What If They Played a World Series and No One Watched?

It is no secret that the higher-ups at Major League Baseball did not get their wishes granted in the American and National league championship series’. A World Series rematch between the preeminent powerhouses of each league, the New York Yankees and the Philadelphia Phillies, would have generated more viewership, revenue, and overall interest in the fall classic than anyone could have fathomed. Instead, the 2010 World Series generated the lowest ratings of all time. Overall, ratings were down 29% as a whole from last year’s numbers. A statistic that doesn’t seem so bad when you take into account that 2008’s numbers weren’t so great, but, with the possibility looming of breaking records with the aforementioned big-name clubs it is a big loss for baseball. To break it down even further, Game 1 was the third smallest audience for such an occasion and the tradition continued with Game 2 garnering the same respect, Game 3 was the second lowest watched Series game in history, Game 4 lost to ‘Dancing with the Stars’ and ‘Sunday Night Football’, marking the first time an NFL game collected more viewership than the series, Game 5, aka the deciding game of the series, lost to ‘Dancing with the Stars’ and ‘Two and a Half Men’.

Perhaps it was simply the absence of seeing a dramatic rematch, or the fact that, in most cities, more people cheer for the Yankees than the actual team that plays there, but no matter how you slice it the World Series was an overall letdown. There were compelling melodramas to concentrate on, like Josh Hamilton’s ballyhooed rise to fame as a youngster, only to be taken down in a spiral of drugs, and then to repent his sins and make his way back to one of the best players in baseball. Or Cliff Lee and the questions that surround how much money his playoff pitching performances will make him this offseason, and how long he can continue his undefeated streak. Could Tim Lincecum continue to put up strong performances against the other teams ace? If rookie Buster Posey was able to put all the nerves aside and continue to rake the ball as well as catch a great staff in the process. And whether or not the age-old baseball adage, good-pitching beats good hitting, is true.

Sadly, no one cared much for these story lines, and while the San Francisco Giants ended up winning the World Series in relatively easy fashion, it seems that there is already more interest in the free agent bidding war sure to commence on names like Lee, Jayson Werth, and Carl Crawford, with only a handful of teams truly in the race to get such big name talent. Every year fans and general managers of the smaller market teams plead for a salary cap in baseball so their teams can get a chance to nab these stars, but given the realization that over the last ten years nine different teams have won the World Series, with only the Boston Red Sox winning twice, does it really matter? In the NFL, a league that has a salary cap and prides itself on parody, only seven different winners have hoisted the Lombardi Trophy in the same amount of time.

Winning the World Series was a great moment for the San Francisco Giants, and making it to the big time, for the first time, was an enormous feat for the Texas Rangers, but in doing so both clubs proved that a salary cap isn’t as important as originally speculated, while also confirming that not many people are interested in the triumph of the “small guy”. Every year the big clubs are going to overpay for free agent talent and get a lot of the media hype, and almost every year the little guys are going to kick them off the mountain to the chagrin of the viewing public.

And just in case you missed it, it was proven once again that good pitching absolutely beats good hitting.

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