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Baseball is a regional sport: Take 47

Oct 17, 2011, 5:00 PM EDT

Empty New York

Just to continue a theme we’ve been beating into the ground for several weeks now. This time inspired by the observations of Rich Coutinho of CBS New York, found over at BTF:

You know we all say the New York baseball fan is smarter and more perceptive than any other fans in the country, but if the truth be told we’re as provincial as any of those other fans. When our baseball teams are out, we shut down and I guess what that means is we are really not baseball fans … The NY football fan still had interest in the Super Bowl after the Jets were bumped by the Steelers and the NY NBA fans were certainly mesmerized by Heat/Mavericks last year, but if we don’t see Yanks, Mets or Phils or Red Sox (only because we hate those last two teams) we shut down.

Being smart and/or perceptive has nothing to do with it.

Because there are so many games and because the vast majority of them we consume cover the local nine, baseball fandom is, almost by necessity, a local thing. Even the smartest, most perceptive baseball fans lose some degree — maybe a great degree — of interest when their team is out of it. Such is life given the dynamic of the sport. Maybe things were different when the vast majority of the country got nothing but the Game of the Week — and when baseball wasn’t rivaled by sports apart from horse racing and boxing — but those days are long gone.

Baseball fandom is not as wide as it used to be. But it is way deeper than it used to be. If I knew anything about business I’d say something about vertical markets or something.  But I’d probably just be talking out of my rear end.

  1. dwishinsky - Oct 17, 2011 at 5:04 PM

    Craig – that is a good point. I’ve lost interest ever since my A’s were eliminated. It becomes a sort of passive fandom as opposed to an active fandom. Now that my “secondary” horses (both Detroit and Milwaukee) are out, this World Series is a snoozer with no team I’d really like to see win. I’ll still watch it but it is for love of the game, not with the fervent excitement than itd be if my team were in it.

  2. Seimiya - Oct 17, 2011 at 5:06 PM

    even with my yankees out, i would be more interested if ANY of the following teams were in it:

    So there’s that.

  3. pastabelly - Oct 17, 2011 at 5:18 PM

    If you have no rooting interest, baseball can be boring and games last too long.

  4. SmackSaw - Oct 17, 2011 at 5:23 PM

    I’m an Angels fan. I hope the Rangers get creamed. Go Cardinals.

    • pauleee - Oct 17, 2011 at 5:37 PM

      Angel’s fan too, but this year I AM rooting for the Rangers. If only to demonstrate how wrong it was to get rid of Napoli.

      • scatterbrian - Oct 17, 2011 at 5:59 PM

        There’s really no further demonstration necessary. That move was rightfully called a disaster from Day One and it’s only become more obvious since then.

  5. badmamainphilliesjamas - Oct 17, 2011 at 6:07 PM

    If you’re a fan of a team and you follow them for 162 games (watch/listen/check scores), there isn’t much time to follow other teams closely….so most people have a deep connection to “their” team, but only a passing interest in the others.
    That said, this Phillies fan has become a baseball fan, and will watch every postseason game–no matter who’s playing.

  6. sknut - Oct 17, 2011 at 6:27 PM

    The postseason is a different animal when your squad is out of it but in an enjoyable way. I have caught more games this year since the Twins wern’t close to the post season, versus past years where they lost in the first round.

    The other thing that I love about baseball especially over the NFL is the lack of b.s. with the teams. There isn’t the amount of trash talking, and I doubt we will have LaRussa shake Washington’s hand too hard and in response Washington pushing LaRussa. The results speak for themselves and that is satisfying that there isn’t a lot of fluff involved.

  7. sdelmonte - Oct 17, 2011 at 6:36 PM

    I am a New Yorker. And I have been following the playoffs as much as I can.

    Whereas I lost most interest in the NBA playoffs the second the Knicks were gone. Though that was partly because I cannot stand the Heat.

    I clearly prove the reporter wrong.

  8. nlfan865 - Oct 17, 2011 at 7:30 PM

    The draw for me is watching the NL style of baseball against the AL.Even though my Braves were eliminated, im a fan of the National League game and the strategies that go with it..I am familiar with the teams,the rotations. and players since i live in a NL city…I dont get much exposure to the AL through the year and really would not have the time for that much baseball i naturally lean towards the familiar… i dont think most true baseball fans really hate whole organizations but i can understand disliking certain players or managers… i have respect for teams that battle and win as well as teams that battle and lose…

    • clydeserra - Oct 18, 2011 at 1:37 AM

      What “strategies” are there?

      • 18thstreet - Oct 18, 2011 at 9:30 AM

        Walking the No. 8 hitter is fascinating stuff. I can’t get enough of it.

      • nlfan865 - Oct 18, 2011 at 2:49 PM

        ok to simplify the intended meaning i will change the description of strategy to tactics…with the differences of a dh compared to a hitting pitcher there are certain aspects to the game that take on more importance and have been proven to change the aspect of the course of games when executed regularly and with more consitancy:bunting,pinch hitting,infield defense,intentional walks,pitching changes and rarely in both leagues but surely more common in the national league suicide steals….please understand this concept may be more difficult for novice followers of the game that are waiting for the frenzy of the longball.If you would like an easier scenario i can explain the infield fly rule for you if youd prefer….

      • nlfan865 - Oct 18, 2011 at 3:01 PM

        with that being said i believe having those differences in league play is good for baseball in general and adds to the game by pitting one style against another…the nl is just the style i prefer

      • clydeserra - Oct 18, 2011 at 4:02 PM

        I get that, There is nothing inherently wrong with slightly different rules.

        I think those tactics you describe are equally as important in the AL as the NL.

        The only things that are different are the walk to the #8 batter, and the double switch. Both take away from the idea that the best players competing with each other.

        I’ll pass on the infield fly, but if you could justify the scoring rules for me, I would be much appreciative.

  9. thumper001 - Oct 17, 2011 at 7:34 PM

    So, a real baseball fan dies and goes to heaven. He’s met at the pearly gates by St. Peter and given the grand tour. It takes all day to see the sights, with St. Peter being one hell of a good tour guide. It’s the most incredible thing the real baseball fan has ever seen.

    So, when the tour wraps up, St. Peter turns to the real baseball fan, and asks him; “My son, are there any questions?”

    “Holy sh*t. All day long, I have been catching a glimpse of this big walled-in area in the center of heaven, and it looks like the biggest, grandest ballpark I’ve ever seen.. What is that? It must be really important.”

    “Oh that. That’s where we keep the Yankee fans and sportswriters. They think they’re the only ones up here. A shame really; to spend eternity playing with one’s self, but they seem to like it.”

    LOL Let it rain…

    (adapted from an old Dave Allen routine)

  10. natstowngreg - Oct 17, 2011 at 9:59 PM

    Could someone put in a good word to get one of those built for Phillies fans?

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