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The World Series Is Being Drowned Out in Sports Media But Why?

Screencap of ESPN.com, 11:55 AM, October 27, 2019

Do us a favor - next time you head to ESPN.com this week, take a look at what's on the front page.

As I'm looking at it right now, the page is dominated by news of the NFL - typical, given that it's a Sunday. There's also heavy coverage of the NBA in the "Top Headlines" section. After all, those are the two most popular leagues in America at the moment, and the NBA season just started this week.

Notice something missing? There's something else going on in sports, yet it's conspicuously absent from the top of this page.

Oh, yeah...the World Series. The biggest championship event taking place in the sports calendar right now, and ESPN relegated it on the top of the page and one teeny-tiny link on the left. One has to scroll down quite a way to get to a feature on the Houston Astros' 8-1 win last night in Washington.

Those media-savvy folk might have an answer as to why baseball's championship event gets shunted in favor of non-stop NFL and NBA coverage - the World Series isn't on a Disney network, therefore it doesn't deserve mention in the eyes of the Worldwide Leader. It sounds plausible, especially given ESPN's seemingly willful shunning of the national pastime, as evidenced by their recent cancellation of Baseball Tonight in favor of more "talking head" football and basketball-centered shows.

Correction: Baseball Tonight has been diminished over the years, but is far from canceled. They run a lot of postseason and World Series content on ESPN2, have weekly shows before Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN, and do shows for the Winter Meetings. Karl Ravech also hosts SportsCenter on-site from the World Series.

Not necessarily. Take a look at the homepage of Bleacher Report.

Screencap of bleacherreport.com, 12:12 pm, October 27, 2019
Screencap of bleacherreport.com, 12:14 pm, October 27, 2019

In this case it's even worse. The World Series was the very, very last thing mentioned, after acres of college football, NBA, and NFL snippets, as well as ads for the site's cartoon skits. This is especially baffling, considering that WarnerMedia has a hand in only one of those three sports, that being the NBA.

This is symptomatic of a larger problem for Major League Baseball that there is just no easy fix for. For whatever reason, the media - and yes, that includes this site, and by extension, yours truly - are just more attracted to covering the NFL, NBA, and college football - the big, safe revenue sports in America. But for a baseball fan, even one without a particular rooting interest in the series, this has to be beyond frustrating.

It's not as if Major League Baseball doesn't have the personalities to attract new audiences. In fact, much to the league's credit, its recent ad campaigns have gone out of their way to highlight this - defying the efforts of managers, some players, and yes, some fans who would rather not see the game "disrespected".

It's not as if this World Series is a dud for media interest, either. It features two teams from major media markets - the fourth-largest city in America and the nation's capital, respectively. It features many storylines to milk for drama, including a juggernaut that had won the Series just two years earlier facing a team that had never won much of anything out to win their first. It features two teams with dominant pitching staffs and clutch batting. And it hasn't disappointed - the series is now tied at two, with every expectation that it will go the distance.

Of course, even if it ends on a game seven walk-off homer, expect it to be drowned out on SportsCenter by something Dak Prescott said about Jerry Jones. Because that's how it works now.