Pharos-Tribune

Columns

October 14, 2013

Baseball isn't dying -- it's thriving

(Continued)

It’s an advantage to play only once a week? That’s just one reason I’ve always regarded the NFL as a colossal bore. Sure, the Super Bowl’s a huge TV event in January, when half the country’s stuck indoors, eager to get loaded and gamble. At most Super Bowl parties I’ve attended, people hardly watch except when the hardcore guys start yelling.

College football’s much the same. Where I live in SEC territory, football fans devote months to obsessive chatter about the upcoming season. Then come three or four cupcake games, a handful of exciting conference matchups, maybe a bowl game, and then eight more months of phoning radio talk shows to gossip about high school recruits and conspire against the coach.

Are they even sports fans, these people? Some, sure. But a lot of them are mainly there for the identity politics and the party.

Meanwhile, I watch Major League Baseball almost every day from April to October — with occasional pilgrimages to the ballpark. I once overheard an impertinent woman ask my wife why she let me. Diane answered that she was a baseball coach’s daughter, and sometimes watches with me. (I guarantee you she can name the Red Sox starting lineup.) She added that I don’t supervise her pastimes, and that we do better when we don’t try to push each other around.

Does she never tire of it? “Sometimes,” she said. “But he’s home. He’s sober, and he’s not out making a fool of himself in some topless bar.”

Boys, if you get a chance, marry a coach’s daughter.

So why does even the NBA’s Game of the Week on ABC, Mahler wonders, get almost double the ratings of Major League Baseball on Fox?

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