The local sports content industry withstood an earthquake of sorts earlier this year when Boston sports personality Jared Carrabis jumped ship from Barstool Sports to hometown DraftKings.
Carrabis had been a blogger and podcast host at Barstool since 2014. At DraftKings, he hosts the “Baseball is Dead” podcast (more on that name later) and “The Jared Carrabis Podcast.” He also is involved with DraftKings content on its YouTube channel, including a “Baseball is Dead” livestream.
DraftKings also uses Carrabis in its promotions on its sportsbook. Not in Massachusetts, of course, because lawmakers still are trying to pass a legal sports betting bill in the commonwealth.
Carrabis recently took some time to answer a series of questions from PlayMA and disclosed how he would fix the biggest issue facing baseball.
On the Red Sox …
PlayMA: How do you feel about the Red Sox as we approach the halfway point of the season?
Carrabis: It’s been a roller coaster of a season to this point. The Red Sox started off real slow, rebounded incredibly to get above .500 and now they’re in the middle of a really tough stretch of their schedule leading up to the All-Star break. I think they’re capable of doing some damage in the postseason, but they’ve really gotta add some bullpen arms before the trade deadline. That’s been their Achilles heel all season.
About that podcast name …
PlayMA: When you made the jump from Barstool to DraftKings, the podcast you host with former MLB pitcher Dallas Braden was rebranded as “Baseball is Dead.” What’s the story behind that name?
Carrabis: Dallas and I pride ourselves on enhancing the fans’ experience and growing the game of baseball, especially for the newer generation of fans. The podcast name is more or less the equivalent of when fans chant “overrated” at Bryce Harper before he hits a homer into the third deck. You can say “baseball is dead” all you want, but the numbers would say otherwise.
Fixing baseball …
PlayMA: What is the biggest issue facing baseball and how would you fix that issue?
Carrabis: It’s all about reaching a younger audience right now. Baseball viewership is still strong and comparable with the NBA, but there’s still a big chunk of fans who are on the older side. I think the league and its network have made efforts in the last couple of years to address this, but it’s still a work in progress. You’re no longer competing with other sports to get attention on your sport now. You’re competing with Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, etc. That’s why I think baseball at least has the right idea with getting the game on some of those platforms, but it hasn’t quite perfected it yet. The effort is certainly there, though.
On sports betting …
PlayMA: As a Boston guy and a sports bettor, how frustrated are you with the fact that you still can’t place a legal sports wager in Massachusetts?
Carrabis: It’s more so frustrating for me because a big percentage of my audience is Boston based and I’d love for them to be able to bet along with me. That’s gonna be fun when we’re finally able to put out Same Game Parlays for the Red Sox all the time. It’s not as frustrating for me personally, because I still tweet out my bet slips and I’d argue that wagering your credibility has higher stakes than wagering a responsible unit.
PlayMA: Everyone knows about your passion for the Red Sox and baseball. Is baseball your favorite sport to bet on?
Carrabis: Baseball is by far my favorite sport to bet on, but it’s also the most unpredictable. That’s the fun in it for me, though. If the best team in the NFL loses to the worst team, that’s a headline story for a whole week. The worst team in baseball could beat the best team in baseball on any given night, and there’s no way to ever really see that coming. Even when you think you have all the data in front of you, you can’t predict baseball. That’s what makes it so fun.
PlayMA: What kind of impact can sports betting have on baseball?
Carrabis: I’ll use NFL as the comparison again. I feel like most NFL fans can sit down and watch two random teams play on Sunday and be entertained. With baseball, it’s a regional sport. Most fans are following their favorite team and loosely following the teams in their own division or the teams that are competing with them for a Wild Card spot. When you add the element of betting, it gives you a reason to tune into a game where there are no playoff implications for your favorite team. There are so many young stars in today’s game, and a lot of them don’t get the love they deserve because of the markets they play in. I think sports betting can really change that interest level a decent amount.