SBD/27/Leagues Governing Bodies

GAME SEVEN THRILLER SQUELCHES SOME TALK OF SLEEPER SERIES

          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).

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