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Friday, August 29, 2014

What’s Wrong With Baseball?

BBTF denizen Tim Marchman with an interesting point.

The main issue, though—and something that McGrath curiously doesn’t bring up—is probably just that baseball is now dealing with the consequences of having spent a solid decade telling anyone who would listen that baseball is awful and no one should watch it.

Let’s take a normal 25-year-old, born in 1989. He would have spent his formative years as a sports fan in the immediate aftermath of a canceled World Series, hearing that greedy players were destroying the game and that the dynastic Yankees team dominating the sport was such an affront to its competitive integrity that drastic measures had to be taken to give other teams any kind of chance at winning. He would have heard about the commissioner touring the country threatening to abolish various teams, some of them successful ones. He would have seen the league enthusiastically cooperating with a congressional investigation that all but treated many of its most famous players as criminals; the league touting an owner-written report claiming that those players were frauds, cheats, and liars; and the league and the government working together with small-time con men to destroy the very best of those players.

 

Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: August 29, 2014 at 02:52 PM | 50 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: peds, strikes, tim marchman, writing worth reading

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   1. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 30, 2014 at 12:29 AM (#4782200)
Yeah, Selig was the king of anti-marketing his product.
   2. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: August 30, 2014 at 01:04 AM (#4782212)
He forgot to mention the legion of sportswriters at first denying that any cheating was going on, then when blatant cheating was discovered beyond a shadow of a doubt, arguing that it wasn't really cheating, or if it was cheating is doesn't matter because the sport has been irremediably corrupt since its inception and only a chump would go to a game expecting to see fair play.
   3. cardsfanboy Posted: August 30, 2014 at 01:37 AM (#4782219)
Again. TV ratings is not the end all, be all of analyzing popularity of the sport. The writer starts out basically refuting the point that there is something wrong with baseball, then decides that there is and pushes the narrow viewpoint agenda by basically arguing mlb should be the NBA. (players play in anonymity? really? Jeter is anonymous? Arod, Pujols, etc? c'mon nobody is bemoaning the potential football loss of popularity because pretty much everyone in football is anonymous...I mean outside of Manning, and Brady, can anyone really name 5 football players who didn't play on their fantasy teams? Football is all about the anonymous players.)

Baseball is healthy, it's not 50's healthy as far as how aware people are of events concerning it, but outside of football, nothing is, due to the fragmenting of the entertainment industry. Yet at the same time things are thriving. Simply because all avenues of entertainment have figured out how to maximize their revenue.

Having said all that, I agree with a lot of the points in the article, I absolutely think that high dependence on strikeouts is bringing the enjoyment of the game down for fans, I absolutely agree that baseball has denigrated their own product for years and it probably has had a lasting effect on the kids growing up in that time frame.


(Technically these type of articles always bring my reflexive defensive attitude towards my sport of choice....I just don't get people who don't enjoy this game)
   4. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: August 30, 2014 at 01:42 AM (#4782220)
"50's healthy", that's funny. It was long before my time and I come at this only as a historian, but from how I understand it, baseball was in more trouble in the 1950s than it is now--all those teams relocated for a reason.
   5. Bunny Vincennes Posted: August 30, 2014 at 01:44 AM (#4782221)
Sportwriters ##### about baseball constantly. Problem? There isn't one invent one to ##### about.
   6. cardsfanboy Posted: August 30, 2014 at 01:52 AM (#4782222)
"50's healthy", that's funny. It was long before my time and I come at this only as a historian, but from how I understand it, baseball was in more trouble in the 1950s than it is now--all those teams relocated for a reason.


Yes and no. The teams financial situation was in jeopardy, but the awareness(which is what I said) among the average fan was probably at the highest it's ever been. Teams weren't forced to maximize revenue, and hadn't realized how to maximize the amount of money that they could make. Fans were aware, and radio broadcast was probably huge ratings wise, but attendance and revenue for teams was less than ideal, simply because they just didn't do a good job of maximizing revenue.
   7. Select Storage Device Posted: August 30, 2014 at 01:53 AM (#4782223)
Mike Trout should be all over your everything. He isn't. This is a reasonable dig. The anonymity of MLB's players on a national level is stark and bad for the game.
   8. Cargo Cultist Posted: August 30, 2014 at 01:55 AM (#4782224)
He forgot to mention the legion of sportswriters at first denying that any cheating was going on, then when blatant cheating was discovered beyond a shadow of a doubt, arguing that it wasn't really cheating, or if it was cheating is doesn't matter because the sport has been irremediably corrupt since its inception and only a chump would go to a game expecting to see fair play.


