Monday, November 3, 2008

For The Last Time, America: Baseball Still Isn't Dead

For those of you scoring at home, this is my record-tying third straight post about the same goddamn issue. Sports media just cannot stop themselves from writing more and more whiny claptrap about how bad this World Series was and how baseball is dying and about how cold those players looked. Gregg Doyel chimes in on the "OMG WORLD SERIES IMPLOSIONS" issue. Even more amusingly, Gregg drew an air of intelligence by citing this mind-blowingly idiotic article by a "Bill Livingston" living in "Cleveland".

Since I already hate Sportsline and Doyel has been a target here before, I'll stick to his crap. Warning: idiot typing and stale ideas ahead. The whole article is basically a rewrite of the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s claim that "Baseball is dead, nobody plays it, it's too boring". It's just found a new place to spawn. And it's still the same old tripe. Let's look at some of the worst claims.

The truth of the matter is ... baseball just isn't that important anymore.

As I previously cited in this post last February, MLB's revenues indicate that quite a lot of people still care. For example, for 2007 (figures not available yet this year) MLB's revenues approach the oh-my-god-best-professional-league-ever NFL's. Besides money? I don't see appreciable decline in other metrics which might measure the lack of baseball importance. Yes - before you comment - the lousy ratings for this year's World Series are hardly a useful metric.

In 2008, MLB had its second highest attendance ever: "The total of 78,614,880 fell short of 2007's record of 79,503,175" (source).

Baseball purists and constipated gripers -- same thing, if you ask me -- journalists and uninformed self-aggrandizing windsocks - same thing, if you ask me --

want to blame the 2008 World Series' tepid television ratings on the schedule and the network and the weather,

Or the one small-market team?

all of which they sum up with the words "Bud Selig." And they're complaining that next year it will get worse, what with the World Series starting in late October and ending in early November and WHIP and VORP and the world coming to an end. Not to mention on-base plus slugging.

Yes! Now we get to the real problems! WHIP and VORP and OPS! That's why baseball is too irrelevant: it has a small core of actually intelligent fans! Again with the eschatological overtones: clearly baseball stats are bringing recorded time to a standstill!

Thesis: baseball's core of intelligent fans distinguishes it from every other sport, which is comprised almost exclusively of hordes of morons. Discuss.

But the truth is, baseball just isn't that important anymore in this country,

Six billion dollars suggest otherwise. Lotta tax dollars going to lotta communities. At a fairly-conservative 5% sales tax, that's 300 million tax dollars... and that's not even counting the income tax, which probably runs about 9 million a year for Alex Rodriguez alone. *shrug*

and there's no going back. I'm not sure how many people, other than the purists and the owners and (maybe) the players, even want to go back.

Actually, as a card-carrying purist, I kind of like the present. I really do. Except for the fact that the Reds haven't had a winning season since 1999, a record or two is steroid-tainted and the American League still has the DH, I'm just about fine with the present. And I don't mean that with any sarcasm whatsoever.

We like baseball where it is, behind football and ahead of soccer and log-jammed in there with basketball, golf, auto racing and combat sports

That must be the royal "we" of smarmy assholes who write for Sportsline and like to think baseball is doomed when it isn't. Seriously: combat sports? COMBAT SPORTS?

What an idiot.

... regarding the (obviously idiotic) idea of a neutral-site Series:

Only in football are tens of thousands of fans willing to spend a small fortune to traipse across the country to watch one winner-take-all game.

I am not sure of an exact stat here, but I once read somewhere that some huge percentage of SB tickets go to corporate sponsors and interests, with another percentage available to the public of the host city. Readers?

Oh, right, like people who "traipse" (traipse?) across the country to go to the Super Bowl go there to watch the game.

Football is passionate. Football is fun.

Apparently eighty million turnstiles clicked this past summer to go to events that were not fun. I think this is a sign of national depression. Why the hell did people go to baseball games eighty million times in order to not have fun? Put America on suicide watch.

