Chicks dig the hit-and-run.
• Fans like close games and close pennant races more than home runs
One of the great myths about The Steroid Era is that steroids “saved baseball” and made for a great period of huge economic growth. It’s baloney. After the great home run race of 1998, per game attendance went down three of the next five years. Take the best per-game attendance in The Steroid Era (1995-2003) and it would be the worst attendance rate of The Testing Era (2004-2012).
We are in an extremely rare period in the game’s history because offense is down and attendance is up. There are many reasons why this is happening, including something as macro an issue as the frightening pace in which America is becoming an entertainment-based society. We spend roughly three times as much money on entertainment as we do education. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, our overall spending from 1991-2011 rose 33 percent, but our spending on “Fees and Admissions,” which includes what we pay to watch sports, jumped 65 percent.
To an audience craving entertainment, baseball has provided more competitive games. Home runs are great, but having an outcome in doubt is better. The stands empty out in a blowout and stay full for a close game even if the ball never left the yard.