That wasn't just sportswriters. There were tons of fans and Internet commenters saying exactly the same thing.

Does anyone besides me look at the return of baseball offensive numbers back towards the values of the 70s and 60s following a decline in steroid use and see it as something more than just coincidence?
   9. cardsfanboy Posted: August 30, 2014 at 01:57 AM (#4782225)
Does anyone besides me look at the return of baseball offensive numbers back towards the values of the 70s and 60s following a decline in steroid use and see it as something more than just coincidence?


Most of the casual fans are seeing this, the problem is that the statistical narrative doesn't fit the 'perceived' narrative. Offensive decline returning to levels from 20 or so years ago, doesn't really align with testing or even several years of testing, simply speaking the drop in offense is purely a function of increased strikeouts(and drop in walks). Nothing more.
   10. Cargo Cultist Posted: August 30, 2014 at 01:58 AM (#4782226)
Mike Trout should be all over your everything.


Bingo! The MLB is making lots of money but it is not marketing itself effectively at all.
   11. Select Storage Device Posted: August 30, 2014 at 02:01 AM (#4782227)
Does anyone besides me look at the return of baseball offensive numbers back towards the values of the 70s and 60s following a decline in steroid use and see it as something more than just coincidence?


You are totally alone in that. Definitely.
   12. The Yankee Clapper Posted: August 30, 2014 at 02:38 AM (#4782231)
The teams financial situation was in jeopardy, but the awareness(which is what I said) among the average fan was probably at the highest it's ever been.

I don't think that's correct, although it certainly fits the myth that the 1950s were a Golden Age that keeps cropping up in numerous contexts. Back then, much of the country got one TV game a week, many teams in MLB cities didn't televise all their games, and the quality of the sports section of many newspapers was mediocre at best. It may be that MLB was a higher sports priority for a larger percentage of the (smaller) population back then, but that hardly makes them more aware. Today, anyone (outside of the blackout zones) can get just about any game via a regional sports channel, MLB Extra Innings or MLB.TV, game highlights are instantly available on ESPN and other TV outlets, and advanced stats are a click away at BB-Ref and numerous other sites. Both MLB and its fans never had it so good.
   13. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: August 30, 2014 at 03:01 AM (#4782234)
Does anyone besides me look at the return of baseball offensive numbers back towards the values of the 70s and 60s following a decline in steroid use and see it as something more than just coincidence?


No, but as usual, you're completely wrong, so I'm not worried about it.
   14. cardsfanboy Posted: August 30, 2014 at 03:02 AM (#4782235)
although it certainly fits the myth that the 1950s were a Golden Age


Okay, I will concede to that....heck my dad was only a teenager then so it's silly for me to pretend I actually know the thoughts going on then...

   15. cardsfanboy Posted: August 30, 2014 at 03:03 AM (#4782236)
No, but as usual, you're completely wrong, so I'm not worried about it.


who is this poster, that he deserved that kinda comment?(did I miss a name change?)
   16. cardsfanboy Posted: August 30, 2014 at 03:06 AM (#4782238)
Back then, much of the country got one TV game a week, many teams in MLB cities didn't televise all their games, and the quality of the sports section of many newspapers was mediocre at best. It may be that MLB was a higher sports priority for a larger percentage of the (smaller) population back then, but that hardly makes them more aware. Today, anyone (outside of the blackout zones) can get just about any game via a regional sports channel, MLB Extra Innings or MLB.TV, game highlights are instantly available on ESPN and other TV outlets, and advanced stats are a click away at BB-Ref and numerous other sites. Both MLB and its fans never had it so good.


