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I’m psyched … and in the minority.

February 17th, 2011

When you live in a town where the most recent NFL season ended shortly after it started, and the NBA team gives you next to nothing to celebrate – except for finally ending the longest losing streak in the history of the league – you have to look around for positives.

For me, that means the start of baseball season as pitchers and catchers reported to spring training this week.

Tim Kurkjian and the crew are back on “Baseball Tonight” and publications with fantasy baseball rankings are all over the newsstands.

I’m giddy at the thought, but I’m afraid that not too many people share in my excitement.

We can call baseball America’s pastime, but let’s face it: it’s not anymore. Football is far and away the most popular sport in this country.

According to FoxSports.com, last month’s NFL Pro Bowl exhibition reeled in 13.4 million viewers. The World Series, which was also on Fox, attracted an average of just 14.3 million viewers over five games.

Just last week, officials at the University of California-Berkeley upheld a decision to cut baseball, making it the only Division I school in the state not to field a team.

I’ll concede that there’s a lot wrong with baseball.

My beloved Cleveland Indians have next to no shot (a 100:1 shot, according to BoDog Online Sportsbook) to win the World Series. Other teams in small markets can’t realistically compete either because of the salary structure.

It should be noted that the two teams that met in the 2010 World Series, the San Francisco Giants and the Texas Rangers, opened last season as huge underdogs to win it all. A $100 wager on either team would have profited you $3,000.

There are questions about the integrity of the game and performance-enhancing drugs, but many of those questions seem to have gone away since Major League Baseball introduced stricter penalties back in 2006.

Some find baseball to be boring, dating back to their playing days as a kid when they had to watch pitchers that couldn’t throw strikes walk people around the bases.

I don’t often sit down to watch a random baseball game, but I would watch grade school football if it was on television. Football translates better to TV. I get it.

There’s something special about baseball – something that’s hard to put into words. Maybe I’ve watched “Field of Dreams” too many times, but I can’t wait. Play ball!

Contact Tim Ertle at

tertle11@jcu.edu