Is baseball losing its pitch?

Trend KillersI read an article the other day by Greg Couch on SportingNews.com that
examined baseballís poor attendance this season.

Hereís just a blurb from the article to help paint a picture of whatís going on
around the league.

ďInstead, USA Today reports that six teams have already had the worst single-
game attendance in their stadiumsí history. It was 13,000 in Atlanta, 12,000
in Seattle, fewer than 9,000 in Pittsburgh. The Yankees and Cubs have had
uncharacteristically huge expanses of empty seats. And in Cleveland, where
the team has been surprisingly hot and hopeful, six games have already
drawn fewer than 10,000 fans.Ē

I recently tuned into the Twins vs. Rays game on FSN, and I could almost
count the number of fans in attendance. In case you forgot, the Rays won a
division title in baseballís toughest division last year, the AL East. Of course
the Rays have completely dethrottled its roster this season, but itís shocking
to see a stadium so bare and see fans so disinterested in a team coming off a
playoff run.

The article attributes chilly weather as one factor that could play a part in low
attendance. I think there is much more to it.

First and foremost itís hard to get interested in baseball in the spring because
there are still a zillion more games to be played, but baseball really hasnít
given its fans anything to get hyped up about in 2011.

Thereís no players Iím dying to watch on Sunday Night baseball. There are
certain teams Iíd like to see, but thereís no LeBron James type figures in
baseball packing the seats.

If you look at the way baseball stands today compared to the 90ís, what
happened to the leagueís star power? Where are the Ken Griffeyís, Frank
Thomasí, Randy Johnsonís and Cal Ripkenís?

These players were icons. If you played sports growing up, itís likely you had
their baseball cards, their gloves and in the case of Griffey and Thomas, you
had their video game.

Looking back, I knew more players as a 10-year-old than I do now as a 22-
year-old sports journalist.

Compared to its two biggest rivals, the NFL and the NBA, baseball simply lacks
the same type of star power.

If you were to ask the average American on the street to name a famous
baseball player, my guess is that most would name the likes of Alex
Rodriguez or Derek Jeter. Both of these players happen to be on the Yankees,
and unless you're a Yankees fan, you probably want to punch a wall every
time they're mentioned.

If you donít agree with me thus far, then take a look at the ESPN Power
Rankings. Ranked in the Top 4 this week are the Cleveland Indians and
Colorado Rockies. Can you name a player on either team?

Do Larry Walker or Todd Helton still play for the Rockies? Does Jim Thome still
play on the Indians?

Hereís another test, can you name a player on the defending champion San
Francisco Giants? Wait, the Giants won the postseason last year? If you pay
some attention, you could probably name star pitcher Tim Linceum, but then
the rest of the team becomes a head scratcher.

Now if I ask you to name someone on the Green Bay Packers or Los Angeles
Lakers...Iíll just stop there. Thatís easy.

Iím not suggesting that baseball is in a time of despair, but itís no shocker
that baseball has had low attendance numbers.

Prior to this season, no storylines really captured my attention. I guess there
was all the talk about if the Yankees and Red Sox would bounce back and
compete for another World Series. But we hear that conversation every year.

The only news I remember watching on ESPN during Spring Training was a
contract dispute between the Cardinals and Albert Pujols, who is arguably the
best player in the league. Not good.

For the time being until the league beefs up its marketing campaign, itís safe
to say interest in baseball will continue to wander. Sure you can build a
beautiful park, but at the end of the day fans come to see the stars.

To read Couch's full article, click here

http://aol.sportingnews.com/mlb/story/2011-04-15/declining-attendance-
could-signal-deeper-problems-for-baseball

Blackberry's Downfall

Alec Schimke

Remember when owning a Blackberry used to be cool? I certainly do.

Nowadays however, I get more laughs pulling out my Blackberry than "I wish I
had that phone!"

And other than one of my friends who's using a Blackberry because he lost his
iPhone, I can't remember the last time I've seen someone with my phone.

I purchased my beloved Blackberry Pearl two years ago and at the time, I
became the first person in my friend group to have Internet access on my
phone. And once you get Internet on your phone, there's no turning back.

Most of my friends who carried flip phones back then, now have upgraded to
the iPhone, Android, Evo or Galaxy. So now when I'm around my friends, I
have to listen on and on about some sweet app they just downloaded. And to
be honest, it's starting to take a toll on me. It's never fun to be left out
of the group, but I've kept my distance from these new phones for good
reasons.

I find my Pearl to have the perfect balance of functionality. I get just enough
features to keep me sane. These other phones on the other hand, keep my
friends glued to the screen all day long. I'd like to have a lifeĖno offense guys.

The other day I had to ask myself, what happened to the Blackberry? Wasn't
this the phone everyone wanted?

Even with its latest phones, the Blackberry has lost its popularity in the
market. Neither the Blackberry Curve or Touch ranks among the top 10 cell
phones for consumers in recent rankings done by Yahoo! PCWorld, or
cnet.com.

To put it nicely, the Blackberry has lost its cool factor.

Even though I still consider my phone to be a smart phone, it's far from the
standard.

