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October 30, 2008
by Ryan Hudson
It took a rain-soaked Game 5 of the World Series and an embarrassing two-day delay, but it appears there is finally a movement to save the game of baseball.
Many national voices are calling for the World Series to be held at a neutral site (Bill Plaschke, Dave Krieger of the Rocky Mountain News, ESPN's Peter Gammons and AOL's Kevin Blackistone), but as Jeff Pyatt points out today, that's not the answer. Instead, baseball needs to focus on its feature that separates it from the other sports: baseball is more than just a game; it's a total experience.
Call it the Ferris Bueller Theory of Fan Development. The best way to produce passionate fans is by creating environment for passionate memories. And the best way for baseball owners to create such an environment is offering more weekday day games. After all, where did Ferris go for his most memorable day off? A weekday day game at Wrigley Field.
More weekday day games, both in the playoffs and regular season, cater to potential passionate fans -- especially kids. To these fans, the weekday day game is the ultimate excuse to get away. It's an afternoon vacation. It's a free pass out of 5th period. It's nice because it's baseball. But it's awesome because you "should" be doing something else. And, most importantly, it is an experience only baseball can offer: skip work; skip school; come to the park; buy a hot dog; enjoy the sun; enjoy the game.
The NFL, NBA and NHL can't compete with that.
While I'm sure many parents and employers will cringe while reading Pyatt's argument, he's right. There are few things more enjoyable than sitting in the sun-soaked stands watching a baseball game.