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Friday, September 09, 2011

Chung: Is Our National Pastime… Past its Time?

Oh, the blancpain… the blancpain!

Baseball is in danger of being like the Swiss watchmakers of old.  Up until the 1970’s, the Swiss watchmakers dominated the market.  When quartz technology first came on the scene, the Swiss were not concerned and continued to do business as usual. As Asia and American watch industries embraced this quartz technology, Switzerland continued to ignore it.

What ensued was a near collapse of the Swiss watch making economy. What was once known as the best watches in the world now experienced insolvency at a record pace.  If baseball is not careful, they too will fall the same fate as the once great watch makers of Switzerland.

The Royals have been proclaimed one of the franchises with the best young talent. In time, the Royals should return to contenders once these players mature.  But when KC is ready to win, will baseball be ready to embrace them? Will there even be baseball at the MLB level?

With clear ratings decline and NFL growth, baseball needs to be wary and not make the same mistake as the Swiss watch makers.  The first thing Bud Selig should do this off-season is to make the labor agreement a non-issue and a non-story. With sports fans soured from the recent NFL labor dispute and a vicious NBA labor dispute pending, MLB can ill afford any negative publicity that will cause their shrinking fan base to lose even more interest.  MLB is definitely past its prime. If there is a bitter labor dispute, baseball as America’s past time could be past its time for good.

Repoz Posted: September 09, 2011 at 10:13 AM | 37 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: fantasy baseball, royals

Reader Comments and Retorts

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Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: September 09, 2011 at 10:22 AM (#3920067)
Why do people insist on saying that baseball is dying when it's making more money than ever?
   2. Bob Tufts Posted: September 09, 2011 at 10:51 AM (#3920069)
Tommy Chong, PHD. I always new higher education had a different meaning.

The mouth breather's comments pretty much show how out of touch from reality the author and reader are.
   3. Leroy Kincaid Posted: September 09, 2011 at 11:11 AM (#3920071)
Maury needs to keep his woman in line.
   4. Greg K Posted: September 09, 2011 at 11:47 AM (#3920074)
With clear ratings decline and NFL growth, baseball needs to be wary and not make the same mistake as the Swiss watch makers. The first thing Bud Selig should do this off-season is to make the labor agreement a non-issue and a non-story. With sports fans soured from the recent NFL labor dispute and a vicious NBA labor dispute pending

MLB needs to be more like the NFL!
First step; don't be like the NFL.

EDIT: I also think fans don't really care about labour disputes. They care about labour disputes cause games to be canceled. I'm sure fans complain a lot during vicious labour negotiations and fret over the potential for lost seasons, but does anyone stop watching because the owners and players both acted greedy in the off-season?
   5. Chris in Wicker Park Posted: September 09, 2011 at 11:48 AM (#3920076)
Just speaking from perception, but aren't hig-end Swiss watch makers doing better than ever right now?
   6. Avoid Running At All Times- S. Paige Posted: September 09, 2011 at 11:58 AM (#3920078)
With clear ratings decline and NFL growth, baseball needs to be wary and not make the same mistake as the Swiss watch makers.


Clearly baseball needs to destroy the NFL. I say an armed invasion is worth it. The Swiss' position of neutrality has always been cowardly. It's time to drop bombs.
   7. Gamingboy Posted: September 09, 2011 at 12:23 PM (#3920086)
Baseball: Dying since 1846.


Also, now that "Swiss Watchmakers" have been used as a metaphor for baseball, I am pretty sure that baseball has been compared or been metaphorized to everything except for the following:
The etymology of Esperanto
The Marathon at the 1956 Olympics
Drug-Resistant Bacteria
Life Insurance in India
Oklahoma State Highway 325
Puppy love
The death of Yvette Vickers
The Great Seal of the State of Illinois
The Zambezi River
Fort Winnebago, Wisconsin
Snail reproduction
Argentina–Tanzania foreign relations
   8. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 09, 2011 at 12:56 PM (#3920100)
Snail reproduction

Yankee/Red Sox games are as slow as snail reproduction.

