The Sports Ramble is the weekly sports blog of Erik Ritland. The St. Paul, Minnesota journalist and musician is the founder of Rambling On. Learn more about us on Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, or our website.
Hello boys and girls and welcome to the inaugural edition of the new Sports Ramble series! I’ve done these in the past but now it’ll be the main focus of my weekly sports coverage.
This week: the NFL sets a record and a double Twins milestone.
Fantasy and reality
The NFL is more popular than ever and the ratings prove it. A record setting audience watched games kickoff weekend, the average viewership per game coming in at around 20 million. For perspective, that's the same as last year's World Series and NBA Finals.
The folks at NFL headquarters should thank whoever invented Fantasy Football. Although crazy fandom is at an all-time high, almost every person I know is invested in football because of their fantasy teams. Additionally, football is more "wham bam rock 'em sock 'em BOOM in your face" than any other sport, so it's the only one that can keep most people's attention.
Sure, football is riding high, but anything popular eventually falls. The NFL is at its peak but people will get as bored with it as I am eventually. I also still hold out hope that Americans will come around to appreciating the relaxed pace and subtlety of baseball again but I'm not holding my breath.
St. Paul, represent
On this date, in 1993 and 1996 respectively, Minnesota Twins and future Hall of Famers Dave Winfield and Paul Molitor got their 3,000 hit. That they both did it on the same date, and for their hometown team, is sort of extraordinary. Although the former was in his twilight (my dad called him "Wiffield" because he couldn't lay off outside sliders) Molitor had a solid season in '96, collecting over 200 hits and batting over .300.
Erik Ritland is a writer and musician from St. Paul, Minnesota. His blog and podcast Rambling On features commentary on music, sports, culture, and more. He was also Lead Staff Writer for Minnesota culture blog Curious North. Support Erik's music via his Patreon account, reach him via email, or find him on Facebook and Twitter