Baseball struggles to retain golden-age popularity in U.S.

Ella Cutter, Opinion Editor

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America’s pastime is slowly turning into something that quite literally belongs to the past. Baseball was America’s stereotypical family sport, and experienced its highs during the ‘40s and ‘60s as the favorite sport of the nation. 

Now, only 9% of America lists their favorite sport as baseball, according to the New York Times. In addition to this statistic, ballpark attendance is also down in 19 out of 30 stadiums in the league. The sport is experiencing its lowest amount of support since 1937. 

Sophomores Kevin Crowell and Nolan McNeill both play on the Pacific University baseball team. When asked about why the sport’s popularity might be declining, their answers were fairly similar. “People don’t appreciate tradition like they used to,” said Crowell. 

“Football is America’s pastime now,” said McNeill. “It’s more violent, more fast-paced, and that trend is something that’s required in society these days. People want more action and more big hits.”

An analysis done by the New York Times shows how spread across the country broadcasts for NBA games and NFL games are, and how minimal broadcasts are for MLB games. One hundred percent of counties air at least a quarter of Tom Brady’s games; 98% of counties air at least a quarter of Lebron James’ games; and a whopping 1% of counties air a quarter of Mike Trout’s games, who is arguably baseball’s best player. 

On top of declining attendance, if the MLB games aren’t as widely broadcasted as other sports games are, then no wonder the popularity is also decreasing. People aren’t going to go too far out of their way to watch something that isn’t readily available to them unless they’re extremely dedicated to the sport. 

The MLB has been trying to regain some of the popularity they are losing by tampering with game rules. To die hard baseball fans, this tinkering may seem sacrilegious, but to new fans, it may make the game more exciting to watch, which would start to retain viewers again.

“They’re trying to make the game shorter, and cut the breaks between innings so people aren’t sitting and watching for as long, because that leads to a lack of attention,” said McNeill. 

It’s true that America needs to be kept entertained. We’ve seen this shift throughout many aspects of society. People want things quick, because our attention spans are growing shorter and shorter. 

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