face of baseball for many years now, and is having just as good a 1/3 of a season as Judge.
Trout started the season better, but has slumped quite a bit lately. IMHO, Judge would get the MVP if it was based on the season to date. Plenty of time for that to change, though.
   6. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: June 04, 2022 at 09:34 PM (#6079909)
Re 4: I'll see you and I'll raise you.
   7. Lassus Posted: June 04, 2022 at 09:34 PM (#6079910)
Baseball is ugly as shit right now, so it tracks.
   8. Moeball Posted: June 04, 2022 at 10:09 PM (#6079917)
I'd say the hottest player right now is Goldschmidt. Mookie is having another great season and Machado is keeping the Padres above water until Tatis Jr. gets back. Judge is far from the best player right now.
   9. Dillon Gee Escape Plan Posted: June 04, 2022 at 10:53 PM (#6079928)
I forgot that Mike Lupica existed.
   10. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: June 04, 2022 at 11:02 PM (#6079932)
LOL lil mike
   11. Brian C Posted: June 04, 2022 at 11:30 PM (#6079937)
NY guy assumes NY is the center of the world, film at 11.
   12. Mayor Blomberg Posted: June 05, 2022 at 12:56 AM (#6079940)
the hottest player right now is Goldschmidt

Tastes differ, I suppose. Hes not a turn on for me.
   13. Walt Davis Posted: June 05, 2022 at 01:38 AM (#6079942)
Where's BBC?
   14. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 05, 2022 at 07:34 AM (#6079944)
NY guy assumes NY is the center of the world, film at 11.

It's not really NY as much as it's the East Coast, and the reason it's more likely to be Judge rather than Trout is simple: When most of the country is getting to bed, Trout's games are still in progress. Trout has obviously had the better career up to now, but the vast majority of the country only gets to see him in full when the Angels are playing in the East or Midwest. Whereas unless the Yankees are playing a road game against a West Coast or Mountain zone team, which is at most 10 or 15 times a year, the vast majority of the country can tune in and watch Judge's games all the way to the end. Who wants to watch a regular season game when you know you'll almost never be awake at the finish?

And then there's the little matter of the postseason, which Judge appears in every year, while Trout has yet to appear in a single winning postseason game. It's not "fair" to Trout, but it is what it is.
   15. baerga1 Posted: June 05, 2022 at 07:41 AM (#6079946)
I see people still don't know who Jose Ramirez is. Leads the league in offensive bWAR. Looks like he is down the leader board in WAR because he gets dinged for defense. Not sure I understand that..
   16. dejarouehg Posted: June 05, 2022 at 09:47 AM (#6079950)
I see people still don't know who Jose Ramirez is.
Well god forbid RBI are given the appropriate credit for their statistical importance. This guy is a stud!

I'm a big fan of Judge but not the Yankees. Thrilled to see him having this season but, if I were the Yankees, it wouldn't change my perspective of contract offer markedly. Paying up for players especially those having great contract years is a classic mistake that teams make.

When is the last time Trout has gone 6 games with at least 25 at bats without a hit?

I do remember Judge having extremely long droughts with hideous strikeout numbers, but not Trout.

I don't miss Lupica.
   17. sunday silence (again) Posted: June 05, 2022 at 10:13 AM (#6079951)
how many teams do we think are actually going to be bidding for Judge? Mets...?
   18. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: June 05, 2022 at 10:20 AM (#6079952)
You know, baseball would be a lot more popular if only Judge and Trout played in major markets!
   19. KronicFatigue Posted: June 05, 2022 at 10:58 AM (#6079956)
Is Trout even the face of the Angels? There's exactly 1 player that my non-baseball friends talk about, and it's Ohtani
   20. Banta Posted: June 05, 2022 at 11:21 AM (#6079958)
Jose Ramirez has the “random baseball player name generator” problem. Easy to think he was some random utility player from decades ago… though it’s funny, as common as the name sounds, the only other Jose Ramirez to play MLB played during the aforementioned’s career (2014 - 2018). And the third result on BBREF is Erasmo Ramirez, whose middle name is Jose and career also has taken place during almost exactly the same time. Weird?

