There were a number of baseball fans across the country whose passion for baseball was ratcheted up a notch thanks to the 2010 Giants. Their interest had dwindled over the years for various reasons: bad trades, enormous contracts and overpaid, spoiled, steroid using players. While the 1998 home run chase reinvigorated the sport and drove revenues to new heights, the BALCO investigation and Mitchell Report were the hangover after the party. For a lot of people, the 2010 Giants brought the word team back into sports and was refreshing to many*, even to hardened fans of struggling franchises, like the Mariners. My fiancés father, Gregg, a self-proclaimed “hardened Mariners fan,” pointed this 11th reason out to me.
*I say “to many,” though not to as many as should have been possible. Jeff Passan at Yahoo! Sports just wrote an article laying out his reasons for being adamantly against an expanded playoff. I’m right there with him. It’s sad and extremely transparent, that Selig’s and Baseball’s primary motivation for expanding the playoffs is not to improve the game, but instead it’s for greed. As Jeff points out, expanded instant replay, which would provide an instantaneous improvement, is coming along as slow as a banana slug and is a perfect example of what’s overlooked when there are dollar signs in the eyes. He also suggests Selig could simply speak to ESPN and FOX and simply say, for the “long-term health [of the game], the networks need to focus less on the Yankees and Red Sox and more on growing the fan base among small and medium markets so a World Series like this year’s doesn’t find itself eminently skippable.” But the money is in the Yankees and Sox rivalry, as tired and watered down as that storyline has become in the past 8 years, and not in the rest of baseball. Until baseball becomes more interested in the sanctity and health of the game, and not just the loot that comes with it, fans will be missing out across the country, especially when a fun-to-watch team like the 2010 Giants comes along, and they simply haven’t heard much more than a peep about them for six solid months leading up to the Fall Classic.