Boston Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks (16) is called for obstruction for tripping St. Louis Cardinals pinch hitter Allen Craig (21) allowing the winning run to score in the 9th inning during game three of the MLB baseball World Series at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Eileen Blass-USA TODAY Sports
WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- So here I am watching this putrid excuse for a football game. Carolina Panthers versus the god awful Tampa Bay Buccaneers with a coach, Greg Schiano, who has somehow positioned himself closer to the firing squad than Minnesota's Leslie Frazier. That's hard to do Greg. On the flip side, Carolina hasn't been over .500 in five years. Whew, bad football.
As I sat in the sports office I got to thinking why I wasn't watching the World Series. I wasn't alone I suspect. I like baseball but I don't love it and as I thought about it, nothing about the Fall Classic really compelled me to tune in. I checked it every once in awhile but nothing drew me to it. I'm a sports reporter and quite frankly, if Pete Kozma or Allen Craig or Jacoby Ellsbury or Mike Napoli walked up to me on the street, I wouldn't recognize them. Big Papi, yes, but Napoli? No way.
Such is baseball's quandary. Football is living in an age of gluttony when it comes to ratings and popularity. Simply put, they're eating everyone's lunch. 49 of the 50 highest rated sports programs in 2012 were NFL and Olympics-related. The World Series didn't make the list.
Now I'm not naïve, baseball is beloved and watched by many. But it's popularity pales in comparison to the NFL. This past week the 9-Sports department conducted an experiment to see just how recognizable sports figures are to common everyday people walking the street. We took 11 sports personalities: Tiger Woods, Kobe Bryant, Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning, Tim Tebow, Derek Jeter, Venus Williams, Robert Griffin III, Tom Brady, Lebron James, and Phil Mickelson.
We randomly stopped people on the street and showed them pictures of each and asked them if they could name the athletes. Now I certainly understand we didn't poll enough people (8) to consider this a scientific study but we did discover some fascinating and funny things. Take a look at the attached video.
Only one person on the street recognized Derek Jeter. Derek Jeter!!! On the other hand, every one of them named Tim Tebow right off the bat. What's that tell you.
It tells me baseball has an identity problem. Sure you might know your home club but outside of David Ortiz (Big Papi) could you really recognize anybody in this World Series?