Anyway, I’m saying he needs a nickname. Something stupid like J-Ram would do a lot for him.
   21. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 05, 2022 at 11:44 AM (#6079959)
Is Trout even the face of the Angels? There's exactly 1 player that my non-baseball friends talk about, and it's Ohtani

I'll bet that's a common reaction, even if most of those non-baseball people have probably never even watched him actually play a full game.
   22. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 05, 2022 at 11:47 AM (#6079960)
And the third result on BBREF is Erasmo Ramirez, whose middle name is Jose and career also has taken place during almost exactly the same time. Weird?
Not as weird as the fact that there was another Erasmo Ramirez, also a pitcher, who played at almost the same time.
   23. . Posted: June 05, 2022 at 11:51 AM (#6079961)
"The face of _________" is a semiotically idiotic, sports bro-y, empty calories construction anyway.
   24. Mr. Hotfoot Jackson (gef, talking mongoose) Posted: June 05, 2022 at 01:05 PM (#6079965)
Not as weird as the fact that there was another Erasmo Ramirez, also a pitcher, who played at almost the same time.


No baseball involved, but I discovered a few days ago while poking around online that my mother's father, Kalman Meyers, was one of at least 3 gents by that name kicking around into at least the 'late '40s. The second was born probably a year ahead of him ("about 1893") in Russia & died a year after him, in New York, in 1954. (My grandfather was born in Haddonfield, N.J., & died in LA.) The other was a South African flying instructor who shows up in the monograph on "The Story of South African Volunteers in Israel’s War of Birth," which surely puts him in the late '40s.

Presumably their respective lineages can all be traced in some form or fashion back to at leasat the Kalman Meyers who shows up on a 1785 Netherlands marriage license (the Kalman Meyers in my grandfather's ancestry appears to have lived in Bavaria, so I dunno).

Maybe "Kalman Meyers" is Yiddish for "John Smith"?

Or maybe they're iterations of the same individual, just from different versions of reailty. As a near-lifelong Philip K. Dick devotee, that's what I'm hoping for.

(All my other ancestors seem to have been Irish, so presumably dozens of Kate Murphys & Seamus Baileys.)
   25. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: June 05, 2022 at 01:55 PM (#6079969)
1) Which current MLB player would have the highest name ID in America right now? If you asked 1,000 random people in America right now to name a currently-active baseball player, who would get the most mentions?

2) If you showed 1,000 random people in America head shots of baseball players, which player would be the most correctly ID'ed?

3) Regardless of your favorite team or player, which currently-active baseball player do you think would do the most for MLB's brand and reputation if they were the "face of baseball" right now?

I'll be honest: I have zero idea who would win #1 or #2. I suspect a ton of everyday people would initially name a retired baseball player, like Barry Bonds or Derek Jeter or Nolan Ryan or something.

In terms of #3, I think Mookie Betts (who may be the answer to #1 or #2, for all I know) would be an excellent face of baseball.

If you did the same exercise with the NFL or NBA, I'd guess you'd see a number of strong answers. (Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Patrick Mahomes, Lebron James, Steph Curry, etc)
   26. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 05, 2022 at 02:38 PM (#6079973)
1) Judge, because he's in the biggest media market, the mlb network shows at least 1 or 2 Yankees games a week, and because the Yankees are always in the postseason. It's a simple matter of exposure.

2) Current player: Probably Ohtani. Past player: Either Babe Ruth or No Idea.

3) Betts or Judge or Ohtani, any one would be fine.
   27. Walt Davis Posted: June 05, 2022 at 03:48 PM (#6079979)
Leads the league in offensive bWAR. Looks like he is down the leader board in WAR because he gets dinged for defense. Not sure I understand that..

oWAR (which he leads) already includes the positional adjustment so his ranking in oWAR is partly due to being a 3B, not a RF. He is dinged a bit for defense becaause, at least by DRS, he's a below-average defender at 3B. If you wanted a purely "offense only" WAR measure, you'd have to add Rbat + Rbaser + Rdp. If you wanted a "bat only" measure, that would be Rbat. Unfortunately b-r doesn't provide the first one and doesn't seem to have Rbat on their "leaders" page. But if you try hard enough you can outsmart b-r and find the Rbat leader without a stathead sub ... and that leader is Goldschmidt at 26, followed by Judge 24 and Mookie, Machado and JRam all at 22.

Machado, also a 3B, leads in WAR; Edman, a SS, is 3rd; Judge is tied with JRam for 5th.

Christopher Morel would be a wonderful face of baseball.

