Originally Posted by Brian26
I'm not sure I've ever bought into this line of thinking. In the late 70s, baseball was all about the Dodgers and Yankees. In the mid 80s, it was the Cardinals and Mets. I think that particular problem, or at least the perception of the problem, has always existed.
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!"