WBC Key Second Round Moments
- Updated: March 24, 2009
According to the IBAF, a poll was recently posted on espndeportes.com which asked if baseball should return to the Olympics. Just 24 hours into the voting, over 7,000 voters from 30 countries have logged on and the results are resounding as 95% have voted yes.
Many reports have noted that WBC officials have been pleased with the progress that has been made with Dodgers Stadium. Those same officials claim to anticipate a full stadium as ticket prices are on the rise. Many thought that the tickets would have trouble being sold due to the fact that fans had a small window of knowing whether or not their team had actually made it to the game. Those at Dodger Stadium claimed at the time of this writing that tickets were already over half sold for the 56,000 seat stadium.
Through the quarter-finals, the Classic has averaged 18,422 fans per game which is up 12.1 % from the same time in 2006. During the second round, Petco Park averaged 15,390 fans per game and Dolphin Stadium brought 19,066 people through the gates for each contest.
According to the IBAF, Forbes.com’s Tom VanRiper has noticed a growth in grassroots play due to the down economy. Many little leagues across the nation are seeing more people sign up for them than in past years and VanRiper credits the down economy for this phenomenon. According to the statistics, Tee Ball leagues have seen almost a 15 percent increase in sign-ups.
There has also been an increase of older people playing the game as well as leagues like the Connie Mack League have reported an 8 % increase in 2009 after having a decrease in every year since 1997.
Following this trend is ESPN who is dedicating more coverage to the Little League World Series this year than they ever had in the past.
Even though both television ratings and ticket sales are up, many have noted that American baseball fans do not seem to have the same enthusiasm when rooting for their team as the other nations do when their country hits the diamond. Some are claiming that the U.S.’s win over Puerto Rico was just what the Classic needed as the players illustrated by their on-field performance that winning at this tournament really means something to them.
People are still citing the fact that many of the USA’s best players decided to sit out the Classic because of nagging injuries while those from other countries are attempting to play through serious ones. These claims further show that the this tournament does mean more to those from other countries because the U.S. born players who are on the roster already play in their home country for a team in their home country, so they do not have the same incentive to want to compete as those who do not get to represent their region of the world on a daily basis.
Even though the U.S. team has made it much further than they did in 2006, there still seems to be some indifference towards the tournament, but as the Classic grows, one has to assume, the ratings will just continue to increase.
Bill Jordan is a contributor to BaseballReflections.com. He can be reached by e-mail at BillJordaniv@yahoo.com.