In response to ZILLAGOD's comment:
It's not just baseball.
It's all of major league sports.
The big money has ruined it.
#1 Too much T.V. coverage has turned clowns like Chad Ochocinco, Nick Swisher and Zdeno Chara into celebrities, guys with really marginal talent but BIG market value in the ratings. One has lots of exposure on Court T.V. , the other has always got a goofy grin on his face, and the last is just a big, clumsy goof , who is always capable of smashing a smaller guy through the glass. ( I won't mention NASCAR and Danica Patrick , a pretty young thing ...great for ratings, but hasn't accomplished sh*t on a racetrack yet, probably never will).
#2 Big fat contracts that make owners, GMs and players pay more attention to whether a guy gets his "scheduled day off" and "doesn't exceed his pitch count" ...rather than who wins the game.
#3 Expansion to too many weak markets. I mean really....Tampas Bay?...Colorado?...and who ever thought in 1974 ( when Guy Lafleur and Gil Perreault were leading scorers in the NHL) that the NHL would have teams in Phoenix and Nashville?
#4 Seasons too long, games too long....why...advertisers want more bang for the buck...more games...longer games....MORE COMMERCIALS!!!
#5 Wild Card teams....pretty soon sub .500 teams will make the playoffs! ....and they used to make fun of the NHL when 16 of 21 teams made the playoffs. Sure it was lunacy, a desperate attempt to draw American fans away from baseball and Nascar, after the Chicago Black Hawks and Detroit Red Wings get bounced by the Canadian powerhouses of the 70s and 80s ( Montreal, Edmonton). Hey, it worked! Washington Capitals fans could watch their team well into late spring and sometimes early summer. NFL was first to catch on, don't the playoffs last almost as long as the regular season now?
#6 Cable T.V, Satellite ....you can follow the team of your choice. You can be a Yankees fan in Toronto....or Tuscon, or Rancho Cuchamonga. Makes it easy to change your affiliation if your team stinks.
"Here we are trapped in the amber of the moment. There is no why.- Kurt Vonnegut
Z -- I got to ask. Do you get any enjoyment from sports at all. I sense you don't. So many of your posts have this negative, cynical bent to them so I don't really understand why you follow sports at all.
Yes, big money has brought negatives into sports that might not have been there in the past, but the good old days weren't always as good as you might think. More on this later.
First to your points:
1. Yes TV has created a lot of stars in many arenas -- not just sports -- out of medicority, but I don't understand our examples. Chad Johnson actually was a very good WR in his prime. His antics elevated his notoriety because of TV, but to say he was a marginal talent is inaccurate. You really think Swisher is some kind of ratings generator -- REALLY? And even if he his, by all accounts, he's a good guy and has been a decent player -- more than just marginal. As for Chara, your analysis of him is so far off base. Yes he's physical and he's big, but he uses his size effectively and has been a shutdown defenseman and not simply because he's big. He does have talent. If it were that easy, gee, let's put anyone who's 6 feet 9 and put him on skates. Just because a guy is tall or big, it doesn't make him less talented.
And as for Patrick, you comment reeks of sexism. First, she did win a race in the IndyCar series. She's qualified faster than many other drivers on both circuits. Whether she wins much on NASCAR, we'll see. But take a look. There are a lot of guys who race for years on NASCAR or Indy who don't accomplish anything yet race for years -- Joe Nemechek anyone. What -- she shouldn't have the same right as a guy to race for years. And if she uses her sex appeal for endorsements, so what? Don't fool yourself, male athletes do that too. I don't understand why you think it's a bad thing.
2. Yes big contracts can lead to some of the cliches that are often spewed these days, but you overstate this so much. GMs and players DON'T pay more attention to days off than to winning. Maybe there are an exception or two when it comes to players but again you overstate it way beyond reason. And as for pitch counts -- sure, let's go back to the old days when managers would run a pitcher's arms into the ground. TAKE A LOOK some time at some of your "heroes" from the past you claim to be "workhorses" and see how short their careers were -- at least in terms of being effective. Yeah, they were good ol' days all right.
Do you really thing a GM or manager or coach who thinks more of winning "today's game" and cares less about the health of a player is a good thing? Teams ABUSED athletes in the past. Maybe they really don't care about the individual today, but at least they're protecting their investment.
3. Maybe there's been too much expansion, but in general, I don't see the harm in trying to expand product into new markets. Was expanding baseball from basically the NE to west of the Mississiippi bad. I agree that perhaps some expansion went too far. On the other hand, as someone who not by choice moved from Boston to Florida, I love that I have the chance to see my Bruins when they go to Tampa. Expansion might actually keep more fans into the game.
4. This might be your most inaccurate and cynical comment yet. Seasons too long because of commercials? Umm ... baseball didn't have much of a TV presence when they expanded from 154 games to 162. And advertisers don't want games too long because they'll lose viewers. They actually want people to see their commericals, not changing the channel because the game lasts too long.
Now if you want to simply say that expanding playoff or even regular-season (in other sports) is to generate more revenue in general, that is accurate. I've never had a problem with the regular seasons of any sports. I will say that in all sports, I'd like to see a best-of-5 for first-round series, rather than best -of-7.
5.When it comes to wild card, are you talking simply about baseball. (There have been sub-.500 teams in the playoffs in other sports for years. The Houston Rockets were 40-42 in the regular season when the Celtics beat them for the title in 1981.) If you are talking about baseball, I don't really like the second wild card. I don't mind the first wild card. But why is it such a problem to try things to generate interest in the season late in the year by keeping more teams in the race. Really -- how intersting was baseball back in the so-call good old days when the Yankees were dominating. Take a look at attendance figures.
6. You really think Cable/Satellite TV is a bad thing? Mind-boggling. Not everyone has the luxury in staying in areas where they grew up and grew allegiance to teams. To me, that reeks of elitism. You think fans should only watch their team if they live in the area.
When my family moved to Florida, I was stuck for years hoping the Sox would be on Monday night baseball or the NBC Game of the Week. When ESPN started showing more games, I had the opportunity ot see them more. You claim it make it easier to change affiliation if your team stinks. Well, fans like would simply stop following the sport if there wasn't satellite TV. At least, it keeps them in the sport.
I'm not one who accepts change easily, but gee -- you seem see only the negative with changes. Yes, TV and money have added elements to sports in specific (life in general) that aren't always good. On the other hand, it has created a lot positives. If you look, attendance in baseball started going up dramtically when TV began showing more games. I don't think it was a coincidence.
More fans and more games mean more jobs for vendors. Look at all the jobs sports creates because of TV -- production, making commercials, selling so hated advertisements, the TV shows that talk about sports, all the sports memorabelia that's made and sold because of high interest in sports. All those companies that make money off sports need accountants, management, workers, salesmen, etc.
And you think all this is a bad thing?