They say that baseball is dying, that the sport doesn’t have the same passion and feel to it as the other sports. That’s the truth, but not the whole truth. We can’t refute the cold hard facts that the sport is drawing less interest as other sports, seeing the TV ratings compared to football and basketball.
Baseball is not like any other sport out there. Most of the main sports; football, hockey, basketball, soccer and even lacrosse are goal based sports. Goal-based meaning the object of the game is to score on a basket or past a goalie. Baseball is not like that. There is a uniqueness about it, and a challenge to it. Within the other sports you can say that the same attributes can be carried over to the others. For example; a center in football can be a center in basketball, a midfielder in soccer will have great ease being a forward in hockey (assuming the athlete is capable of dual sports) and so on and so forth. You can pick up what I’m getting at.
Baseball is much different, because there is no “attackers” or “defenders.” It’s the batter against the pitcher and the fielders against the ball put in play. It is a frustrating game. A game so frustrating that as a kid or adult we can lose our tempers at it. Perhaps its the competitiveness but more often than not it’s because ‘I shouldn’t strike out’ makes more sense.
There’s the ball, now hit it.
I can’t remember a time in my life where I didn’t have my own baseball glove. I was three, or so I’ve been told that I was three when I started down the baseball life; and since then it has always been a part of me. Baseball is like a mafia or a nickname, once you’re in, you’re in for life. From the time you are just learning to play; your dad chasing the ball wherever you end up throwing it, until the neighborhood kids break your window with the ball as you reminisce on the glory days; baseball is in your blood.
Some kids lose the interest for the game others grow up to play. The lucky one’s who play on the big stage are the heroes to many. None more than to the kids who aspire and want to become their idols. Kids like me, who idolized Nomar Garciaparra and could play ball all day regardless of season.
Not everyone is like me however, some don’t understand the game, some get bored by it and others can’t stay up late to watch the games. The sport is dying but only for the unfortunate people who don’t know what it beholds.
The average age of the avid baseball fan is, let’s face it, old guys. Key word average. Let’s say 57 for good measure; they saw the glory days of baseball; they watched it explode. Some were lucky enough to watch it grow from post WWII until now. They saw local teams soon give way to the big city teams and then saw the big city teams create magic on the diamond.
Why are they such big fans? Why isn’t this generation finding the greatness of the game?
I point straight at the time of games. Back in the beginning there weren’t high-powered lights and electricity wasn’t available as is now. Back then the games went two and a half hours, not four. Back then the ads were on the fences not in between and longer than the innings themselves.
Now when you think of baseball you think of the 7 o’clock start and the cool of the night as well as the smell of dogs in the air. It wasn’t always like that. Games were played at 1, 2, or 3 in the afternoon; what importance does this have?
The games that start at that time are available to all, kids who get out of school and immediately flip the TV on, adults at work can tune in the radio and now stream it on the computer and keep them focused until the day’s out. That garnered interest in the past. However, as more places were able to afford the big lights and there was something special about the night game, began to push away the fans slowly. Ever so slowly.
That’s a hard line to connect to the decline in popularity. Hear out my thought; the 7 o’clock games are getting over around 10:30 or 11:00; and kids can’t stay up that late and expect to get to school in the morning. Heck, even adults can’t be expected to do that. The mentality, (not including postseason) is “I’ll watch the game until I fall asleep” believe it or not. That mentality is not beneficial for the sport.
I feel that you should be excited about the game and the close ones especially. Running from the bus stop to watch the 7th, 8th and 9th; or getting out of work to have a beer while the Sox walkoff with a win.
Would it be so hard for the MLB to make a major schedule change? Sunday-Wednesday more games on during the day; with one or two on at night. Then Thursday-Saturday one or two day games and the rest night-caps. I feel that is more conducive with the working person’s schedule.
Perhaps it’s not necessarily the times of games; because that would be utterly ridiculous as the only reason. There are others such as baseball not being exciting; and then I’d tell the neigh-sayers to watch Four Days in October; or even go to a game. Sure at times its slow, so is basketball. As a Sox fan I hate to say it but I think the lack dominance of the Yankees has a bit to do with it. Without them, that’s nearly 20 million fans not interested in the games.
When the Yankees are good, it’s good for the sport. Every team has a bullseye on them at all times, and that is very important. I hated to lose to the Yankees, but if David doesn’t have Goliath then where’s the story?
Baseball isn’t about watching fast people going back and forth, back and forth, side to side, it’s a competition each pitch. Even then baseball is more than that, to me its part of life.