There you go, check it off the list.
   9. Dale Sams Posted: September 09, 2011 at 01:07 PM (#3920106)
"It was 1973, we were driving down Oklahoma State Highway 325 at the federally mandated 55. A speed as slow as snail reproduction. Donny Osmond's version of 'Puppy Love' was on the radio and I had a lap full of those great, groovy 1973 baseball cards. They don't make them like that anymore. They don't play Baseball like that anymore. Now I drive 75 down Highway 325, while Baseball crawls along at a Selig-mandated 35 mph. My 'Puppy Love' affair with Baseball is long over....

...but I still have those cards."
   10. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 09, 2011 at 01:42 PM (#3920128)
With clear ratings decline and NFL growth,


NFL attendance is down three years in a row. The Buccaneers, a ten win team, will have their home opener blacked out this weekend. The Jaguars needed an extension to avoid a blackout and the Chargers and Cardinals also had trouble selling out the home opener. I saw tickets for the Chiefs, the defending division champs, available for $7.

Meanwhile, baseball attendance is finally up, but the media is so negative about baseball, that even this is framed as a decline.

The growth is clearly on TV, where the NFL has enjoyed great increases in ratings, particularly in the post-season, but long-term, isn't it kind of a problem if the NFL has sagging attendance numbers because its so much easier, cheaper and attractive to watch games on TV?
   11. Avoid Running At All Times- S. Paige Posted: September 09, 2011 at 01:47 PM (#3920132)
Meanwhile, baseball attendance is finally up, but the media is so negative about baseball, that even this is framed as a decline.


It's interesting to speculate why this is. Does it all have to do with steroid controvery?
   12. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 09, 2011 at 02:00 PM (#3920145)
It's interesting to speculate why this is. Does it all have to do with steroid controvery?

That would be odd, since Football is lousy with steroids. Hell, team doctors have been caught supplying to entire teams.

Maybe the NFL supplies hookers and blow to the media. It would be in keeping with the moral tenor of the league.
   13. Dale Sams Posted: September 09, 2011 at 02:08 PM (#3920156)
The NFL aslo has COLLLLLLEGGGGE FOOOTBALLL!!!! RAWWWRRR GO FILLINTHEBLANK!! to help prop up the hype.

March Madness (!!!) Doesn't really connect with the NBA, but it's there.

And when I think of college baseball, I think of ...dink....that's the sound of an aluminum bat, if no one got that. dink. Hell, I find college softball more entertaining. A bunch of lesbians who act like they're on meth.
   14. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 09, 2011 at 02:15 PM (#3920161)

It's interesting to speculate why this is. Does it all have to do with steroid controvery?


I think its cause of the TV ratings. The NFL is perceived to be booming because ratings are way up. Baseball is considered to be declining because TV ratings are down. This is interpreted that football is popular, baseball is not. But what it instead probably means it that NFL is a national, TV sport, while baseball is a regional, attendance-driven sport.
   15. BDC Posted: September 09, 2011 at 02:16 PM (#3920162)
The etymology of Esperanto

Cobbled together from bits of other sports, the rules of baseball were slow to take hold except among a devoted band of "cranks." But in time, this near-perfect international "language" spanned continents and cultures, uniting humanity and giving redneck company reps from Atlanta a way to chat with corporate drones from Taipei in airport lounges in Frankfurt.
   16. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: September 09, 2011 at 02:22 PM (#3920166)
Edit: I need to read more carefully.
   17. Avoid Running At All Times- S. Paige Posted: September 09, 2011 at 02:24 PM (#3920169)
That would be odd, since Football is lousy with steroids. Hell, team doctors have been caught supplying to entire teams.

Maybe the NFL supplies hookers and blow to the media. It would be in keeping with the moral tenor of the league.


