Flyover World Series? Get over yourselves
I started hearing it this morning, but I guess I should have expected it. With news of the Indians being one win away from the World Series, apparently Fox executives are worried about a “flyover” World Series between Cleveland and Colorado. Boo freaking hoo.
I’ll concede that the potential viewing audiences for a Red Sox-Cubs or a Yankees-Dodgers series could be more numerous than an Indians-Rockies series, just by dint of sheer population. And I could argue that the viewers that matter – the real baseball fans – will watch a World Series no matter who’s playing. Even if it were Florida and Toronto. The only benefit to a coastal series is that all the hangers-on – the girlfriends who wear pink Red Sox caps – might tune in. But if the ads are directed to a hardcore baseball fan, then what good do you think they’ll do for an audience of hangers-on?
But the real problem here is the bigotry of geography. I’m a meat-and-potatoes Ohioan, regardless of where I live. Any time I hear the term “flyover state,” it incenses me more than these East Coasters can understand. I’m proud of where I grew up, and I take particular pride in the success stories to come out of the Midwest. Such as this year’s Indians team. Nevertheless, East Coasters – particularly New Yorkers – feel compelled to treat the vast majority of this country like a third-world hellhole.
Take, for example, Game 2 of the AL Divisional Series between the Yankees and the Indians. Late in the game, a swarm of midges emerged from the lake and descended on Jacobs Field. The midges do so every year at about this time and the lack of a breeze kept them from being blown out into the lake. It happens, just like earthquakes happen in Southern California, heat happens in Arizona and the stench of garbage and piss in the alleyways happens in New York. But commentators and fans alike decided to deride Cleveland, calling it a “Biblical plague.” Princess Derek Jeter was quoted as saying “Just when you think you’ve seen it all. I guess that’s home-field advantage for them – just let the bugs out.”
Or take The Simple Life, that reality TV show with Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie. Or take any reality TV show, really, standing up Midwestern rubes as straw folk for Hollywood types to throw rotten tomatoes at. Or take my boss, a born-and-bred Brooklynite who believes that nothing of worth exists west of the Hudson River.
You get my point.
To those people, I’d like to point out that this is not some sort of colonial arrangement, where the “flyover states” provide all the raw materials and the labor while you sit back and sip your coolatas in Manhattan studio apartments. Middle America is not some sort of cesspool lacking culture and sophistication. The people of Middle America, their ideas and their values don’t deserve automatic dismissal simply based on your regional bigotry. And this country doesn’t revolve around Fifth Avenue and Hollywood – as much as it may seem so at times.
Oh, and as for the World Series, it’s about the best two teams in Major League Baseball playing each other. Pure and simple. It’s definitely not about ratings, which don’t matter much to those of us in or from middle America. If it were about ratings, then rig the game. Bribe Cleveland to drop the next three games and arrange the precious Cubs-Red Sox matchup for next year. Heck, rigging the game worked to bring fans back into the seats after the big strike in 1994; witness the home run derbies between McGwire and Sosa.
Now nobody wants to see that again, do we?Written by Dan
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