The Filibuster

With the Cubs, Cardinals and Astros all over the 30 win mark at the end of May, when are the baseball pundits going to admit that the NL Central is actually one of the better, more exciting divisions to watch this season?  Must this love affair with all things New York continue while both teams are in the bottom of their respective divisions?”

–Jeff

                                                                                       

Mr. Lung, you are a bitter man. I respect that, being a bitter man myself. And I fully agree with you about the New York-ophilia that taints the world of sports journalism. However, bitterness will not change that.

Here’s the thing. Sports exist to make money. And sports journalism, being the leech that it is, flourishes in direct proportion to the events they cover. The National Spelling Bee became popular so now it takes over a primetime slot on ESPN. Three years ago it was on ESPN2 and 20 years ago (when I was competing in spelling bees) you couldn’t even dream of an event like that being shown live on television. So what does this have to do with the lack of love for the NL Central?

Everything. The networks go where the money is and the money is in NY, Boston and LA. The flyover states are, well, flyover states. It’s not in the interest of the writers and pundits to follow a team like the Cardinals because the people in their major markets won’t watch. There’s a reason that the networks were praying for a Celtics-Lakers NBA championship and it wasn’t just because they wanted to do a feature on how Kobe has rehabilitated his image. It’s the same reason why the entire world descended on Iowa in January and now couldn’t care less what happens in the Hawkeye state.

So, to answer your question here’s a very simple response. The baseball pundits are never going to admit that the NL Central is an exciting division. Just like they aren’t going to start showing the Rays or Marlins on Fox Saturday baseball. Well, unless they’re playing the Yankees or Mets, of course.

-A

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