Well I agree, but the way steroids is covered is of course different. Is it because there are a lot more moral windbags associated with baseball than football? There are more romantics who care about baseball and vulgarian realists who like football?
   18. FrankM Posted: September 09, 2011 at 02:28 PM (#3920175)
I've been reading this type of article for the last 50 years.
   19. Mayor Blomberg Posted: September 09, 2011 at 02:43 PM (#3920181)
Is it because there are a lot more moral windbags associated with baseball than football? There are more romantics who care about baseball and vulgarian realists who like football?

I'll go with #2 causing #1. Go reread the Cervelli home-run handclap thread and then watch a couple of end zone celebrations.
   20. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 09, 2011 at 02:52 PM (#3920186)
Well I agree, but the way steroids is covered is of course different. Is it because there are a lot more moral windbags associated with baseball than football? There are more romantics who care about baseball and vulgarian realists who like football?

Maybe people just care more about baseball on an emotional level?
   21. Jose is Absurdly Unemployed Posted: September 09, 2011 at 03:10 PM (#3920201)
Maybe people just care more about baseball on an emotional level?


I think this is true and an important point. Being a baseball fan is a committment, you wake up and every day for six months you watch a game. Being a football fan is ultimately being a fan of a reality TV series, once a week you wake up and there is a game. I think the nature of the way the sports are played just force baseball into your soul in the way a less consistently played sport cannot.

That is not meant as a criticism of football (though I don't like it). I just think that being a baseball fan requires one to care greatly, it's easier to be a football fan.
   22. Gamingboy Posted: September 09, 2011 at 03:34 PM (#3920215)
<strike>The etymology of Esperanto</strike>
The Marathon at the 1956 Olympics
Drug-Resistant Bacteria
Life Insurance in India
<strike>Oklahoma State Highway 325</strike>
<strike>Puppy love</strike>
The death of Yvette Vickers
The Great Seal of the State of Illinois
The Zambezi River
Fort Winnebago, Wisconsin
<strike>Snail reproduction</strike>
Argentina–Tanzania foreign relations

Just realized that I did forget a few other things Baseball has never been compared to metaphorized to-
The Craig Kilborn era of the Daily Show
The 1980 World's Fair
Queen's soundtrack to Highlander
The 555 phone numbers in TV shows and movies
"Hail Columbia"
The question of who would win a fight: A Tyranosaurus or a Triceratops
Cancer in Tasmanian Devils
Pop-Tarts
The fact that Hebrew's curse words are all borrowed from other languages
The Montgolfier brothers
HBO Miniseries by Tom Hanks
   23. BDC Posted: September 09, 2011 at 03:43 PM (#3920219)
The question of who would win a fight: A Tyrannosaurus or a Triceratops

They were two colossal beasts, the opponents in the 2004 ALCS. An unvanquished monster that had eaten everything in sight, and a behemoth with Curt Schilling, Kevin Millar, and Manny Ramirez: three enormous pricks.
   24. Anonymous Observer Posted: September 09, 2011 at 03:46 PM (#3920220)
Pillsbury's Toaster Strudel is increasing in popularity, naturally leading to a descrease in popularity of Kellogg's Pop-Tarts. This is actually, very similar to popularity trends regarding the NFL and Major League Baseball. The NFL is your Pillsbury Toaster Strudel, whereas Major League Baseball is your Pop-Tarts.

Okay, Pop-Tarts can now be marked off the list.
   25. McCoy Posted: September 09, 2011 at 03:53 PM (#3920226)
Just speaking from perception, but aren't hig-end Swiss watch makers doing better than ever right now?

Almost all watch makers other than high end watch makers are struggling right now. Cell phones have made watches obsolete so now their only use is as a fashion piece.
   26. OsunaSakata Posted: September 09, 2011 at 04:21 PM (#3920251)
Pillsbury's Toaster Strudel is increasing in popularity, naturally leading to a descrease in popularity of Kellogg's Pop-Tarts. This is actually, very similar to popularity trends regarding the NFL and Major League Baseball. The NFL is your Pillsbury Toaster Strudel, whereas Major League Baseball is your Pop-Tarts.

