Baseball isn’t necessarily in danger of going extinct, but the TV ratings the sport has seen in the past few years aren’t exactly encouraging, either. Yet one of the game’s great ambassadors says one potential World Series matchup could be really, really bad for the game.
Longtime broadcaster Bob Costas might have been speaking with a touch of hyperbole, but he’s got a pretty strong stance about a potential Reds-Rays World Series matchup. Cited in a New York Times piece (hat tip to TheBigLead.com) titled “Is the Game Over?” Costas used the potential matchup as a way to further illustrate baseball’s TV struggles.
“If Tampa Bay plays Cincinnati in the World Series, I don’t care if the series goes seven games and every game goes into extra innings, baseball is screwed,” Costas told the paper.“That’s not fair to the Rays or the Reds, but it’s true.”
It’s a little dramatic, perhaps — even baseball could survive a Fall Classic featuring those two markets — but it does speak to the larger issue, which is the game’s struggle to keep up in the ever-important TV ratings game. The Times points out that the NBA’s regular-season ratings on ABC in 2012 doubled MLB’s ratings on FOX Saturday games as well as the fact that the last eight World Series have produced the seven least-watched Fall Classics.
“Baseball is not cool,” writes Jonathan Mahler.
However, Mahler believes baseball can “by all means” rebound, citing trends and changes in interest. Just as long as the Reds don’t play the Rays, apparently.