Originally Posted by TheOldRoman
I wasn't alive in the '70s, so I can't say for sure. Maybe my memories of the '90s are clouded because I was still young. However, baseball coverage (ESPN) took a HUGE turn towards Yankees/Red Sox 24/7 around the turn of the century. In the '90s the Indians were a small market team which had huge national appeal. Of course, we haven't had a small market team come out and dominate a division while winning two pennants and having many superstar players since then, so there is no true comparison. I don't think those Indians would be hyped up as much in this day. Casual fans don't know stars unless they play for their team or a division rival. Who the hell is Joey Votto? Half of baseball fans today probably couldn't tell you because his great play is not highlighted. He's not exactly doing what Griffey did on a small-market Mariners team in the '90s, but he is still doing great in obscurity. Justin Verlander is the best pitcher in baseball, and on national commercials, but I would venture to bet the average casual Rockies or Padres fans couldn't pick him out of a lineup. ESPN spends the entire season telling us that the Yankees and Red Sox are the only teams which matter, then everybody is flummoxed when neither team makes it and the ratings are down.
Another thing is, I think Fox has been terrible for the sport. Their coverage seems reluctant at best. "Well, here ya go. Baseball, I guess. Hey! In the stands there's a guy from one of our soon-to-be-cancelled sitcoms. Uhh, we will have football games on Sunday!" They went from trying to make a half-assed splash with KEWL robotic sounds and crap years ago, to now not even pretending to care. Hell, they don't even have baseball-specific theme music anymore. They use the "hard hitting" Fox NFL music, which is an awkward fit at best. Joe Buck is one of the worst announcers in sports, and he surely doesn't bring excitement to things. He said something along the lings of he doesn't consider baseball interesting, and it shows from his broadcasting. His disdain is apparent. It hate Fox's presentation of baseball. I don't think they have done anything to "grow" the sport. Put the playoffs on a different network. Have the announcers wear tuxedos just to show the world series is a BIG DEAL. Have advertising hyping up the World Series as a huge baseball event, not just part of "Foxtober! Big 12 football, NFL football, and then baseball at night!"
A lot of good points here, especially in the second paragraph. That Buck-McCarver announcing team is so horrible that I actually think I get stupider listening to them. There were at least five occasions during the World Series where I said either aloud or to myself, "What the hell are you talking about, McCarver?"
Early in Game 4 during his "scouting report," McCarver suggested Matt Cain junk his slider because he had hung a few too many of them in his previous start against St. Louis. Ummm.... Ok, so let me get this straight: Cain, after using his slider as an out pitch against right-handed hitters all season, is supposed to just subtract that pitch from his repertoire in one of the biggest starts of his career. Yeah, that makes sense. Thanks for the insight, Tim. I'm sure Cain and Posey will take that suggestion into consideration.