Okay...just to argue the point I presented, which might be a myth as you pointed out....but... at that time, the primary information given to people WAS the newspaper, and the press at that time really did present baseball in a large life. There was basically four types of entertainment then...baseball, tv, movies and boxing...that was arguably the entire "entertainment" section of the newspapers, in which a second section was dedicated to sports, which was limited to baseball and a few "others".
   17. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: August 30, 2014 at 08:25 AM (#4782256)
I don't think the degradation of baseball by ownership started in the late 80s. I remember it at least a decade earlier. Doesn't make it right but it's just another example of something predicted to destroy baseball that didn't. Obviously it's a short-sighted "strategy" but when the sport is making great money, getting great local tv ratings and generating huge attendance it is hard to say it's been impactful.
   18. Batman Posted: August 30, 2014 at 08:28 AM (#4782259)
I'm tired of people like Cargo Cultist and Albert Belle typing words some people disagree with.
   19. bobm Posted: August 30, 2014 at 08:31 AM (#4782261)
Let’s take a normal 25-year-old, born in 1989. He would have spent his formative years as a sports fan


Ok. The World Series was canceled when this kid was 5. McGwire and Sosa had their historic race when this kid was 9. The Mitchell Report came out when this kid was 17.

If anything, I would expect 25-year-olds to be the least concerned about "player greed" or steroid use given the state of baseball when they were 8 to 11, the real baseball formative years for most fans ISTM.

If you want to worry I'd worry more about the 15-year-olds whose formative years came in the aftermath of the Mitchell Report. More significantly, these kids were among the first affected by the growth of the Internet accelerating the fracturing of most American culture from a mass culture into increasingly many and smaller niche interests, for better or worse as noted in [12].
   20. Mike Emeigh Posted: August 30, 2014 at 08:36 AM (#4782262)
TV really didn't take hold until the late 50s. Most people got their sports - and baseball especially - via radio. If you didn't live in an MLB market area you could get Mutual's broadcast of the Game of the Day, every day but Sunday. And that - probably more than anything else - expanded baseball's reach *outside* of its typical markets.

But, conversely, the vast expansion of baseball's radio reach helped kill minor league baseball - given the choice between a major league game on the radio and a minor league game in person, people opted to stay at home. And once advertisers started shifting their money from radio to TV in the late 1950s, the radio market started to dry up and the national radio networks either shut down or switched their programming to less expensive formats - and live MLB games on a daily basis to most of the country were one of the first things to go.

-- MWE
   21. BDC Posted: August 30, 2014 at 08:41 AM (#4782263)
Re the 1950s: analysis (eg by sport historian Steve Riess) suggests that the Dodgers and Giants were making lots of money in New York. The moves to the Coast were very much maximizing moves, not born from desperation. Not all movers were as strong, of course, and not all new venues (Kansas City, notably) equally well chosen. But the Braves move to Milwaukee was a huge success, and that came early in the decade. It was a flush time, as imminent expansion would prove.
   22. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: August 30, 2014 at 08:49 AM (#4782267)
This is actually a really good, well balanced piece. The fact that *any* criticism of the state of the game makes some of you guys react so vehemently suggests that you're in a sort denial. There's little argument that baseball has become, or at least is becoming rather quickly, a regional sport. That's not to say baseball is dying or dead, but it's losing mindshare with younger demographics, and if you can't see that you're hiding your eyes from reality. Baseball is an *old* sport, which is what this guy is talking about. And yes, a good deal of the reason is likely due to the fact that baseball spent the formative years of Millenials' lives telling them how shitty the product was, and the next decade telling X'ers that all of the players they grew up loving were scum and cheats unworthy of the holy game of the righteous Baseball Gods.
   23. BDC Posted: August 30, 2014 at 09:05 AM (#4782277)
There's little argument that baseball has become, or at least is becoming rather quickly, a regional sport

Fair enough, but one might ask, what's wrong with that? The NFL and NBA are nationally oriented, in those terms, with bigger individual stars (NBA) and command of a national TV audience at certain days and times (NFL). That just means to me that there is a niche for a sport with a national structure but more decentralized, regional marketing, and MLB seems to have done that pretty well. It's proven a bit futile to go up head-to-head with the NFL and try to beat them at what they do best.

