Take me out (of work) to the ball game

Some call it 'baseball fever.' One out of 8 fans of professional baseball has taken a sick day from work to attend a game, according to a survey by Maritz Marketing Research, a St. Louis-based firm.

Of 1,400 randomly selected adults, Maritz says, 58 percent characterized themselves as followers of pro baseball.

The poll addressed a range of athletics-related questions, and confirmed an American affinity for pro sports. "Employers are probably lucky pro football games are only held on weekends and evenings," says Phil Wiseman, vice president of marketing at Maritz.

Professional football, in fact, was the favorite sport of 30 percent of those polled. Baseball came in second with 23 percent. Basketball (11.6 percent), golf (4.7), and ice hockey (4.3) followed.

The poll also tackled public perceptions of pro athletes. Among the findings: 83 percent called them overpaid, and 74 percent called tickets to pro games too expensive.

And though a majority of those surveyed said that athletes should act as role models, athletes fared poorly - with just 2.4 percent - in a ranking of "most respected" professions, trailed only by lawyers and politicians.

Tops on the respect list: teachers, at 57 percent.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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