Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Overlooked Home Stretch

Every year as baseball's last and most exciting month of the regular season approaches, college and pro football begin, and draw almost all of our attention away from America's pastime. Baseball is the only sport that doesn't have our undivided attention during the stretch run. As the NFL wraps up, the NHL and NBA are in midseason...which in an 82 game schedule can easily be ignored to fully enjoy the football playoff races. The NHL and NBA runs come in March and April respectively, and by the time the races really heat up, the hype of the NCAA tournament has faded. It is not as if there have not been some great finishes in the past. The Rockies 11 game win streak in 07 to propel them into the playoffs was classic.

So how is it that the interest and talk in a sport that is played once a week, and is in the beginning of its schedule, can outweigh the interest and talk in a sport that is played every night and only has a few games remaining? The answer is simple; fans of teams that have been out of the playoff race since late may have been waiting for salvation from their football team. These fans cannot truly get back into baseball until the playoffs start. In cities such as, Pittsburgh, Kansas City, Baltimore, Cleveland, Washington, and more, their teams have been out of the hunt since Memorial Day and have long since lost interest. Even the diehard baseball fans of those teams tend to also be big football fans. Once the NFL season begins these diehards finally have hope again and they put baseball on the back burner. The NFL does not have this problem because only 16 games are played, and more teams make the playoffs; therefore more fans are in it until the end. Of course in a sport where each team plays 162 games, it is necessary to have a little number of teams make the playoffs to make the regular season more meaningful.
Although it may not be fair that baseball does not get our full attention for the home stretch, it is sure to flourish in the post season as usual. I hope it is a great October.


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