Baseball did not lose it's popularity with football beacuse it went to 4 divisions in 1969.
It lost it and continued to lose it due to the sport not translating as well on TV....football just became more popular and fun to watch, and it's only once a week. Rozelle did a better job of marketing the game compared to Eckett and then Kuhn. And anyone who remember watching football in the 70's with the zone defense and teams running 70% of the time will tell you it was not even that exciting.
Baseball however messed itself up in the 60's with the increased strike zone to avoid any Maris like implosions with expansion here. The game got lower scoring....with minimal speed (Besides Dodgers and the Cardinals)
It became popular again with scoring, speed picking up and then the 1975 WS. It just kept shooting itself in the foot however in 1981 and the battles between the MLBPA and the owners. Fans do not seem to care that football players strike (1982) or owners get replacement players (1987)
and the NBA also got out of it's cocaine induced fog in the early 80's and Magic and Bird and then Jordan happened.
I remember watching NBA 1980-81-82 finals on Tape Delay.
The WS does still mean something, even with IL play....and it means a lot to win it.
The cardinals get lucky but still find ways to come through.....and I have been harping all year on how they are able to pluck hitters out of the minors like the Reds used to in the 70's. Well now that depth is helping them, along the usual Denny Doyle/David Eckstien type of player just showing up and hitting out of nowhere.
The Reds blew a 2-0 lead with 3 at home. They have no one to blame but themselves. So do the Nationals and basically Gonzales was terrible for them. Turned almost Rick Ankiel with his control problems.