Honestly, I'd like some more national focus in baseball, fewer teams, fewer players per team, marquee games of the week, more concentrated playoffs – I'm conflating some elements of other sports there, college and pro, to describe my ideal. (I'd also like a more important WBC à la the World Cup.) But I have great fun following the Texas Rangers on a very regional basis, if that makes sense. I know their roster well (although this year, WTH can keep up?) and I see the teams that come into Texas very infrequently per team, unable to follow their rosters unless they have somebody like Derek Jeter aboard. But that's fine: my experience is sort of "my guys against the world." It's not like other sports, and doesn't need to be.
   24. Ulysses S. Fairsmith Posted: August 30, 2014 at 09:18 AM (#4782282)
It's not just baseball talking about how awful baseball is--it's baseball fans. I read here almost every day about how unbearably boring baseball is now.
   25. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: August 30, 2014 at 10:20 AM (#4782308)
Fair enough, but one might ask, what's wrong with that?


To your point, nothing really. Not in an absolutist sort of use of the term "wrong." But it's a definitive change from what baseball has been traditionally. 75 years ago, baseball was the national pastime. It was the essential American sport. 50 years ago the same held sway. 30 years ago, baseball was the primary national sport of the three "majors." Now baseball is a "major-minor" with mostly regional interests from an aging fan base. Is that good? Bad? Right? Wrong? In the modern age, any sport that relies on the long-haul season rather than marquee prime time television and weekend viewing matchups is going to falter. But to implement that sort of rubric on baseball - as you seem to suggest you would want to do - would basically gut the game as virtually every fan knows and loves it.

My point isn't to judge whether it's right or wrong, good or bad, per se. My point is that this guy wrote a solid article on the changes and fading from the national mind of baseball, and we should acknowledge the points that he makes. That so many of us immediately knee-jerk into "oh, another stupid 'baseball is dead' article, #### this guy!" stance suggests a bunker mentality.

Baseball is old. Baseball has some real problems with pace of play. Baseball should acknowledge these issues, even if it chooses to finally accept regional major-minor status rather than fundamentally alter its game play and DNA as a sport to compete with the sparklepony events and games. But there's no point in pretending that baseball "is fine" and telling anyone who says otherwise to shut their stupid mouth hole.
   26. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 30, 2014 at 10:28 AM (#4782314)
"50's healthy", that's funny.

It's beyond funny. The only thing that baseball in the 50's had going for it outside of New York and Milwaukee was the afterglow of the previous decades, when the NFL and the NBA were in their infancy. As soon as the NFL caught onto marketing and got a national TV contract, it was only a matter of a few years before it became the dominant sport in water cooler conversations.

   27. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 30, 2014 at 10:33 AM (#4782319)
30 years ago, baseball was the primary national sport of the three "majors."

Right, 30 years ago the Tigers-Padres World Series was generating more buzz than Montana vs Marino or Bird vs. Magic. Tell me another bedtime story, gramps. The truth is that baseball hasn't been the "primary" national sport since the day before the Colts-Giants sudden death game, or at the very latest before the Jets-Colts Super Bowl.
   28. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 30, 2014 at 10:42 AM (#4782321)
Baseball is old. Baseball has some real problems with pace of play. Baseball should acknowledge these issues, even if it chooses to finally accept regional major-minor status rather than fundamentally alter its game play and DNA as a sport to compete with the sparklepony events and games. But there's no point in pretending that baseball "is fine" and telling anyone who says otherwise to shut their stupid mouth hole.

It's "fine" financially and probably will continue to be, on the basis of cable money and new ways of monetizing pretty much everything. But you're absolutely right about the problem of the pace of play, and what's worse, it's more like a lobster being slowly boiled to death than a lobster being tossed into scalding water. It's a few minutes more this year, a minute or two more next year, a few minutes more due to new replays being added to plays that can be reviewed, and before you know it you're at the point where watching the late innings of even a close game becomes a challenge for fans who have to work the next day and don't have total commitment. The NFL may have similar problems with game times, but here's the difference: The vast majority of its games end way before anyone's bedtime. I can't believe that this simple point seems to be missing in nearly every one of these conversations, or gets dismissed by a bunch of 20-somethings who can only see the world through their own eyes.
   29. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 30, 2014 at 10:56 AM (#4782323)
He forgot to mention the legion of sportswriters at first denying that any cheating was going on, then when blatant cheating was discovered beyond a shadow of a doubt, arguing that it wasn't really cheating, or if it was cheating is doesn't matter because the sport has been irremediably corrupt since its inception and only a chump would go to a game expecting to see fair play.


