Ask around for a World Series prediction, and many baseball fans forecast a November classic: Albert Pujols and his St. Louis Cardinals vs. Derek Jeter and the New York Yankees.
Until then, a good chunk of that crowd wants to see something else. Like “Monday Night Football.”
An Associated Press-Knowledge Networks poll released Friday found that two out of five baseball fans say they would rather watch a regular-season NFL game than a major league playoff matchup.
“That’s kind of a bitter pill to swallow for a ballplayer,” Seattle infielder Josh Wilson said. “The NFL is booming right now. I’m sure that question 15, or maybe even 10, years ago, an overwhelming majority would have rather watched baseball playoffs.”
While the poll didn’t delve into why a baseball fan might prefer the NFL – say Cardinals-Seahawks instead of Cardinals-Dodgers – it could be that baseball has expanded its playoffs too far. More than half the fans in the survey said they wanted a shorter postseason.
Or it could simply be the calendar. The NFL is just heating up, meaning more of its fans can still dream of the playoffs. But at this point in the baseball season, most teams are out of the running, as Toronto fan Adam Groome pointed out.
“If the Jays aren’t in the playoffs, I’d rather watch an NFL regular-season game,” he said. “It’s more exciting.”
Texas infielder Omar Vizquel suggested that if the poll were conducted in the middle of the grinding football season, the results might be different. “I really believe baseball is the No. 1 sport in America,” he said.
While NBA and NHL fans live for round after round in postseasons that go on for two months, 55 percent of baseball fans said they would prefer a longer regular season and a shorter postseason.
Baseball’s playoffs start Oct. 7, and Game 7 of the World Series would be played Nov. 5. This will be only the second time the World Series has been played in November – the first being 2001, when the 9/11 attacks caused a one-week delay.
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