Okay, Pop-Tarts can now be marked off the list.


I'm sorry. I just saw the image of the MLB logo leaving a rainbow trail across a star-studded blue sky.
   27. puck Posted: September 09, 2011 at 06:08 PM (#3920373)
Meanwhile, baseball attendance is finally up, but the media is so negative about baseball, that even this is framed as a decline


It's down again (9/game, at last if you look before bb-ref updates tonight...)
   28. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: September 09, 2011 at 06:23 PM (#3920398)
yeah, I don't think it will beat last year at this point because of the lack of races. Still, the most watched sporting league by far in the entire world.
   29. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: September 09, 2011 at 06:35 PM (#3920417)
Well I agree, but the way steroids is covered is of course different. Is it because there are a lot more moral windbags associated with baseball than football?

I think it's because sportswriters don't care about any NFL records like they care about the season and career home run records.
   30. Gotham Dave Posted: September 09, 2011 at 07:23 PM (#3920486)
Just as viewers of The Daily Show with Craig Kilborn were watching the middling news parody show in hopes that it would one day reach greater heights, so do American sports fans half-heartedly tune into their moribund MLB teams, counting down the hours until the NFL season saves them from clockless, non-violent boredom.
   31. Non-Youkilidian Geometry Posted: September 09, 2011 at 07:23 PM (#3920487)
Almost all watch makers other than high end watch makers are struggling right now. Cell phones have made watches obsolete so now their only use is as a fashion piece.

This is an overstatement. There are all sorts of situations where checking the time on a cell phone is impractical and where watches have a functional advantage. (For instance, try pulling a cell phone out of your pants pocket while riding a bike or paddling a kayak).
   32. Flynn Posted: September 09, 2011 at 07:27 PM (#3920496)
How many people here know somebody who says baseball is declining and football will be king forevermore, yet hasn't been to a football game in years (sometimes if ever) yet goes to 8 baseball games a year? Watches baseball all the time?

I know a dozen people who parrot that crap yet put far more of their economic weight behind baseball than football. Until another sport plays 162 times a year during spring, summer and autumn, baseball is fine.
   33. Gamingboy Posted: September 09, 2011 at 08:20 PM (#3920547)
Until another sport plays 162 times a year during spring, summer and autumn, baseball is fine.


A friend of mine once said that Football would still be as popular as it is now, if not more so, even if it was played 162 games instead of once a week.

I then pointed out to him that that wouldn't be true, because A) it would remove the endless hype and feeling of it being a special occasion and B) by the end of the first week everyone would be too hurt to play... if not dead.
   34. Walt Davis Posted: September 09, 2011 at 08:32 PM (#3920559)
The Craig Kilborn era of the Daily Show

I come not to bury Craig Kilborn but to praise him. OK, not him, the writers.

While there's no doubt that the version with Jon Stewart is funnier, there's also no doubt that the version with Kilborn was a better news parody. Stewart never made any attempt to maintain the veneer of a real news anchor while Kilborn was much more Ted Knight (though he was no Ted Knight). The phony reports were not so over the top. And the opening credits were much better ("the TDS 3000 Copier!").
   35. 100 Years is Nothing Posted: September 09, 2011 at 08:59 PM (#3920579)
Falling the sky is.
   36. GGC Posted: September 09, 2011 at 09:31 PM (#3920603)
That is not meant as a criticism of football (though I don't like it). I just think that being a baseball fan requires one to care greatly, it's easier to be a football fan.


No kidding. I feel like I'm a bad fan because I only watch a couple of games a week.
   37. larkin4HoF Posted: September 10, 2011 at 06:20 AM (#3920923)
I think it's because sportswriters don't care about any NFL records like they care about the season and career home run records.


So they hate steriods because it changes the conditions ubder which these holy records are set-using steriods gives players an advantage over players who do not use steriods, but it never even occurs to them that the records are set ny hitting a baseball over fences that are different distances from home plate.

Its almopst like you have to pass a test to prove you are stupid enough to be a MSM sportswriter.

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