Keeping the casual fan interested in October

Rarely do I pull from baseball message boards, or message boards of any type. This morning however was a post that really spurned a good discussion. I take particular interest in it because my favorite franchise hasn’t played a postseason series since 1995. I don’t have time to bleed

I recently have started listening to Mad Dog Radio on my drives to work. Yesterday on my drive to work the topic shocked me. It was the day after Philly clinched their 2nd straight WS berth. The Yankees were going for the clinch and the topic of the day was the two day old Steve Phillips “fatal attraction affair”.

Bud Selig needs to look no further than this to understand where baseball stands among the hierarchy of sports in America. Few people outside of LA, Philly, and NY care about baseball this time of year. The main topics on sports radio and sports TV shows are Football, BCS controversy, Steve Phillips, bad umpiring, and then maybe actual baseball. Its a shame, but it has become reality. Baseball should, but they won’t, take a long look at this and make changes to bring baseball back to the casual fan. Unfortunately once the calendar flips into October sports fans are more concerned with Football than the peak of the baseball season.

The real question here is what can be done to create more of an interest for all fans this time of year? The NFL as a league is a giant. Every year the fan interest just gets greater for football. They have a league office that ‘gets it’. They have a commissioner who does as well. NFL blogs done in the same format as this baseball blog get twice as many hits. Why is that? It’s because the NFL is just more popular. As the fan said above, baseball isn’t really on talk radio airwaves because people are burnt out on it with the season being 162 games a year. By the time we get around to October which is the ‘peak’ of the MLB season, fans are more tied up in football.

Now I’m in the minority because I’m a die-hard. But baseball doesn’t have to worry about keeping guys like me. I’m the hopeless romantic who travels to the ballpark in August when my team is 16 and 1/2 games out because I love being there. I watch all the postseason games because writing about them serves as my second job. Plus there is the whole But I’m part of a dying breed. The new generation being born, they’re not going to care like I do. At least not as high of a volume of fans are going to. I was born long enough about that baseball being ‘America’s Past Time’ was still enough to keep me brainwashed that it was the supreme sport. These newer fans to the game? They’re going to probably gravitate towards the NFL, a league who understands how to market and benefits from a 16 game schedule and exciting postseason. Baseball essentially peaks on Opening Day and slopes downward from there unless you’re in New York, Philadelphia, Boston or a few other select cities that get to the postseason consistently.

Baseball must find a way to create more interest for the casual fan. If I were smart enough to devise a plan to do that, I’d be working in Bud Selig’s office and writing Diamond Hoggers from there.

There’s definitely a problem and it’s only a small sore right now. It’s going to fester. This is something that could get worse generationally. The whole parity thing–it just doesn’t work in baseball like it does in the NFL. Because mark my words, come next October Reds fans, Orioles fans, Indians fans, and all of the other teams who only make the playoffs once a decade or less are going to be watching the NFL and not the MLB Playoffs. I wish I could say I am glad it’s baseball’s problem and not my own. But since I am one of those dopes who loves the game hopelessly; it’s my problem as well.