In this mini series myself and the other writers for The Stack will be looking at the current states of different sports of our choice. I chose to kick it off with baseball.
Sports Stack Presents: State of the Sport: Baseball
Baseball, also known as America’s Pastime, has been around for quite some time. Major League Baseball is separated into two separate leagues that have each been around for over 100 years; the National League (founded 1876) and the American League (founded 1901). Baseball is a staple in American culture; it is the only major sport that is played during the summer months, and there are professional teams everywhere around the country, whether it be major league teams in major cities such as New York and Los Angeles or minor league teams in smaller markets such as Altoona, Pennsylvania or Somerset, New Jersey.
Even if fans cannot attend major league games, they can frequent minor league contests for a fraction of the price for wholesome summer fun. Going out to the old ballgame is good for families as well, with the vendors, the atmosphere and the many promotions offered by teams it keeps fans coming back for more to a sport that has been losing interest to American viewers for quite some time.
This would not be a ‘State of the Sport’ article without mentioning the good and bad things the sport’s major league is doing. Let’s start with the good.
Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball make it very accessible for fans to attend live contests with the numerous teams spread throughout the United States and Canada. Baseball takes care of its fans, but it also takes care of its players. Baseball does not have a hard salary cap, they operate on a payroll and they award their players with fully guaranteed contracts.
Even though baseball players play more games than all other major sports, they are greatly rewarded by receiving the entirety of the contract that they signed. Another benefit that baseball reap the rewards of is that baseball does not have long term health risks like football or hockey do. Without the long-term health risks, parents will not be hesitant to allow their children to play baseball, meaning baseball will never be at a shortage of talent.
While baseball may be conscious of what is best for its fans and players, it does not change one fact: it is incredibly boring. While all other major sports have a set time limit that may be slightly exceeded by overtimes, baseball does not. Baseball takes 9+ innings and will last as long as it takes to complete those innings, some games can span over an entire day if that’s what it takes to complete the game. Fans don’t have all day to sit and only watch one game.
Also, there is not enough motion to appeal to the younger generation of fans. The game is not moving unless a runner is stealing a base or if there is a ball hit into play, and that is why baseball is losing its appeal. Not many kids want to sit and watch a no-hitter anymore, and a perfect game may be too boring for them as well.
Baseball is a staple in American culture. Put baseball up there with the Stars and Stripes and apple pie when defining the culture of America. That being said, baseball is losing viewers, because as the time changes the game seldom does. There is not enough offense in the game, and that bores fans. Major League Baseball is trying to evolve; the league has experimented with a pitch clock, much like a play clock in football, and have even went as far as affecting the baseballs to promote more home runs like they did in last year’s World Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Houston Astros.
Baseball may be losing appeal, but they are trying to change that. Major League Baseball is the oldest major sports league in America and has branched into Canada. Baseball has even expanded to other countries such as Japan and the Dominican Republic, amongst others. Baseball isn’t going anywhere.