Yes, amps and spitballs are cheating, but sportswriters still deny that.
   30. Flynn Posted: August 30, 2014 at 11:45 AM (#4782339)
The NBA has half MLB's revenue, if MLB is a minor sport now then what sport isn't? That the NBA squeaks out narrow wins in finals matchups doesn't mean squat when nobody gives a crap about 25 of your teams. Basketball's problem is that they've never convinced anybody to give a crap about their local team when they're not good. When a team is a contender, they're as popular as the local NFL or MLB team. When they're not, they might as well be a hockey team in Florida.
   31. BDC Posted: August 30, 2014 at 11:58 AM (#4782353)
The vast majority of its games end way before anyone's bedtime. I can't believe that this simple point seems to be missing in nearly every one of these conversations, or gets dismissed by a bunch of 20-somethings

That's a good point, though of course if you don't want to be stuck with the older demographic, maybe you should market to people who don't eat dinner at 4pm and fall asleep during Lawrence Welk reruns :)

But being of the elder persuasion myself, I totally agree. I watch far more NFL games on TV than MLB, largely due to bedtime constraints. I don't go to baseball games if I have to work the next day. It's become hard for me to see the end of World Series games, for crying out loud.

The NFL has a couple of late-night games each week, though they seem to've backed away from those insane Monday doubleheaders that became popular awhile back, and there's rarely such a thing in pro football as the "late game from the coast." There's a doubleheader on Sept. 8th, but the late-late game involves Western teams. By contrast, baseball seems determined to push it to 10:30 or 11pm locally every night of the week, which means red eyes on the East Coast much of the time.
   32. Cargo Cultist Posted: August 30, 2014 at 12:30 PM (#4782368)
who is this poster, that he deserved that kinda comment?(did I miss a name change?)


I'm a relatively new guy he disagrees with a lot.
   33. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 30, 2014 at 12:52 PM (#4782387)
The vast majority of its games end way before anyone's bedtime. I can't believe that this simple point seems to be missing in nearly every one of these conversations, or gets dismissed by a bunch of 20-somethings

That's a good point, though of course if you don't want to be stuck with the older demographic, maybe you should market to people who don't eat dinner at 4pm and fall asleep during Lawrence Welk reruns :)

But being of the elder persuasion myself, I totally agree. I watch far more NFL games on TV than MLB, largely due to bedtime constraints. I don't go to baseball games if I have to work the next day. It's become hard for me to see the end of World Series games, for crying out loud.


I'm probably older than anyone who regularly visits BTF with the sole exception of Harvey, and since I seldom retire before about 12:30, I usually will stay up to the end of any game that's close in the late innings.

But realistically, who's likely to stay up for the end of a game that ends between 11:00 and midnight?

---twentysomethings, especially the unmarried variety

---people who don't have to work the next day

---hard core fans like me

---people with money on the outcome

And who's more likely to call it an evening by the 7th inning?

---schoolchildren

---casual fans

---geezers who don't keep late hours

---East Coast fans watching games in the other three time zones.

And BTW one of the unspoken reasons why Mike Trout is far less known than he should be is that the majority of his games end after most of the country is asleep. This is also one of the main reasons why baseball has indeed largely become a "local" sport.

   34. bobm Posted: August 30, 2014 at 01:26 PM (#4782400)
I watch far more NFL games on TV than MLB, largely due to bedtime constraints. I don't go to baseball games if I have to work the next day. It's become hard for me to see the end of World Series games, for crying out loud.

The NFL has a couple of late-night games each week, though they seem to've backed away from those insane Monday doubleheaders that became popular awhile back


NFL does have some advantages that align it with the national market. (Yet even Monday Night Football couldn't sustain a broadcast audience and had to move to cable.) Sunday Night Football has the advantage of cherry-picking the most interesting matchups in the 2nd half of the season IIRC.

NFL is more like a 16-week miniseries each year than a sport. It's a very low investment of time each week and there's far less continuity (esp. of players) from year-to-year. Every home team's games are on free TV, which more than counteracts the fact that most casual fans will never attend an NFL game in person. Fans can also follow this year's "hot team" on free TV with relative ease if the home team stinks despite parity.

