Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

So, It Looks as If Baseball May Have a Future after All

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

So, It Looks as If Baseball May Have a Future after All

Article excerpt

Is baseball back? That's the national sports question following a World Series that had more drama than a Cecil B. DeMille movie and as much strategy as a chess match.

Almost every time baseball fans turned around there was another edge-of-the-seat moment, including the sixth and final game on Saturday night when the New York Yankees defeated the Atlanta Braves 3-2. The Yankees hadn't won a World Series since 1978.

The final three games were so close that the Yankees' victories were in doubt until the final out. With the win, the gritty Bronx scramblers defeated Atlanta by 4 games to 2. It was the first time in baseball history that a team has won four consecutive games in the fall classic after losing the first two games at home. "The last couple of days really encapsulized what sports are all about and why people like them, because you had something that was totally unexpected," says Steve Hirdt, executive vice president of the Elias Sports Bureau, the official statistician for the major leagues. This year's series came at a time when baseball is still recovering from the strike of 1994 and the shortened 1995 season. Attendance has not returned to the pre-strike levels. And the television audience on the Fox network was smaller than during past World Series. The strikes and other baseball problems, including its current lack of a collective-bargaining agreement has turned off many potential viewers. "I don't know if the antidote to a strike is a great World Series, but I know it can't hurt," Hirdt says. Branch Rickey Jr., president of the American Association, agrees. "What this series shows is that the game itself resists all the short-term damage. Great games are still great games - the chemistry, the drama, the tightening of the stomach." That's exactly what happened in the final four games. In Game 3, the Yankees stayed alive by defeating Atlanta 5-2. …

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