Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Prove The Experts Wrong...Watch the World Series.
An article in the Hollywood Reporter, (no we don't read that, we found it on the Reuters News Wire) stated:
...With Sunday night's seventh game of the American League Championship Series drawing record ratings for TBS, Fox Sports is hoping that some of that magic rubs off on the baseball World Series.
The match up between the Philadelphia Phillies and Tampa Bay Rays, however exciting in terms of baseball purism, isn't likely to set the TV ratings world afire. In fact, some fear it could be the lowest-rated World Series ever.
"You could hear the groans coming up because it isn't the Red Sox-Dodgers," said Aaron Cohen, chief media negotiator at New York-based ad buyer Horizon Media.
It's really frustrating when reporters with little or no knowledge of the game of baseball make statements like this. The title of the article read " World Series Baseball Set to Strike Out in Ratings" If anything, this World Series could be the most watched not only by baseball purists, but by the very same fan that has been making ESPN's coverage of the College World Series a ratings hit.
The key is a good showing by Tampa Bay. If they continue to defy their supposed pro inexperience and treat this World Series contest like a collegiate conference show-down, a WWBA national championship or some other youth event that is still fresh in their minds...they will fare very well.
The younger players of today's MLB are used to the big stage...throughout all stages of their lives, due to the recent influx of showcases, College Development Programs, national youth tournaments and so on that were not as prevalent with any of the older players in the league. As a result of this connection, we predict that the youth of the Rays will resonate with youthful fans.
Many of today's young baseball players that are playing on College Development Programs, travel teams or rec ball have a lot in common with the twenty something Rays team. It wasn't that long ago for many of these young professionals when they were playing in complexes like East Cobb, GA, Peoria, AZ, Cary, NC, or Orlando, FL themselves. Many were on top rated youth teams that made them the seasoned ball players they are today.
Many of today's families with young aspiring baseball players will be rooting for these Rays. College campuses like Long Beach State, Fresno State, Vanderbilt, Texas, Dallas Baptist, Auburn, Oklahoma and Southern Mississippi, to name a few will be rooting for their former stars too.
Today's College Web Sites are run very well by savvy Public Relations types that know how to latch onto a highlight, such as a former player that is in a high profile event like the World Series. Don't believe us? Click on the following links to the Vanderbilt, Fresno State, Long Beach State web sites and see for yourself. This is exciting news for these college programs, their students, alumni and local fans. And, the more NCAA baseball schools start to make those connections to top stars, the better it will be for the game of baseball to continue its string of ratings and attendance increases.
Of course, the Phillies also have their share of youth. It wasn't that long ago that Pat Burrell was knocking homers over the elevated highway exit ramp in deep, deep left field at PAL Stadium in San Jose for his Bellarmine High School team. A few years later he was setting records for the Miami Hurricanes. Eric Bruntlett will try to take his 3 College World Series appearances while at Stanford and channel that into a successful Series later this week and Chase Utley was THE MAN at UCLA, just as he is with the Phillies.
Yes, we think the experts are dead wrong on this one. This could be the most watched Series, just as the Phillies and a young Royals match-up was the most watched at that time back in 1980. That Royals team was led by a youthful George Brett, Willie Wilson, Hal McRae and Frank White. Small market KC was supposed to be a ratings disaster yet the networks wonks underestimated how significant Brett's assault on .400 had been durng the regular season. Plus, the Royals were built on team speed and that had fascinated fans too.
Philadelphia itself had star power of it's own with Pete Rose, Mike Schmidt, Bake McBride, Manny Trillo, Steve Carlton and WS hero Tug McGraw. There are a lot of similarities between that 1980 Series and this years contest. We know that baseball purists will love the Rays/Phillies contest...but our bet is that the rest of the world will tune in as well.