Sunday, May 18, 2014

Thinking of Sports

I had great fun reading this column from the Toronto-based Globe and Mail. It reminded me of something a Philadelphia columnist could have written about Eagles fans had the Cowboys advanced in the NFL playoffs. It did make me feel sheepish, for just though I would surely root against the Cowboys if they ever advanced toward the Super Bowl, I did pull for the Giants in their two Super Bowl victories over the Patriots. Should I be ashamed that I committed that sin back in 2012?

Though the NFL doesn't have reason to complain, Major League Baseball, the NBA, and the NHL all suffer from somewhat anemic post-season TV ratings. And I have been embarrassed at times that I check out of watching whatever postseason is active once my team is out. This is true of all the big sports I watch save the NFL. Even last season, when my son and I picked teams to follow in the MLB postseason (Pirates, Cardinals, Tigers, and Red Sox), their games never became must-see TV for me. Has that made me less of a hockey or baseball fan. I've thought for years that it did.

What I loved about the Globe and Mail column was how it made me realize that there's some real pride in being a blinkered Phillies or Flyers fan. There's no shame in turning off the playoffs when my team fails to advance (or doesn't even get in).

TV coverage of the teams, our teams, saturates us in the season. We get not only the opportunity to watch every minute of every game, but we also get the opportunity to see the manager or coach at the end of every game as well as analysis from some talking head following each game. When our teams' seasons are done, so are we. It would therefore seem to me as if televising the post-season of most sports is an endeavor too narrow for the national networks to do. Most teams' fans are finished, so why should we tune in. It might make more sense for the local broadcasters of those sports to carry that championship round on their network, making the feed available to those who want to carry it.

I don't think I should regret anymore (as I sometimes have) the supposed demise of baseball when I hear report of the weak World Series ratings. Nationwide telecasts of games between two local teams are an anachronism, a token from a time in which access along the way wasn't as heavy and when options for video entertainment weren't as abundant.

Except for the NFL that is. They're just able to print money as if they were the Fed. For the time being however. That seems like a bubble that's going to be popping at some point. Just not now.

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