ETA: And it's violent, even if trying to be less so by encouraging passing offense etc.
   35. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: August 30, 2014 at 02:21 PM (#4782422)
But being of the elder persuasion myself, I totally agree. I watch far more NFL games on TV than MLB, largely due to bedtime constraints..
Except during the playoffs, that doesn't make any sense. The NFL has only two games per week where bedtime constraints aren't at issue. The night NFL games run later than the night MLB games.
I don't go to baseball games if I have to work the next day. It's become hard for me to see the end of World Series games, for crying out loud
The postseason is the major problem.
   36. John Northey Posted: August 30, 2014 at 02:23 PM (#4782423)
Pluses for Selig in promoting the game...

1) Getting the internet set up to maximize revenue for all clubs - mlb.tv has been a big success especially considering the issue with local team games

2) Labour stability - post 1994/5 things have been calmer than ever. Losing the one WS might be for baseball what the atomic bombs dropped in '45 were for atomic/nuclear weapons (yes, one is a sport the other is thousands of dead so not comparable in impact but the analogy works), people saw how bad it was and after were too scared to ever use again. Of course, in both cases it would've been best if people just were rational but often people are not.

3) World Cup - not popular in the US but I suspect it has helped in other places. I know I love seeing Team Canada play with the best of the best. Might hurt my favorite team (Jays) but it is worth it imo.

Negatives though...oh the negatives...
1) Losing a World Series - that was very, very big even if stability followed

2) Franchise moving for first time in a long, long time - the Expos were hurt bad by #1 then were left in the hands of a scumbag who took anti-marketing to a whole new level then was rewarded royally for doing so

3) Screwing up PED's royally - anyone paying attention during the 98 race knew PEDs were there, as they had been since at least the 80's (Canseco 'steroid' chant). If he worked with the players on it as a health issue instead of a 'lets hit them over the head' issue this could've been cleaned up quietly. Instead he went for the stick and the 'lets see whose is bigger' method. Now we have the Clemens & Bonds fiasco's plus, of course, Sosa/McGwire/Palmeiro and others.

4) The Oakland tease - will they move or not, can he convince SF to give back rights Oakland gave them years ago...so far no luck. Similar with Tampa who has a solid contract in place to keep them in Tampa for years but the anti-marketing 'we will move them ASAP' stuff going on.

5) NY Mets (and other) disasters with ownership. A few owners really did dumb financial things that have caused no end of headaches and for prime franchises (Dodgers, Mets)

Those, among others, have hurt the game.

Now, as to the 50's, in 1948 the Yankees reached 30k a game, but by 1953 were under 20k despite being on that amazing run and wouldn't crack 20k a game until 1959, 25k a game in 1976, 30k in 1979, 40k in 1999, 50k in 2005 with 40k+ in every season since 2001. Think about that - the Yankees now average double what they did in the 50's for attendance. Double. Despite now having luxury boxes that cost an arm & leg,despite prices jumping faster than inflation, despite every single game being on TV & radio. The 'golden era' was a down time for Yankee attendance despite them winning nearly every year. I'm sure if I checked other clubs I'd see even worse patterns.

A fast check of a couple of old teams...
A's: didn't reach 20k a game until 1981, 30k from 89-92, now at 24k
Dodgers: 20k in Brooklyn in 46/47,49; LA started at 23k, 30k in 62, 40k in 78, record of 47k in 07 with top 6 all-time since 2006
Twins/Senators: didn't reach 20k until 1987, 37k the next year, 39k in 2010 is their record, 3 of top 4 years since 2010
White Sox: 20k in 1960, then again in '77, 30k in '91 (new park), record in 2006 (36k)

Just those examples show clearly that game attendance is at all-time highs now with the exception of poorly marketed teams or teams that have driven down hope lately (Jays fit that...geez did August kill us Jay fans). The 1950's were not a golden era by any stretch unless you liked the Yankees winning year in/year out.
   37. The District Attorney Posted: August 30, 2014 at 02:41 PM (#4782428)
who is this poster, that he deserved that kinda comment?(did I miss a name change?)
He's got an Artie Ziff type gimmick. It's kinda weird.

