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One more word about baseball vs. football ratings

Oct 18, 2010, 2:06 PM EDT

Based on some of the responses I’ve received, I seem to have created an impression in my last post that I think the television ratings of football vs. baseball are misleading as to the sports’ relative popularity. I didn’t mean to create that impression, though I see now that I did.

Let me be clear: I realize that football is far more popular in this country now than baseball is, and that would be the case no matter how the broadcast dynamics worked. It probably has been the case for a long, long time too. Since the 70s, I’d guess, at least in terms of the national mood, even if the ratings show it differently.

There are a ton of reasons for this, some of them understandable (more visceral action and kinetic energy in football; more excitement of a certain kind; any one game means more in football than in baseball) and some of them lamentable (the prevalence of gambling on the NFL and the far greater popularity of fantasy football as opposed to fantasy baseball). Does this bother me? Nah. I mean, sure, I wish everyone liked baseball as much as I do, but it’s not the case and there’s no sense moaning about it.

Besides: The top movie this past weekend was “Jackass 3D.” I take that as pretty solid proof that popularity is overrated.

  1. Old Gator - Oct 18, 2010 at 2:24 PM

    Sorry, Craig. I’m enjoying my misimpression from your original post far too lushly to want to sober up by reading this one.

    • yankeesfanlen - Oct 18, 2010 at 5:13 PM

      From previous post- yes, I’m back in full force in time for the ALCS and Series. As for the baseball vs football nonsense, you don’t see me on Football Talk standing up for the Redskins. as is the case I only alluded to earlier.
      Thanks for remembering me.

  2. Chris Fiorentino - Oct 18, 2010 at 2:28 PM

    So what you are saying is that “Yes, football is more popular than baseball, but like Jackass 3 being the #1 movie, it only means that stupid people like what’s more popular anyway!” Or was there another insinuation in your use of the word “overrated”?

    • Craig Calcaterra - Oct 18, 2010 at 2:31 PM

      No. I didn’t see this one, but I liked the other two Jackass movies. Laughed my head off at them. I like all manner of entertainment that is considered low brow by some.

      But Jackass is not going to make my “best movies” list, or anyone else’s. It’s a mindless and enjoyable diversion.

      The same goes for football. Great that so many people love it. No problem that they do. But don’t go mistaking popularity for quality. Baseball is “The Godfather” to the NFL’s “Jackass.”

      • Chris Fiorentino - Oct 18, 2010 at 2:38 PM

        Oh my…I was only kidding and being slightly sarcastic. You took it to another “football-bashing” level with “Baseball is to Godfather as Football is to Jackass” LOL.

      • Jonny 5 - Oct 18, 2010 at 2:51 PM

        I hate it when ratings come up. Who cares? This is what big dollar network guys are paid to worry about.

      • Jonny 5 - Oct 18, 2010 at 2:52 PM

        Everyone KNOWS the best movie of all time is Beerfest. It’s pretty much fact. Yeah.

      • Old Gator - Oct 18, 2010 at 7:05 PM

        The greatest movie of all time was unquestionably the original (1954) Godzilla. It not only gave the world its greatest modern icon, but it told the true story of the discovery of antioxidants. They’re all that stand between you and atherosclerosis after eating one of those horrible horsemeat and velveeta sandwiches.

        And baseball is more like the Citizen Kane to the NFL’s Plan Nine from Outer Space.

  3. amhendrick - Oct 18, 2010 at 2:49 PM

    I think it’s more accurate to say that the NFL is more popular than MLB. Whether football in general is more popular than baseball in general is a tougher call. A lot of people go to minor league games.

    • Chris Fiorentino - Oct 18, 2010 at 3:01 PM

      “A lot of people times 100” go to College Football games over College Baseball games and minor league games. I think in general, the sport of American Football is more popular than the sport of baseball.

      • Jonny 5 - Oct 18, 2010 at 3:19 PM

        Terrible thing happened with Rutgers over the weekend. See that? I might not be able to watch a game for the rest of the season without that bothering me.

  4. scatterbrian - Oct 18, 2010 at 4:59 PM

    We can watch the baseball playoffs on the internet. I don’t know for sure, but I don’t think that’s the case with weekly regular season NFL games. Do ratings include MLB.TV numbers?

    Also, the NFL Network is much more available to the masses than the MLB Network (shame on those greedy bastards…)

    And to take the instant gratification angle, you will see most of college football’s current stars on NFL teams next season. That turnover makes for a much more seamless transition for fans to absorb, making college football more relevant and enjoyable for the masses on a macro level. NFL fans get to see the up-and-comers, and college football fans get to follow their guys in the pros.

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