Of the Big Three, only baseball rewards the individual for discovery. It gives fans an opportunity to watch players go from nobodies to somebodies in a way that basketball & football, with their "bland national" over "quirky regional" attitudes would never dream of doing. There's something in the human psyche that craves spotting the needle in a haystack, convincing yourself that YOU knew where the money was, while others looked elsewhere.
Basketball & football seem to not want you to have this feeling. You used to get some semblance of this when you watched college basketball, watching players for four years, seeing them grow up from teen awkwardness to professional prospect. I mean , Jesus, Acie Earl got drafted & played in the league & I watched him for all that time & still can't explain why... That's all gone now. Last year's final was a perfect example of what's happened to the "Joy of Discovery" in college hoops & I didn't even watch the game. Hell, Lebron James was known to all before he was an upperclassmen in high school. Football is even worse & has never made an attempt to allow fans to witness a full-blooded, rags to riches, "I made myself better, so I could be a star" story. Both of these sports market players who haven't even played in the league yet against any kind of professional competition whatsoever. Your draft position, which is known to 90% of the team's fans since the event is arguably the second most important day of the sporting calender, guarantees you a large amount of money & prestige & if you want, play out the contract, invest well & start playing Punch-Out for the rest of your life.
Not like that in baseball.
How many fans do you think can even name one player that their favorite team selected last year? 5%? Sure, baseball doesn't televise the draft (which will change this year!), but that's not the real reason why people don't know draftees. Baseball is set up to make young players prove they can play against like-minded competition before they allow them to become stars. Isn't that wonderful? That's just what Darwin wanted to happen, weed out the weak & over-hyped & let the strong decide the future of franchises. There aren't really any 1st round catastrophes in baseball (although this one may be close..) because teams know that some "bad-faced" chubby 18 year old SS / 3B whom they took in the 13th round & gave a $60,000 signing bonus to, as a favor to one of their scouts, may turn out to be this guy. Could you imaging JaMarcus Russell signing for $60,ooo & absolutely no guarantee that he'll ever play a down of professional football? Do you think Greg Oden would live in Burlington, IA for a year, especially when there is a chance that he may have to stay there for awhile if he doesn't produce? Baseball doesn't reward false idols until they are 34 year old left-handed relievers, but at least those LOOGY's have proven at one point or another that they can do the job assigned to them.
I can go to Midland, MI, pay the $8.50, & watch this guy before he might turn into this guy.
I like this Tommy Hanson kid.
Here's why. Hanson didn't make Baseball America's top 10 Braves prospects this year & Sickels gave him a C+, but did tell folks to watch out for him. I'm watching...
Go down to Rome, GA & check him out while it's still cheap....