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Half-Baked Thoughts on the World Series

As someone who “missed” all but a half inning of the entire postseason (I saw Brad Lidge close out the Giants in one of the NLCS games but otherwise remained happily ignorant of the proceedings), I can’t comment on the action. This, however, doesn’t stop me from having and feeling the need to express opinions about the outcome.

Lucky you…

  • Congratulations to the San Francisco Giants. They weren’t the best team in baseball (or even in their division) for most of the year but dominated over the final two months, and that was enough.
  • The Padres’ failure to hold onto their once-commanding lead in the NL West stings even more now. They could have been the team celebrating. Doubtful, but you never know… after all, the Giants weren’t supposed to win.
  • I am glad that the World Series featured two teams from parts of the country routinely ignored by the U.S. media. It is good for people in Boston, Chicago, New York, and the like to experience the sensation of feeling completely removed from important events. Maybe awareness will help lead to change. Probably not, but it can’t hurt.
  • I am not looking forward to seeing the Giants come to town in 2011. I have friends who are Giants fans and who are very cool people. Unfortunately, the Giants fans I encounter at the ballpark tend to be less agreeable. I am concerned that a championship may make them downright unbearable. It’s like someone said after the Red Sox won in 2004: “I liked their fans better when they were suffering.”

Well, that’s enough hating on the World Series for one day. And anyway, my bubble bath is ready…

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9 Responses »

  1. “It is good for people in Boston, Chicago, New York, and the like to experience the sensation of feeling completely removed from important events”

    I’m glad Texas and SF were in the WS too, but the agreement ends there.

    SF has been to the WS 4 times (1962, 1989, 2002, 2010) Oakland has been there 6 times (1972, 73, 74, 88, 89, 90)
    In that same period the Red Sox have been to the WS 5 times (1967,’75,’86, 2004,’07)
    The White Sox have been there two times (1959, 2005)
    The Cubs zero times
    The Mets 4 times (1969,’73,’86, 2000)
    Other than the Yankees, the teams from those cities have not had many WS appearances.

    And if you add the NFL or other sports to the equation, then Dallas and SF have been represented very well over the years. The Cowboys, 49ers, (and the San Antonio Spurs) have received a great deal of media attention and championship exposure.

  2. How’s a baseball fan not watch the World Series, hated rival Giants or no?

  3. Parlo… I can only assume you haven’t spent much time in the Bay Area if you’re counting WS appearances for Oakland in with SF. The vast majority of folks in the city of SF, the Peninsula all the way down through San Jose and much of north bay couldn’t care less about the A’s.

  4. Wells – I’m with you! It seems like tuning out of an all-non-NY/Bos/Chi World Series is simply acting like a NY/Bos/Chi-er … bleh!

    And, GY, you make it sound like NY’ers get into it when Boston/Chicago teams are in the WS? Or Bos-ites when NY/Chi teams are in the WS? Or Chi-sters when NY/Bos teams are in the WS? I suspect all baseball fans feel like they get too many opportunities to feel left out of the World Series … and, what “change” are you hoping that awareness of “the sensation of feeling completely removed from important events” will lead to? That does sound like “hating” …

    I enjoyed the 2010 WS … the baseball was good … the national anthems were good … I’m not a big fan of the 7th inning GBA, but some of them were pretty good … I like when underdogs beat favorites! I would have liked it to go 6 or 7 games … but I also like to be reminded that the games aren’t “fixed” by the TV folks :-)

    I’m looking forward to Latos vs Lincecum matchups in 2011 … and beyond!

  5. Mark,
    The issue is not whether someone is an A’s fan or Giants fan. Here is the original comment:

    “I am glad that the World Series featured two teams from parts of the country routinely ignored by the U.S. media. It is good for people in Boston, Chicago, New York, and the like to experience the sensation of feeling completely removed from important events. Maybe awareness will help lead to change. Probably not, but it can’t hurt.”

    If you really want to make the argument that SF is in a different part of the country than Oakland, go right ahead.

  6. The majority of east coast fans don’t bother (except NY, Philly, Atlanta, and Tampa Bay, up to their elimination) following the WS at all, especially when there’s a west coast team involved. The regular season west coast games are so late, the east coasters don’t know much about the teams.

    ALL World Series games start too late for the east coast fans to watch a thrilling finish at midnight, unless their team is in it. The post-season, at least, needs more day games, especially on the weekends. If ratings continue to drop, even the TV networks might be in favor of it.

  7. @parlo: There is a demonstrable geographic bias in U.S. media (not specifically limited to sports coverage). Generally speaking, the northeast portion of the country receives a disproportionate amount of coverage relative to population, with Washington, D.C., and New York being the biggest culprits. Furthermore, this trend has increased over the past 30 years. See, e.g., Steve Jones’ “Television News: Geographic and Source Biases, 1982-2004″ (PDF). Jones’ work builds on research conducted by Dominick (1977) and Whitney et al. (1989) and focuses on network evening news, which offers a pretty good representation of how the media operates.

    There are solid reasons for such a bias to exist, namely more bodies = more money = more coverage. Walter Lippman’s classic Public Opinion delves into the relationship between consumers, producers, and advertisers. From Chapter 21:

    Circulation is, therefore, the means to an end. It becomes an asset only when it can be sold to the advertiser, who buys it with revenues secured through indirect taxation of the reader.

    Bottom line: Given the available data, the presence of a geographical bias in U.S. media isn’t debatable. What is debatable are the degree to which such bias is defensible and the degree to which such bias affects those negatively impacted by it, i.e., regions that are underrepresented (primarily the flyover states).

    @Wells, LynchMob: The season is long and I ask my family to make many sacrifices in the name of baseball. The minute the Padres are eliminated, I typically take time off to focus attention on everything/everyone I have neglected over the previous six months.

  8. Geoff,
    Sure, I agree with that. Washington being the political capital and New York being the financial and cultural center of the US, get more coverage. I’m willing to bet in England that London gets more coverage too. And San Diego gets more than Tucson.

    I agree with all of that. But that is not what you originally said. Also, Boston and Chicago are not Washington.

  9. @parlo: Your point is conceded, although it is irrelevant to the issue of media bias. Absent further arguments of substance, this discussion is ended.