Interesting test: at what point do "we" start referring to a guy by first name or nickname. We can give Judge a pass because (a) Judge is a cooler name than Aaron; (b) Aaron is taken. But Ichiro, Mookie and obviously The Babe are players that have reached some greater level of "face" than, say, Kris Bryant. Obviously a distinctive name helps a ton (Mike? Parents, if you want your kid to be the face of baseball, ya gotta do better than that).
   28. Darren Posted: June 05, 2022 at 04:02 PM (#6079983)
I like Mike Lupica. I find him insightful.
   29. KronicFatigue Posted: June 05, 2022 at 04:23 PM (#6079986)
The thing about baseball, IMO, is that most players look similar in their play. If you didn't have the stats in front of you, it would be difficult to notice a great, well rounded, offensive player vs a good one. Basketball and football aren't like that. You can distinguish styles of play very quickly.

I never understood the idea of going to a game to see player x play. Star pitchers, definitely. But not offensively. I love watching great defense, a great arm, speed, and the outliers like Ichiro. Some players carry themselves with a bravado or flair that stands out, and I could see that being exciting. But generic good (or even great) offensive players that don't do anything particularly unique blur together.
   30. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: June 05, 2022 at 04:36 PM (#6079987)
I like Mike Lupica. I find him insightful.

I also find Lupica insightful, in the same way "incomplete" means "not complete."
   31. shoelesjoe Posted: June 05, 2022 at 04:49 PM (#6079988)
Didn’t Lupica tout Ralph Garr as the face of baseball back in June of 1970?

Nah, that would be silly. Garr wasn’t a Yankee.
   32. baerga1 Posted: June 05, 2022 at 06:36 PM (#6080006)
Anyway, I’m saying he needs a nickname. Something stupid like J-Ram would do a lot for him.

He used to be called "The Angry Hamster" but I don't hear that much anymore for some reason.
   33. Walt Davis Posted: June 05, 2022 at 07:30 PM (#6080012)
how many teams do we think are actually going to be bidding for Judge? Mets...?

Machado to Padres, Harper to Phils, Correa to Twins (granted, 3 years with opt-outs), Seager and Semien to Padres, Bryant to Rox, Springer to Jays, anybody to Angels. Again, every team gets $210 M in common and shared revenue plus half their local revenues (TV, tix, concessions). Every team can afford Judge, even Tampa. If anything, the maxed up teams like the Yanks and Dodgers are at a small disadvantage -- they've got more money than god but with the CBT, they end up paying an extra 40% (?? whatever it is).
   34. dejarouehg Posted: June 05, 2022 at 07:49 PM (#6080015)
Yanks, Giants, Cubs would be my top 3 guesses.

The Cubs might just be wishful thinking.
   35. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: June 05, 2022 at 08:01 PM (#6080020)
1) Which current MLB player would have the highest name ID in America right now? If you asked 1,000 random people in America right now to name a currently-active baseball player, who would get the most mentions?

I feel like this is Ohtani at the moment, at least as long as "that guy who is both a pitcher and a hitter" counts. My dad is not a sports fan at all and was more aware of Ohtani last year than he has been of anything in baseball since the Cubs won the World Series.
   36. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: June 05, 2022 at 08:16 PM (#6080025)
Let's make Don Mossi the face of baseball. Nobody will ever forget about baseball again.
   37. Dog on the sidewalk has an ugly bracelet Posted: June 05, 2022 at 08:25 PM (#6080030)
I feel like this is Ohtani at the moment, at least as long as "that guy who is both a pitcher and a hitter" counts. My dad is not a sports fan at all and was more aware of Ohtani last year than he has been of anything in baseball since the Cubs won the World Series.

But when your non-sports fan dad turns on MLB Network to watch a random weekday game, he's much more likely to see the Yankees than the Angels.
   38. Walt Davis Posted: June 05, 2022 at 08:31 PM (#6080034)
I don't imagine that non-sports fans turn on MLB Network ... ever really. Maybe a WS or all-star game on Fox but I never even channel-surfed HGTV or spent more than 5 minutes on the history channel, why would such a fan tune in a game long enough to even know who's playing? Plus there are some non-sports fans (and even reportedly some sports fans) that live on the West Coast.
   39. Howie Menckel Posted: June 05, 2022 at 08:36 PM (#6080038)
how many teams do we think are actually going to be bidding for [INSERT NAME OF SUPERSTAR HERE]? Mets...?

as long as Steve Cohen owns the team, one of the answers for every single stud will be "Mets."

