FOR THE WEEK OF OCT. 23, 2006
World Series makes everyone a baseball fan
Newspaper sports sections aren’t just about specific games or events. Coverage also focuses on recreation, fans, equipment, medical issues, athlete profiles, business aspects and social topics such as drug use, gambling and gender equity. Ask students to read the headline of one recent sports section article that is not about who won or who’s playing.
In news coverage, journalists strive for what’s called objective or unbiased reporting that doesn’t reflect opinions of the writer or newspaper. Sports are handled differently. “Modown in Motown,” the main head said Sunday in the St. Louis Post Dispatch, which described the rival team as "paper Tigers" and "Motor City kitties." Challenge class members to spot examples of home-team preference in local coverage of college or pro sports.
Popular athletes aren’t the only prominent people in sports sections. Columnists also develop loyal followings , particularly those who cover sports – a subject that inspires passion, pride and as many opinions as there are readers. Invite students to identify a local sports columnist who they or their family enjoy reading – and perhaps have them read a paragraph showing the writer’s personality or views.
Even if you follow only your home team or don’t care much about Major League Baseball, the games in Detroit and Kansas City deserve attention this week. After all, the sport still is called the national pastime and the World Series has been an American tradition since 1903 -- as much a sign of fall as pumpkins and Halloween candy.
In addition to presenting this year’s strongest teams, the series of up to seven games between the Tigers and Cardinals also is a showcase for the host cities, for businesses tossing swanky parties, for advertisers, for broadcasting technology and – yes – for newspapers presenting expanded coverage or special sections.
The sold-out games and influx of fans bring a bonanza for team owners and host city hotels, restaurants, bars, vendors and others. Detroit could pull in a $73-million boost to the local economy from the playoffs and World Series, a business group says. Series fever also spreads to sports talk shows, blogs and online ticket-selling sites.
Why is matters: “Over the last century, the World Series has been woven into the fabric of America's culture, evolving far beyond a mere baseball tournament. It has become the game of all games and has continued to provide us with an endless highlight reel of magical moments evoking childhood memories of agony and ecstasy.” – Baseball Almanac
Event’s name: “World Series” originally was adopted to highlight the fact that pro baseball was played only in the United States. It has survived, although other countries also have professional leagues now – but don’t compete for this so-called world championship. Defenders note that just about all of the world’s best players from the Pacific Rim, Latin America and the Caribbean are in Major League Baseball.
Bonus boost: “The Tigers' phenomenal victories this year are a big win for the region, not only in terms of having a baseball team for the community to rally around but also in the amount of increased economic activity generated in the local economy." -- Richard E. Blouse Jr., Detroit business leader
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