"Any way you measure it—viewers, players, spectators—baseball may very well be the most popular sport in the world."
—Advertisement placed by Major League Baseball in the New York Times, March 29, 2002.
"The Encyclopedia of World Sport says that more men and women play and watch soccer worldwide than any other sport."
—Douglas S. Looney, Christian Science Monitor, Nov. 19, 1999.
Discussion. Regrettably, Chatterbox doesn't have a copy of The Encyclopedia of World Sportto hand as he writes this, so he's taking a small risk here. But the folks at Major League Baseball have left themselves especially vulnerable by inviting challengers to measure popularity anyway they like. Chatterbox can report that when he entered the phrase "world's most popular sport" on Nexis and on Google, he came up with nothing but references to soccer and "football," which is of course what they call soccer outside the United States. Chatterbox is always delighted to learn that some notion firmly embedded in the conventional wisdom worldwide is erroneous, but he doesn't think that's going to happen this time out. Still, if any readers do have plausible data to support Major League Baseball's claim, they are invited to submit it to "The Fray."
(Thanks to reader Jonathan Portes.)
Got a whopper? Send it to email@example.com. To be considered, an entry must be an unambiguously false statement paired with an unambiguous refutation, and both must be derived from some appropriately reliable public source. Preference will be given to newspapers and other documents that Chatterbox can link to online.
Mar. 21, 2002: Billy Graham
Mar. 14, 2002: INS commissioner James W. Ziglar
Mar. 8, 2002: Robert Zoellick and the U.S. steel industry
Feb. 28, 2002: Al Sharpton
Feb. 22, 2002: Olympic skating judge Marie-Reine Le Gougne
Feb. 14, 2002: Kenneth Lay
Feb 8, 2002: Enron spokeswoman Peggy Mahoney
Jan. 31, 2002: Monsanto
Jan. 24, 2002: Linda Chavez
Jan. 17, 2002: George W. Bush
Jan. 10, 2002: Simon & Schuster
Jan. 4, 2002: The Associated Press
(Click here to access the Whopper Archive for 2001.)
TODAY IN SLATE
Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem
Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology.
I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.
Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.
Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough
So they added a little self-immolation.
Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War
The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola
The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.