America's favorite pastime was profoundly ignored on television screens across the nation during this year's World Series, as the Anaheim Angles and San Francisco Giants played some of the least watched games in baseball history. The season now officially over, many are wondering why it ended not with a bang, but a whimper.
Game three in the series, played on Wednesday, October 23, was overshadowed by the popularity of the fourth episode of the dating show, "The Bachelor." Many are predicting that when the numbers are crunched later this week, the 2002 World Series will rank as either the least- or second least-watched ever. The 2000 series between New York's Mets and Yankees currently holds the least popular record.
Some factors in poor fanfare may include regionalism (since both teams hail from the same state) and the fact that the games were broadcast at too late an hour for Central and East Coast viewers. There is also a sense that the sport is going through a general lull in popularity. "It occurs to me that baseball has lost some of its appeal because it is less personal," says Daniel Kirschenbaum, Ph.D., a sports psychologist from Northwestern University Medical School. "Players keep moving and there is less ability to identify with a team."