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GAME SEVEN THRILLER SQUELCHES SOME TALK OF SLEEPER SERIES
Published October 27, 1997
While much of the weekend World Series media coverage cast a negative pall over the state of MLB, last evening's historic Game Seven could recoup some of the lost glory of this year's Fall Classic. In Washington, Thomas Boswell: "This little-loved, little-watched Series proved that, for those willing to watch all night and into the morning, even bad baseball can be a ton of fun" (WASHINGTON POST, 10/27). In Boston, Dan Shaughnessy writes Sunday's game "provided a Must-See finish worthy of any Fall Classic" (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/27). In N.Y., Harvey Araton writes that 21-year-old rookie starter Jaret Wright, Jim Leyland and Miriam Carreras -- who was granted a Visa from the Cuban government and watched the game at Pro Player Stadium -- "were the three most compelling pre-game subjects, and here you had yet another example of the sad state of baseball: not a single Nike pitch person among them" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/27). TV TIME: ABC's "Nightline" examined the state of MLB under the title "Whatever Happened To The World Series?" The discussion panel included David Halberstam, Washington Post columnist Michael Wilbon, Doris Kearns Goodwin, minor league owner Mike Veeck, Phil Rizzuto, Brandweek's Terry Lefton and ABC's George Will. Asked about his interest in this year's Series, Halberstam said, "Marginal. I was in Paris with Michael Jordan watching the Chicago Bulls when the World Series started, which tells you something about sports today and where my mind is." Brandweek's Lefton: "Baseball's in trouble. I don't see any excitement about the World Series, I don't see any excitement about the game among people under 35." ABC's Will: "The fan base is too old and too white. The American pastime has not held or expanded its appeal down to younger people, who are much more interested in the NBA and the NFL, and has not managed to the degree it should have, to African-American or other fans." Halberstam, on MLB's future: "If the people who ran it were smarter, and the players were taught a little bit more about how to deal with the media and with the fans, it would be okay. I don't think it could ever be what it was in my childhood" (ABC, 10/24). PARTING SHOT: On ESPN's "The Sports Reporters," John Feinstein: "Baseball's a wounded game and the TV ratings for the World Series reflect that. But before all the baseball- bashers run off to celebrate, a word of caution -- the [NFL] ... isn't exactly breaking ratings records in this season of mediocrity, and the only reason the ratings are as good as they are is force of habit. This may not have been the most riveting World Series in history ... but at least the World Series is exciting most of the time. When was the last time you were on the edge of your seat during the last five minutes of the Super Bowl? ... As for the NBA, remember this -- the day is going to come when Michael Jordan retires ... check the ratings then. The point is this: baseball's a mess, but its problems are eminently fixable. ... I'm not so certain the same can be said for our other professional sports" ("The Sports Reporters," ESPN, 10/26).