I know plenty of Mets fans traumatized by the Wilpon era who wondered why the Mets were rumored to be going after Scherzer, as if the Mets already have an uber-stud in deGrom so let's give another team a chance to have one.

I mean, Cohen eats babies for breakfast - with relish.
   40. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 05, 2022 at 08:48 PM (#6080050)
Every team can afford Judge, even Tampa.
Theoretically, but many owners have repeatedly demonstrated that they prefer to take the no-risk, guaranteed profits that come from low payrolls, rather than investing in the team and taking a chance that more wins would lead to revenue gains from greater attendance & higher TV ratings.
   41. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 05, 2022 at 08:54 PM (#6080052)
I mean, Cohen eats babies for breakfast - with relish.
As in, he takes particular delight in eating babies, or he eats them topped with a pickle condiment?
   42. person man Posted: June 05, 2022 at 09:14 PM (#6080059)
jose ramirez is delightful. he wears a necklace with his own picture on it, for crying out loud, and his stock/shtick answer for the postgame tv reporter's query about what kind of pitch he hit for a home run is "home run pitch." (he also has cool hair.) he prefers to speak via an interpreter and his team nickname is "hosey," though, so he's got a few obstacles for becoming baseball's face.
   43. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: June 05, 2022 at 09:52 PM (#6080075)
But when your non-sports fan dad turns on MLB Network to watch a random weekday game, he's much more likely to see the Yankees than the Angels.

He doesn't do that, ever. (He wouldn't even if my parents got the MLB Network, which they don't.) Even to the extent that he has been exposed to baseball by me, he invests little to no effort in remembering specific players. Ohtani showed up in non-sports-based news sources to such an extent that Dad brought him up to me unprompted at least once last year.
   44. Benji Gil Gamesh VII - The Opt-Out Awakens Posted: June 05, 2022 at 10:34 PM (#6080089)
1) Judge, because he's in the biggest media market, the mlb network shows at least 1 or 2 Yankees games a week, and because the Yankees are always in the postseason. It's a simple matter of exposure.
I have nothing in particular to base this on, but I'm going to say that I really doubt this is true. I would guess that Harper and Betts, at minimum, have better name recognition than Judge among average citizenry who aren't even necessarily baseball fans.

The Yankees haven't even made, let alone won, the World Series in Judge's time, and his only major award was rookie of the year 5 seasons ago, also the only time he was a serious contender for anything else (a distant 2nd to Altuve as MVP, though no fault of Judge's) and only time leading in anything casual folks might pay attention to (homers). To the exposure point: if you're tuning in MLB Network and/or the MLB playoffs with any regularity at all to where you are aware of Judge, you are paying enough attention to be at LEAST as familiar with other better-established players with better careers to this point.
   45. John Northey Posted: June 05, 2022 at 11:58 PM (#6080104)
So typical NY centric. Coming into today there were 4 guys clearly ahead of Judge in bWAR and 2 tied with him. So to call him the 'face of baseball' is a farce. Yeah, he is cranking the dingers but there is more to baseball than home runs last I checked.
   46. Walt Davis Posted: June 06, 2022 at 01:23 AM (#6080106)
As in, he takes particular delight in eating babies, or he eats them topped with a pickle condiment?

Beer or tacos, my friend, beer or tacos.
   47. Walt Davis Posted: June 06, 2022 at 01:27 AM (#6080107)
So typical NY centric.

If Judge makes a run at 60 and a chance to become the "clean" HR record holder, he'll be very well known nationally. And "the face of baseball" has nothing to do with WAR or producing the most all-around value, it has to do with doing famous stuff and creating "buzz." (Do we still use "buzz", I am so old.)
   48. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 06, 2022 at 09:04 AM (#6080124)
So typical NY centric. Coming into today there were 4 guys clearly ahead of Judge in bWAR and 2 tied with him. So to call him the 'face of baseball' is a farce.

So I guess in 1947 the face of baseball would've been Ted Williams, and we're now seeing 75th anniversary tributes to his Triple Crown season.

Yeah, he is cranking the dingers but there is more to baseball than home runs last I checked.

