IS MLB FAILING TO CASH IN ON PERCEIVED BOON SEASON?
So far this season, "it's hard to see how" the chase
for MLB's single-season HR record "has given baseball a big
bang," according to USA TODAY's Michael Hiestand in a Sports
cover story. While MLB attendance is up 10% overall, it is
up "only" 1% excluding the two expansion clubs. Hiestand
adds that attendance "might not be up at all" without the
Beanie Baby giveaways. In addition, MLB's national ratings
are "virtually unchanged" from '97. But Logo Athletic VP
Eddie White says that Logo's MLB sales are up 12% and adds,
"This may be the first year since the 1994 strike that we
see an increase in (baseball sales)." In Logo clothing
identified with specific players, Ken Griffey Jr. "accounts
for half of all sales," with Mark McGwire second at 21% and
Sammy Sosa in a single-digit eighth place. Pro Player says
that Griffey has been that company's top-seller for three
years. This season, Griffey products have produced retail
sales of "about" $500,000, with McGwire second at $400,000.
But Griffey products last year generated sales of $750,000
(USA TODAY, 8/19). In Chicago, Bernie Lincicome writes that
MLB "is blessed" to have the HR record chase. Lincicome:
"In a baseball season without compelling pennant races, or
any pennant races at all to speak of, there is a daily
reason to check in on the game" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 8/19).