ARTS & CULTURE EDITOR
After the baseball season came to a close last night, I realized that I had not watched one game this year from start to finish. At first I thought that I was in the minority. However, as the dismal television ratings of the World Series seem to indicate, many others have become disenchanted with the game that has provided some of sport’s greatest moments.
Why has baseball fallen out of Americans’ hearts? Is it the economy? Well, a cheap ticket to a game costs about the same as a movie ticket so I’d say no. Essentially, there are three major factors: game duration, familiarity with the players and season schedule.
Game Duration: The main reason that people are not excited about baseball anymore is obvious: The games are too long. In a fast-paced society, why would people want to take 3-4 hours out of their day to watch a baseball game? They wouldn’t. It is the same routine 18 times. One team warms up in the field, the other team takes practice swings and then they play until the team in the field records three outs. There isn’t much variation. This is contrasted with basketball and football which lend themselves to more minute-by-minute focus
Player popularity: When was the last time you saw a kid wearing Derek Jeter tennis shoes or a Mike Trout jersey? Exactly…I don’t know either, and those are the players people actually know. I’m not even mentioning players like Miguel Cabrera or Clayton Kershaw who are stars of the game, but are not recognizable in the same way as Kobe Bryant or Tom Brady. Baseball players simply are not marketed in the same same way as basketball players and football players. Gatorade and Nike play to the appeal of the younger athlete and put the more “explosive” athletes in their commercials, causing kids to emulate those players and forget about the baseball players.
Season Schedule: One hundred sixty-two games…Are you kidding me MLB? That is 10 times as many games as they play in the NFL. Forget about the comparison in physical demands. Why should I care about one game when there are 161 other ones my team is playing? Heck, if I watched them once a month I’d get the gist of it. That’s not even taking into consideration the other major sporting events I’m watching over the course of those eight months (i.e. NBA Finals, Stanley Cup, NFL and college football). We know you love tradition, but could you cut that tradition in half?
America’s pastime is in the past, and it might just stay there unless we do something about it.