And maybe there's more to the face of baseball than a statistic that not one non-hardcore baseball fan in a hundred knows anything about.

OTOH if you want to say that Mookie or Ohtani is a better 'face of baseball' than Judge, that's a subjective choice that I won't argue with. You really couldn't go wrong with any of those three, because in addition to being great players they've all got the kavorka.
   49. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: June 06, 2022 at 09:06 AM (#6080125)
Part of my point in asking those three questions in #25 probably didn't come across: If you asked 1,000 people to name a current baseball player, I think they'd have zero idea. They aren't watching MLB network. They don't watch their local team's games. They have no idea who Aaron Judge or Mike Trout or Mookie Betts is. It doesn't matter which teams are on MLB network frequently - that is 1,000 miles away from where people see things or get information.

The reasons Aaron Rodgers is infinitely better known by non-football fans than Aaron Judge is known by non-baseball fans are:

1) Commercials. Aaron Rodgers went viral on a bunch of corgi Facebook pages last year (with hundreds of thousands of followers) because he did a funny State Farm commercial that was on every five seconds where he was walking a bunch of corgis on leashes, calling them his "spirit animals". If you don't like football, you were still inundated with Aaron Rodgers references.

2) Rodgers hosted Jeopardy. There are a lot of people who don't like football, but like Jeopardy. He was frequently mentioned as one of the potential replacements for Alex Trebec.

3) Gambling. My wife used to know nothing about football or baseball. Twenty years into our marriage, she will now routinely ask me questions during the season about how different quarterbacks did last week, because she participates in various company pools. She never asks me baseball questions. Football (and to some extent the NBA) have completely lapped baseball in the lives of non-sports fans culturally, slowly drawing non-sports fans closer to their sphere of influence. It is also much easier for somebody to become a casual fan of football, in the sense that you only really have to keep track of what happens one day a week, and it is the day of the week where most people probably have the least other obligations in life.

4) Personality. This is somewhat related to #1 and #2, but think about this: How have quarterbacks, who wear a helmet when they are playing, somehow much more recognizable than baseball players, who never wear a mask? It is clearly that quarterbacks' faces are everywhere when they are *off* the field, too. You can have an opinion about how Rodgers handled COVID the last few years, or the famous actresses he has dated, or whatever, but my teenaged daughters know exactly who he (and Mahomes, and Brady, and Russell Wilson, and Dak Prescott, and even somebody like Jimmy Garrappolo - who my household has decided is one of the best-looking people they've ever seen). And Rodgers is in the news all the time, because he is interesting. What baseball players are...interesting?

After spending much of the last 35 years a sabermetric-loving baseball fan, I have become much more of an advocate for making baseball more fun. I fear baseball is becoming a lot more like hockey - more like a niche sport, with a relatively small but loyal consumer base. It is masked by the large number of Baby Boomer males who are aging into retirement, and have enough disposable income and 60+ year love of the game to keep things going while the large Millennial generation (who is not showing similar interest in baseball) slowly takes over their place in the economy. It strikes me that the real opportunity for baseball in the next 20 years is to firmly embrace the love of the game within the Hispanic community (both in the U.S. and abroad), which coincidentally is a fast-growing part of the U.S. population overall. Many of the most exciting and talented young players in MLB are Hispanic, unlike in the NBA or NFL, and that branding opportunity seems to be sitting there for MLB.
   50. Ithaca2323 Posted: June 06, 2022 at 09:40 AM (#6080127)

1) Which current MLB player would have the highest name ID in America right now? If you asked 1,000 random people in America right now to name a currently-active baseball player, who would get the most mentions?

2) If you showed 1,000 random people in America head shots of baseball players, which player would be the most correctly ID'ed?



These strike me as the sports equivalent to asking people to point out where another country is on a globe. Why do we care which player gets mentioned the most by 1,000 random Americans, or who can be ID'ed by random people? What exactly does this show?

3) Regardless of your favorite team or player, which currently-active baseball player do you think would do the most for MLB's brand and reputation if they were the "face of baseball" right now?


