MLB is still my choice

15 10 2010

It is mid-October, and to some folks that means that only college and pro football exist on the sports scene. To me, it means the best baseball has yet to be played. As Game 1 of the ALCS begins tonight, I remain surprised at the lack of interest this country has for October baseball. What happened? Is it really steroids that bothers folks? I understand the argument that steroids turns people off to baseball but not to football is a tired one. I don’t intend to rehash that. Yet everywhere I look, America shows itself as a country always willing to give second and third and fourth chances.

Michael Vick tortured and killed dogs yet most of the general public cares more about whether he’ll supplant Kevin Kolb once and for all as the starting Philly Eagles quarterback. Mike Tyson, as great of a boxer as he was, is a total loser in life. After rape charges and various drug and monetary problems throughout his life, we still laugh at his antics on The Hangover or in a fake Bobby Brown music video. Look at the NFL. We’ve been learning the last couple years during this concussion debate about the utter disregard the league and its teams once had for players’ health problems, particularly with their head injuries. It doesn’t seem to affect people’s interest in the sport.

A current ESPN.com poll asks what is most interesting this weekend: Week 7 college football, the MLB postseason or Week 6 NFL. Of the nearly 170,000 people who responded when I posted this, only 33 percent voted for MLB. Thirty-seven percent would rather watch the NFL, and 30 percent prefer college football. October should be the month that draws in old baseball fans and makes new ones. Whatever the real reason is for people turning away from baseball, MLB has to be concerned. Their sports league, and their sport, loses a ton of relevance once NFL training camps open in late July. They’ll have to embrace new ideas, such as earlier start times for games or full-scale instant replay. MLB needs to figure out what it has to do to capture the hearts of the American public in October — if that’s even achievable anymore.

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