The Packers Rule? It's That The Packers Rule
The Brewers are in the throes of a pennant race. Really. They are. Honest.
You couldn't tell by the t-v ratings.
The Journal/Sentinel's Bob Wolfley got his hands on the weekend ratings and they shouldn't be a surprise to anyone who's lived around here for more than a football season or two: the Packers' preseason win over Seattle clobbered the Brewers who were fighting for their divisional lives Saturday night: "Green Bay's 48-3 victory over the Seattle Seahawks Saturday night on WTMJ-TV (Channel 4) had a rating of 18.4, or 162,472 households," Wolfley writes. "That's more than twice the audience for the highest-rated of the three Milwaukee Brewers games aired this weekend. The Brewers' game Sunday afternoon against the Cincinnati Reds had a 9.1 rating, or 80,353 viewers. The Reds-Brewers game Saturday afternoon had a 6.3 rating, or 55,629 households, and the game Friday night with the same two teams had a 5.7, or 50,331 households."
The operative word in the above paragraph is "preseason".
I could ALMOST understand the Packers allure in years gone by when the Brewers were out of playoff consideration by Memorial Day. We all were looking for something to take our minds off the daily drumbeat of baseball defeat, and would probably even give WNBA preseason hoop a try. Wolfley's very own paper did it's best to stoke the pigskin fires, regularly relegating the Brewers to page two once the Packers reported to St. Norbert each summer.
Things changed in the last couple of months, with the Brewers getting off to a colossal start and staying within shouting distance of the penthouse even as we speak.
Yes, it may be a different Brewers club, but we're the same old fans. A meaningless football game not only outperforms a regular season baseball game--it dwarfs it in the ratings.
Is it just us, or is it that way everywhere? Is it because the baseball season runs 162 games, while we only get 20 Packers occasions each year? Is it that the drama that comes with two men fighting it out to be the third-string long-snapper is far more compelling that seeing if the Brewers can overtake the Cubs for a night and get back into first in the National League Central? Or, is football simply more telegenic?
It might be all of the above. Then again, I've heard from more than one sports radio host who says that the only sure-fire way to fire up the phones is to invoke the word "Packers"--no matter what the time of year.
Granted, it's the height of the summer rerun season, but is there any doubt that tonight's Packers/Jaguars preseason scrum will pound the network prime-time competition into the ground?
And, is it just a coincidence that the Brewers have tonight off?