Why do we need one face of the sport? There are lots of great, fun players doing great things. Judge might make a run at 60 HRs. Ohtani's doing his two-way thing. Jose Ramirez might drive in 170 runs. The Yankees have a reliever working on a 26 inning streak scoreless streak. Young guys like Acuna are still doing great things. Harper and Verlander are still great. Heck, Trout hasn't had a hit in a week and he's still got an .953 OPS. We don't need one dude to do all the heavy lifting for the entire sport. They can all be great for the brand

   51. God can’t be all that impressed with Charles S. Posted: June 06, 2022 at 10:16 AM (#6080130)
But when your non-sports fan dad turns on MLB Network to watch a random weekday game, he's much more likely to see the Yankees than the Angels.


While true, this doesn't really matter because your non-sports fan dad doesn't know that MLB network exists.
   52. Ithaca2323 Posted: June 06, 2022 at 10:59 AM (#6080137)
But when your non-sports fan dad turns on MLB Network to watch a random weekday game, he's much more likely to see the Yankees than the Angels.


If non-sports fans watched regular season baseball on a random weekday, they wouldn't be non-sports fans.

I have friends who aren't sports people. They might watch a game in a social setting if they're hanging out with people on a Sunday afternoon during football season, and they might have a passing idea that it's the NBA finals or the World Series or World Cup or whatever, in the way that people sort of just hear of things that aren't of a specific interest to them once they get big enough.

But I've yet to meet a non-sports fan who just for the heck of it on a Tuesday night decided to watch a sporting event as trivial as a regular season MLB game, let alone one who actually cared that their option was Team A over Team B.

I'm not a fan of reality TV shows. I might pay passing attention to the screen if my wife is the one picking what to watch on Netflix. But I don't actively decide to just start watching Real Housewives of Ithaca because I'm bored on a Tuesday

   53. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 06, 2022 at 11:15 AM (#6080145)
The reasons Aaron Rodgers is infinitely better known by non-football fans than Aaron Judge is known by non-baseball fans are:

Steve,

You make 4 good points, to which I'd add 2 more:

5) Far more people watch NFL games than watch baseball games, in great part because of your reason # 3.

6) Unless you're Mark McGwire / Sammy Sosa whose quest to break a 37 year old record is in the media every day, a quarterback's visibility is like no other position in any other team sport. Literally every play begins with the quarterback getting the ball.** The MVP votes are a pretty good reflection of this centrality.

** The baseball pitcher assumes a similar role, but there aren't 12 to 15 quarterbacks on an NFL roster, and the role of the starting pitcher relative to the bullpen has radically diminished over the years. If by some fluke a pitcher were on a course in late August or early September to win 30 games, this visibility disparity in the media might be reduced.

   54. Ithaca2323 Posted: June 06, 2022 at 01:50 PM (#6080193)
Far more people watch NFL games than watch baseball games


1. There are 272 NFL games a season. Close to 90% are on a weekend or holiday.

2. Patrick Mahomes worst game last year still saw him generate 200 yards of offense and score a TD. Even if you have the bad luck of that being the one game you catch, odds are you got to see him make a few good plays.

Mike Trout has gone seven straight games without a hit. Aaron Judge once went 1-for-20 in the ALDS.

3. It's not hard to turn on an NFL, NBA or even NHL game see the superstar you came to see. The best hockey players are on the ice ~30% of the time. NFL QBs take almost 100% of their teams' snaps, and they all pass more than they run. (Which doesn't even factor in runs by the QBs). NBA superstars are on the court about 60-65% of the time.

Aaron Judge will get, at best, 14% of his team's PAs in a game. (4 of 28), and an even smaller amount of defensive plays.

Critically, when these other sports are in crunch time, better players get more time. The crazy Bills-Chiefs ending didn't feature the depth of the roster because that was just who was due up. It was Mahomes dueling Allen. There's no MLB equivalent to LeBron scoring like, 25 straight points for his team. The NHL has a randomness component, but it can still be adjusted with double-shifts, or, if you're Alex Kovalev, just not leaving the ice.

MLB games, by design, allow less impact by superstars. No matter what Crash Davis said, it's far too democratic. I want to see a disproportionate amount from the best players. Not essentially the same as everyone else. Right now, the top spot in the order gets about 12% of a team's PAs, to about 10% of the 9th spot.

You want an extra innings quirk to drive a face of the game? Let offensive teams start the inning wherever they want in the lineup, every inning. Let me know that when we get to extras, I'm going to see my team's best hitters up there, not the 7-8-9 guys. Let me see Aaron Judge tie the game in the 9th and 10th and walk it off in the 11th.

