So watching TV has changed since 1962, eh? Who knew?
Because that's the essence of The CHB's column today. Perhaps the World Series isn't what it used to be (according to today's headline), but in truth, this piece is not so much about baseball as it is watching it on the tube.
The problem with Shank's column is that, while he runs down a litany of reasons why today's product isn't as good as yesteryear's, he lists the wrong reasons.
To wit, he cites bottomed-out interest because there are no college scholarships for baseball players: "The game has also lost most of its appeal in America’s inner cities owed to fallout from NCAA scholarship regulations — baseball is a non-revenue college sport that provides few scholarships — as much as anything." Well, as we've noted here before, we are sure it would come as a surprise to a non-athlete like Shank to learn that DI and DII baseball offers a grand total of one less scholarship per team than does basketball, which, we hear, is thriving in urban areas. Moreover, JCs, where a tremendous number of baseball players end up, can offer nine more free rides than their basketball brethren.
Scholarship Stats puts the chances of a high school baseball player competing in college at 11.2%, nearly twice the likelihood a hoops player will make the grade.
So much for research.
Shank also compares baseball to well-worn (or worn out) symbols such as "The Ed Sullivan Show" and "Peanuts," relying as always on vapid cliches like "your father's Oldsmobile" (block that metaphor!).
He complains that the average age of a baseball viewer is nearly 55, but fails to note that the start time of games (8:07 pm Eastern) means that, for one-third of the country, an entire generation of potential new fans is going to bed as the first pitch is being thrown. You can't watch what you can't watch.
It's not baseball that is obsolete, it's over-the-hill mediocrities like Dan Shaughnessy.