Baseball sure is heating up, right? I mean, not that I care. Not that anyone cares. ESPN keeps talking about it. But is anyone else talking about it? Does anyone else really care?
I decided to check for myself and took my research to the most trusted source currently on the web: Facebook. Over a 24-hour period, which sport is everyone talking about more?
Now, before I start, let me just say that if the Chicago Cubs were still in the hunt, I wouldn't be thinking about any of this. I'd be talking about it all the time, completely consumed by baseball. But I'll wait for you to stop laughing at that idea now and say that, yes, I'm a sore loser. If the Cubs are out of it by the start of football season (which is like every year), then I stop caring. And apparently so does everyone else.
Football is just beginning Week Three. Baseball is making its push to the postseason! Surely I would have to sort through millions of baseball posts to find anything about football, right? (Imagine the final weeks of football, or fantasy football playoff time, compared to the third week of baseball.) But I guess it first depends on who my friends are.
My Facebook profile is not really related in any way to this blog or my sports writing. It is actually used to promote my indie movie stuff (book, zine, podcast. etc.), so many of my friends there do not follow sports at all. They are mostly actors, filmmakers, writers, and podcasters. Lots of sports-haters. Then there are about 50 of my closest friends and relatives. Overall I have 2,700 "friends," although I've likely removed 1,000 of them from appearing on my timeline.
Many of my friends do live in Nashville by default, but no one ever posts about the Titans, not even on Sundays. Seriously. I don't think anyone even likes them. Since no one was really born here anyway, I think the Titans only exist so that people like me can see the New Orleans Saints every few years. I have quite a few New Orleans friends too, but there were actually no Saints-related posts during this time.
I also have friends in baseball cities. I have plenty of Chicago friends, and I know many live in cities where they will be hosting playoff games. I have friends in Pittsburgh. Shouldn't that be a big deal right now? My brother lives in Cincy and is a huge Reds fan, but I know he's posted a lot more about the Bengals than the Reds recently.
So what did my research tell us?
Over a quick scroll of about a 24-hour period when NFL games were not being played (Friday 6:00 a.m. to Saturday 6:00 a.m.), I counted around 35-40 football posts. How many baseball posts? One. And it was someone laughing at his team. I saw a rugby post, a basketball-related status, and tons of stuff about Obamacare and the pregnant lady lifting weights. (Can she bat clean-up for the Cubs please?) If this were Sunday, that 35-40 number would be tripled at least, but a lot of that is Saints stuff. Probably from me.
So why does no one care about baseball right now? Personally, I believe the new playoff system may have something to do with it. I remember when the Cubs were swept in their last two playoff series and how quickly it all just ended. After 162 games of excitement, it was so deflating to have it end so fast, like hitting a brick wall at full speed. Now it can all end after ONE game. Baseball is never supposed to end after one game. The game is centered around the idea of the series. Our pitching staff will outplay yours. A one-game baseball playoff is like if the NBA had let Michael Jordan go one-on-one against someone as the first "round" of the NBA playoffs. Will it really be fun for Pirates fans to go through this whole season and watch it all end in nine innings? This isn't March Madness.
Other than that, I don't have an answer. I guess 162 games is a lot, and we do feel like every game in the NFL schedule really counts. But teams get into the postseason at 8-8 sometimes, so it isn't exactly college football either.
I know fantasy has a lot to do with it. Take a look at Wedge for example. He is proving that you don't even have to WATCH football to enjoy playing fantasy. He is still active in our leagues, updates his roster, and participates in our forum discussions. Even people who do not like sports can actively discuss football now. The only way that happens in baseball these days is when steroids are involved.
Either way, go Cubs in 2014! I want to be the only person posting about baseball next fall!