Sure I get Internet access, but at one fourth the speed. I don't have a
touchscreen (by the way, I love my keyboard) and I don't have the ability to
interact with face-to-face messaging. I could list 100 other things I can't do
with my phone, but that list would get too depressing.

While I still stand content with my Pearl today, I don't know how much longer
I can take being left out of the group.

I was recently informed via text that my two-year contract had expired. That
opens the door to hundreds of discounts on new phones if I sign another
two-year contract.

I'll be honest, the thought of owning an iPhone has already consumed a vast
amount of my time.

But for the time being, I plan on sticking it out a while longer. That could
change however if my roller on my Pearl continues to mishap (I've already had
to spend an additional $100 on new rollers because they simply stop rolling).

I hear iPhone's don't have rollers...hmmmmm.

Ultimate End

Alec Schimke

Looking for a new TV? Now might be the perfect time to buy.

Ultimate Electronics, a home electronics retailer based out of Colorado, will
close all 46 of its stores by April 15, including six stores in the Twin Cities.

According to the company website, savings storewide range from 30 to 60
percent in part of its liquidation sale.

Ultimate Electronics filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy at the end of January and
claimed its debt is somewhere between $100 million and $500 million. Its
largest amount owed is $64.8 million to General Electric Capital Corp.
Ultimate Electronics has had the last few months to sell as much merchandise
as possible before it will be forced close its doors in two weeks.

According to reports, poor sales and stiff completion played major roles in
closing of Ultimate Electronicsô stores.

Former rival chain, Circuit City closed its doors in 2009 with a similar
liquidation sale after it filed for bankruptcy.

What Does This Mean? Best Buy rules again. When Circuit City closed its doors
a few years back, it sent a swift message to other retailers of what could
come. Even in a down economy, Best Buy has continued to dominate its
competition and its brand loyalty among consumers remains untouched.

To learn more about Ultimate Electronics liquidation sale, visit their
homepage. http://www.ultimateelectronics.com/

Trend Links

Alec Schimke

To better understand what trends are dying in society, it's first important to
understand what things are gaining popularity and replacing old ideas. Here
are a few websites worth visiting that will keep you up to date on what is
trending.

1. Trend Hunter < http://www.trendhunter.com>

Trend Hunter does exactly what its title entails. New trends in just about every
aspect of life are covered and the best part about its content is that it's all
user driven. This is by far the best website out there to stay up to date on
what is trending in everyday life.

2. Springwise < http://www.springwise.com>

Springwise is a great resource for all of you business minds out there as it
takes a look at what is upcoming in the business world. With over 8,000
spotters across the globe searching for new business ideas, this blog ranks as
a top resource for entrepreneurs.

3. Emerging Tech < http://www.zdnet.com/blog/emergingtech>

Emerging Tech takes a close look at trends specifically in technology, and
how these new developments in return will affect our everyday lives. Written
by tech expert Chris Jablonski, Emerging Tech serves as a great resource to
better understand how new technology will better serve our needs in the
future.

4. Twitter < http://twitter.com>

You might be wondering why Twitter is on this list, but Twitter is actually one
of the best websites that tracks trends in communication. On the front page
of Twitter, popular keywords used amongst its users are listed to showcase
the most talked about topics at the time.

5. Google Trends < http://www.google.com/trends>

Google Trends is similar to Twitter in that it serves as a great website too see
what is trending across the Internet. Google Trends ranks the most popular
topics and searches on
Google.

Trend Killers

Alec Schimke

Welcome to Trend Killers, a blog devoted to covering the death of trends in
business, technology and communication.

Whether you pay close attention to trends or not, it's likely you are a "Trend
Killer"Ě in some form or another. We are all guilty of ditching an old
methodology for the "new" and "hip"Ě way of doing something.

Take for example the movie rental business. You may not have put much
thought into it, but it's likely you have played a part in the emergence of
streaming video companies like Netflix and with the decline of stores such as
Blockbuster.

I recently drove past my local Blockbuster and instead of seeing signs for
upcoming movies; signs read "EVERYTHING MUST GO."Ě

There was a time in my life when a weekly trip to Blockbuster was routine.
During some visits, I would spend close to an hour pacing the aisles trying to
find that right movie. Trips to Blockbuster were an experience and something
that I looked forward to. About three years ago however, I switched to Netflix
without even second guessing myself after realizing how much more
convenient it was.

Blockbuster now stands bankrupt and is closing hundreds of its stores across
the country.

I helped kill Blockbuster, and there's a good chance you did too.

Trends are changing faster than ever today and have taken many new forms
with the development of digital technology.

In the past, trending topics in one's social networks were primarily
communicated through word of mouth.

Nowadays, it's a whole new ballgame. Facebook is sorting the most popular
topics amongst your friends on your news feed, and Twitter on the other
hand, is tracking what keywords are "trending"Ě amongst its users.

Now more than ever, trends have become an everyday part of our lives. This
blog will serve a resource to better understand why certain trends are dying
in business, technology and communication.

With that said, lets start trending!

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Copyright © 2011 Flatline Magazine. All rights reserved. | last edited 08/19/2017