If you've not seen the New York Times' demographic survey of baseball fandom that was published in their "The Upshot" section last week ("Up Close on Baseball's Borders"), you owe it to yourself to check it out. While there are some questions that the crack team of analysts hired by the Times to replace Nate Silver did not get around to asking (much less answering), what's there is both fun and food for further thought.
Now, of course, given where you are in cyberspace, and knowing the penchant for roughly polished impertinence that is practiced around here, you're waiting for the other shoe to drop. (It's OK to admit it.)
But in this case the title gives it all away. The one add-on (we were going to say "strap-on," but this is a family blog...) to the "Up Close" article was a chart that looked at the second most popular team in each U.S. Zip Code. Wavering between fair use, foul play and outright plagiarism, we present that chart below:
Note that the Yankees and Red Sox dominate this map.
Now what you see here, of course, are two things:
1--The lamentable lack of imagination amongst baseball fans, who somehow find it fashionable to root for the two most flamboyant representatives of what we like to call "East Coast Shoulder-Chippiness."
2--The (equally) lamentable tendency of those denizens to diasporize (if you'll permit another coy noun-to-verb coinage here in the basement offices of Language Distortion, LLC) across the otherwise innocent American countryside.
What these two things tell us, however, is that our ostensibly crackpot notion (first broached some weeks back to an audience still trying to determine if they are bilious or bibulous in response to it)--that the Yanks and the Sox have their seasonal series expanded from 18 to 32--is not, in fact, off-base.
It's what the folks all want--on the borderline of northern Arizona, along various Maginot lines seeping across a septic span of territory from Oklahoma to Mississippi, and even infecting the border between Utah and Idaho.
The data does not lie (well, sort of). It tells us, much as it's painful to countenance, that the Yanks and the Sox are now permanently injected into the sub-stratum of the American heartland. And since the great feeding tube that is the media is, was, and always will be implacably vying for every last centime of this dim but dynamic market share, it only makes sense to give these chimps what they want.
Namely, more games between these bombastic baseball behemoths.
The next Commissioner (whoever he, she or it may be) should simply tell the schedule-makers that it's time to pack the schedule with these television dates--er, games.
Of course, this is all leading us to the steepest of slippery slopes, a cataclysm in the making. Somehow, some way, we're going to wake up one day and find out that the rules will have been changed to make it possible for these two teams to face each other in the World Series.
Just remember, though, that the latent, subliminal message in the data above is: hey, why not?
After all, the ratings would be unbelievable!