With baseball, that means wrapping up the 162nd game and then looking back and studying the statistics, seeing which players got better or worse (or, like Adam Dunn, both).

Besides being a blatant and pointless baseball homer, you're uninformed to boot! As far as writers go, this year you got worse!

I think this is a joke? Like maybe Adam Dunn somehow got better or worse? Even though he had exactly as many homers as he's had for each of the previous three seasons, or that his OPS+ was exactly his career OPS+?

Gregg doesn't know his head from his ass. I wish Dunn would start hitting Gregg Doyel instead of 40 home runs a season or his wife after games in Chicago.

[Note: this is an inside joke between me and two other bloggers. I am not actually suggesting that Adam Dunn commits domestic violence.]


Baseball isn't dead. Baseball isn't dying. The World Series isn't dead. The World Series isn't dying. Can we all just get over the ONE RAINOUT in the ONE HUNDRED YEARS of World Series baseball and go back to debating about something useful, like how many DHs can dance on the head of a pin?

Seriously, people have been whining about how baseball is dead for the last thirty years. I once read a Charlie Brown comic strip from like 1974 or some shit where Linus declared baseball to be dead. It's not true, it hasn't been true, and no useful metric suggests that it's going to be true.


Chris W said...

Baseball is about 100x better than it's been since the strike.

It's back to actually being baseball rather than slow pitch softball.

It's making money, it's drawing crowds, every team except for maybe five or six begin the season expecting that they could compete if things go right for them.

Baseball is better and healthier than it's been since it's heyday and people are starting to recognize, more and more the distinction between baseball and NFL, giving each an achievable (and sometimes shared) market niche.

Great timing for a "baseball is sinking fast" article.

Lol. Fucking dumbass.

Chris W said...

And I've gotta be honest--judging by the pitch and tone of most of the "baseball is failing--baseball is out of touch" articles I read, I've gotta say that it seems to me most of them are written by people who never much liked baseball to begin with.

"football is passionate. Football is fun."

GMAB. I love NFL football, but what is the point of that fucking sentence except to point out the author's blatant prejudice against baseball as a sport.

To each his fucking own but this fucktard acting like "football is passionate football is fun" and "Baseball isn't" is like me saying the MLB is superior to the NBA just because I'm not a fan of the NBA.

What a buttchomp.

Tonus said...

As far as I can tell, according to these dimwits, the way to "fix" baseball is to provide fans with fewer games and make sure that uppity small town teams stay the fuck out of the post-season and let the Yankees and Red Sox play every World Series against each other.

I still don't get how any of them figure that shortening the season will somehow avoid rainouts. Morons.

PS, the word verification for this post was "prole." I kid you not.

Jack M said...


Have you ever left your basement, suffered the cursed sunlight at an early morning tailgate, and then sat through an entire NFL game?

I don't know the answer, but I'm going to assume the answer is "no" because you like baseball, homo.

p.s. When will Ellen be guest posting on this very gay web log?

JimA said...

It is far from the first rainout. If you mean the first game to be suspended due to rain, it might be. There have been controversies about World Series rainouts since 1911. The game will survive. It has survived much worse.

Ryan said...

"football is passionate. Football is fun."

Yes because I enjoy seeing the exact same offenses run by every single team in the league in the exact same fashion, with the exact same dumb storylines harped upon by morons every single week. Why watch something like baseball when I can watch two middle aged fat guys with headsets play chess for 4 hours?

Chris W said...



Martin said...

If Charlie Brown was your pitcher every game, you'd declare baseball dead too.

dan-bob said...

Does anyone know Ellen? Can we get her to come post? That might boost our traffic from 3 to 5.

Martin said...

Ellen? Is that code for Le Anne?

dan-bob said...

I sure wish.

pnoles said...

That's so fucked up, isn't it? How does a guy hit exactly 40 home runs 4 seasons in a row?

My guess: he's doing it on purpose.