The NFL has tilted the rules in favor of the passing for the last quarter century, and in doing so, has turned the position into the superstar position. MLB is already experimenting with outside the box thinking with the ghost runners. They should do something to emphasize the best players
   55. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 06, 2022 at 02:19 PM (#6080205)
If you asked 1,000 people to name a current baseball player, I think they'd have zero idea.
There may be some people who tune out baseball, or sports in general, but not nearly in such numbers. There is more MLB available, in-person, via TV, streaming, and radio, than ever before, while franchises are selling for record-breaking prices that far exceed the pace of inflation. No one puts that kind of money into a product that is being ignored by the public.
   56. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 06, 2022 at 02:24 PM (#6080210)
Far more people watch NFL games than watch baseball games

1. There are 272 NFL games a season. Close to 90% are on a weekend or holiday.


I get that, but it's irrelevant. Most "casual" baseball fans, and more than a few hardcore ones for that matter, follow only one or two teams. There's little or no "national" narrative for them that compares to the NFL's prime time Monday and Thursday games featuring different teams nearly every week, and Sunday doubleheaders on non-cable stations.

And for further proof, just look at the ratings for the Super Bowl compared to Game 7 of the World Series.** Of course the NFL doesn't schedule its Super Bowls to end close to midnight, so that might have something to do with the discrepancy.

The rest of your comment pretty much just coincides with or supplements what I wrote above. Nothing I'd disagree with.

** And it's not just recently. Game 7 of one of the more exciting World Series ever (1986) was outdrawn outside of Boston and New York by an early regular season NFL game between the Giants and the Redskins.
   57. Ithaca2323 Posted: June 06, 2022 at 04:37 PM (#6080251)
And for further proof, just look at the ratings for the Super Bowl compared to Game 7 of the World Series.** Of course the NFL doesn't schedule its Super Bowls to end close to midnight, so that might have something to do with the discrepancy.


Why do MLB fans care about competing with the NFL? Nothing competes with the NFL. The 20 most watched telecasts of 2021 included 15 NFL games, and that list clearly is missing the NFC title game, which would make it 16 of 20. And of those non-NFL four, two of them were specifically scheduled for being on immediately after NFL games.

The NFL has turned literally everything about its product into an event. The draft is three days long. The schedule release is a televised event, for crying out loud. There's just no reason to even worry about it.


   58. Walt Davis Posted: June 06, 2022 at 04:57 PM (#6080255)
Sure, baseball is popular. Total attendance in 2019 was 68.5 M (down a bit on 2018) and I assume that means that total viewership was (no idea) well over 300 M. Obviously a lot of individual overlap there but anything you can sell to 10-20% of a country of 330+ M can be profitable. Last numbers I saw put total revenue at $11 B. (Note 2022 attendance is down 3,300 (about 12%) per game on 2019 so far but let's see how summer goes.)

Despite many fewer games, NFL total revenue in 2019 was $15 B. I'm gonna guess they didn't hit their projection but apparently the NBA was projecting $10 B for 2021-22 (they were around $9 B in 2018-19, dropped about 10% for 2019-20 of course due to covid). Relative to the other two sports and given its much larger number of games, MLB is doing much worse revenue-wise. And those revenues don't include player endorsements, etc.

Obviously the international market is a weird beastie but you definitely see NBA players (particularly) used in ads here and there are a reasonably large number of football fans here. Even though they don't watch it, it seems most people here know when the Super Bowl is about to be played. Baseball simply doesn't register other than they know the players make a ton of money. Things like the Cubs winning the WS made a small dent. I assume that in parts of Latin America that baseball stars are used to sell stuff but I doubt baseball generates any cultural awareness of America anywhere else.

I've raised this many times ... the population demographics of the US (and any industrialized country) are in favor of marketing to old folks. The younger cohorts are the same size or smaller than the older age groups plus the younger cohorts don't have any money (and with the gig economy, ain't ever getting any except from their parents). Obviously you need to replace the baseball fans who die eventually but nobody in corporate sports is losing sleep over whether your DoorDash e-biker is wearing a Mets or a Knicks cap.
   59. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 06, 2022 at 05:02 PM (#6080256)
The schedule release is a televised event, for crying out loud.
I saw an ad for that in the run-up. I would say that was the dumbest thing I've ever seen, but...<gestures around at America>
   60. KronicFatigue Posted: June 06, 2022 at 05:18 PM (#6080262)
I'm absolutely stealing <gestures around at America>. I'll try and dust off an old primey and send it your way.
   61. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 06, 2022 at 05:32 PM (#6080270)
I don't think I can claim to be the originator of that - I think I saw something similar in maybe a Fangraphs chat?
   62. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 06, 2022 at 05:32 PM (#6080271)
Why do MLB fans care about competing with the NFL?

