Thursday, October 16, 2008

Phillies-Rays World Series; Ratings Disaster?

By Tony Mazur

Breaking News: Bic, Gillette, and Mach3 have recalled all of their razor blade packages from stores across the country, due to a breakout of attempted suicides. Specifically, the fatalities have come from members of Fox Sports.

Obviously I am making light of this situation that's apparently plaguing the sports world. The situation is the possibility of a Philadelphia Phillies-Tampa Bay Rays World Series matchup. The so-called "experts" claim that if this series indeed occurs (Philadelphia clinched the pennant last night, while Tampa Bay tries to go for theirs tonight in Boston), it will call for a ratings disaster. They feel that the country does not care for two "small market teams" in the World Series.

I'm really getting tired of this bias towards small market baseball teams by, who else, the media. I had to sit through a Celtics-Lakers NBA Finals. My job as a radio host is to absorb the games, check the box scores, and report them for the show the next day. However, during the 2008 NBA Finals, I could care less. Reruns of Family Guy and CSI: Miami sparked my interest than two store-bought teams that David Stern approved of. I probably watched a total of 20 minutes of the six-game series. ESPN creamed over this matchup for two reasons. One was because of the rivalry between Boston and Los Angeles. Secondly, take a look at the market size.

Pick a media outlet. I GUARANTEE you that they were pulling for a Dodgers-Red Sox World Series matchup. They would shove names like Kirk Gibson, Sandy Koufax, Jackie Robinson, David Ortiz, and Manny Ramirez down our throats until we were blue in the face.

Will the ratings for a Phillies-Rays World Series come anywhere close to a Super Bowl? Of course not, although I hope so. But I disagree with the national media when they say that this matchup is bad for baseball. I think it's TERRIFIC for Major League Baseball. Take a look at the NFL. Teams have won Super Bowls in small media markets. Indianapolis isn't a gargantuan city. Neither is Baltimore, Green Bay, or Pittsburgh. Heck, even Buffalo went to a few Super Bowls, only to come up short four years in a row.

Bud Selig needs to realize that a small market World Series can revitalize the game of baseball. Who cares what the media in New York, Boston, Chicago, and Los Angeles feel about it. Have you ever taken a trip in an airplane? When the plane is at a certain altitude, the pilot will allow the passengers to unfasten their seat belts. When you do so, take a look outside your window. Do you see those tiny, rural houses? Those are the people that a Phillies-Rays World Series appeals to. There is more to this great country than Boston and Los Angeles.

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