Over the last couple of decades, minor league baseball games have shown substantial attendance figures, with more than forty-one million spectators in both 2010 and 2011. With all the high-tech, live-streaming, fast-paced entertainment available to consumers, what is it about minor league baseball that still holds appeal with today's audiences? With access to major league games broadcast on countless cable networks, what draws fans to small stadiums to watch obscure players struggle to make the big time? Sports historian David M. Sutera set out to answer these questions by visiting fourteen minor league baseball parks around the country.In Vaudeville on the Diamond, Sutera discusses the lure of minor league baseball with fans, players, and team representatives, examining how teams have survived and thrived in today's competitive entertainment world. Combining interviews with game-day observations, Sutera argues that minor league baseball's key to survival lies in the creation of on- and off-field attractions that invoke the traditions of vaudeville with their unique and quirky spectacle. From inviting fans to participate in dizzy bat competitions and races against the mascot to featuring Star Wars theme nights and monkeys riding border collies, teams have created a multifaceted form of entertainment that transcends the game itself. Part study and part travelogue, Vaudeville on the Diamond features numerous photographs of on-field entertainment, showcasing the vaudevillian side of minor league baseball. A light-hearted and engaging look at the minor leagues, this book will appeal not only to scholars and students of popular culture, sports and leisure studies, and sports management but to all fans of baseball and minor league sports.
Vaudeville on the Diamond
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Minor League Baseball in Today's Entertainment World