Caring's got nothing to do with it. I was just noting one of the many reasons why NFL quarterbacks as a class are better known to casual and non-sports fans than baseball players. You don't seem to be disputing that.
   63. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: June 06, 2022 at 05:51 PM (#6080279)
So baseball doesn't have much cultural significance anymore. So what? I want to watch baseball games, and the odds that they're going to stop playing baseball games any time soon is about zero. It just doesn't matter that no one cares where Joe DiMaggio has gone.
   64. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 06, 2022 at 08:46 PM (#6080311)
So baseball doesn't have much cultural significance anymore. So what? I want to watch baseball games, and the odds that they're going to stop playing baseball games any time soon is about zero. It just doesn't matter that no one cares where Joe DiMaggio has gone.

Well, I'm pissed because I missed seeing Joe Dimaggio play by a single year, but other than that I subscribe to your philosophy.
   65. My name is Votto, and I love to get Moppo Posted: June 07, 2022 at 11:29 AM (#6080376)
2) If you showed 1,000 random people in America head shots of baseball players, which player would be the most correctly ID'ed?


I haven't seen Kershaw mentioned, but he has a couple of big ad campaigns and the Dodgers are deep in the playoffs every year, so he's got to be up there.

It is cool that some of the star players have distinctive looks like Judge (freckles), Tatis or Vlad Jr (dreadlocks), and Harper (beard).
   66. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 07, 2022 at 11:39 AM (#6080377)
It is cool that some of the star players have distinctive looks like Judge (freckles), Tatis or Vlad Jr (dreadlocks), and Harper (beard).

I like that the Yankees are all clean shaven (except for the occasional mustache), but that's only because that makes them unique among the 30 teams. When facial hair of any type was generally verboten, I also liked the mustachioed look of Charlie Finley's A's, and for the same reason.

What's neat about today's players' facial hair is its seemingly infinite variety. When Roughned Odor combines his dark skin with a huge black beard and a big black ear flap, it's almost like it's nothing but a pair of eyes staring out from a deep, dark place. It's sublime.
   67. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 07, 2022 at 12:00 PM (#6080379)
What's neat about today's players' facial hair is its seemingly infinite variety.
Huh? Isn’t at least 90% of it of the “big thick beard” variety?
   68. SoSH U at work Posted: June 07, 2022 at 01:45 PM (#6080392)
I like that the Yankees are all clean shaven (except for the occasional mustache), but that's only because that makes them unique among the 30 teams. When facial hair of any type was generally verboten, I also liked the mustachioed look of Charlie Finley's A's, and for the same reason.


The 2013 Red Sox were definitely unique to look at, but it wasn't pleasant. (Results were good).

   69. Booey Posted: June 07, 2022 at 02:07 PM (#6080397)
#67 - Yeah, I liked the facial hair variations of the 80's and 90's better. You still had the thick, full beards (Boggs, Sutter, Reardon, Blyleven), but you also had all the stand-alone mustaches (Schmidt, Mattingly, young Bonds, etc), which could be paired with epic sideburns (Eddie Murray) or mullets (Eckersley, Randy Johnson). We had wispy, motorcyle cop mustaches like Jeff Kent, plus Wild West handlebar 'staches like Mike Piazza and Rod Beck. Goatees became big in the 90's (McGwire, Bagwell, Caminiti, Delgado, etc), and you'd see someone like Brady Anderson rocking his 90210 sideburns.

But yeah, now it's mainly just full beards. Who sports an epic, stand-alone mustache today?
   70. My name is Votto, and I love to get Moppo Posted: June 07, 2022 at 02:42 PM (#6080412)
Nestor Cortes does. He looks like the new John Franco.
   71. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 07, 2022 at 02:50 PM (#6080416)
Who sports an epic, stand-alone mustache today?
Matt Carpenter, but that's just because the Yankees won't let him have his big thick beard.

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