TFA sez:
going by measures like attendance and revenue, everything is just fine, and this is where a lot of partisans are happy to leave it. More people are going to games, and players and owners are making more money, than ever before; definitionally, nothing is wrong at all. The problem is that this obviously isn't right... baseball is now essentially a regional game, its success more a function of a bubble in television rights fees and of the money and free time its aging fanbase has with the kids out of the house and retirement approaching than anything else. The economic argument that baseball is doing great and the cultural one that it's increasingly irrelevant, it turns, aren't so neatly separated.
... which is essentially a falsifiable theory, I would think. If this is indeed the case, it's hard to imagine a scenario where baseball isn't in much worse shape in 10 years than it is now. Bubbles by definition burst, and old people by definition get older, right?

So, I'm tempted to just respond with "okay, maybe, we'll see." I will say that MLB is clearly trying to position Trout as the Face of the Game (are his Subway commercials only played during baseball games? I dunno). But, they only have a certain amount of control over that. Jeter became Jeter because the Yankees won a bunch, he had memorable moments in big games, he dated actresses, etc. We don't know if Trout, or anyone else, will be in a position to get that famous. (It's obviously much easier for basketball to hitch its wagon to its best player, since that guy can indeed single-handedly get his team deep into the playoffs, due to the nature of the sport.)

Now, if everyone got Jeter's press -- refusing to change positions is great because it means you're an alpha male and the other guy is a wuss, sleeping around is great because you're able to keep it out of the press (because we don't report it), etc. -- then sure, everyone would be more popular. And if no one ever reported on steroids, then baseball would be more popular. That road leads nowhere to me, though. Do you really expect a reporter to sit on a news story because it's bad for the sport? That should not be his or her job. If anything, I think reporters are too reluctant to jeopardize their "access" by reporting things that the powers that be don't like.
   38. BDC Posted: August 30, 2014 at 02:59 PM (#4782432)
that doesn't make any sense

Nah, all I'm saying is that the NFL plays proportionally way more day games. I am a master of the bloody obvious :)
   39. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 30, 2014 at 03:00 PM (#4782433)
But being of the elder persuasion myself, I totally agree. I watch far more NFL games on TV than MLB, largely due to bedtime constraints..


Except during the playoffs, that doesn't make any sense. The NFL has only two games per week where bedtime constraints aren't at issue. The night NFL games run later than the night MLB games.

That's but one very narrow way of looking at it. Most football fans still want to watch their own team's games above all. And while schedules vary, if you take Baltimore as an example, the Ravens will play 14 day games and 2 night games during the 2014 regular season. Meanwhile, the Orioles will have played 47 day games and 115 night games, with many not ending until well after midnight.

If you get the NFL Sunday Ticket, you can catch the the vast majority of the games on any week's schedule after finishing lunch and before sitting down to dinner.

Fox and CBS combined average about 40 million viewers every Sunday for their day games, while none of the NFL's regular season night games have ever drawn that much. During the playoffs when night games run late, the viewership nearly always peaks before the final quarter, despite the fact that far more football fans have a financial stake in the outcome.

And there's also this difference: The NFL's late night games during the playoffs are never scheduled on work nights. Their Sunday "night" games, including the Super Bowl, begin at 6:30 EST.
   40. cardsfanboy Posted: August 30, 2014 at 04:28 PM (#4782475)
2) Franchise moving for first time in a long, long time - the Expos were hurt bad by #1 then were left in the hands of a scumbag who took anti-marketing to a whole new level then was rewarded royally for doing so


People argue that MLB is dropping popularity in comparison to other sports, yet MLB has had only one franchise move since 1973, in comparison the NFL has had the Colts, Browns, Rams, Raiders(twice), Oilers, Cardinals(all since 1982)....or the NBA with
Nets(From new york, to jersey, to brooklyn), Super sonics, Hornets, Grizzlies(all since 2000); Kings, Clippers, Jazz, Braves(became clippers), Kings...not really sure that MLB is the franchise that is being hurt by relocation.

   41. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: August 30, 2014 at 05:20 PM (#4782494)
Start times and drug scandals, fine, fine. But if you ask 10 young people who like sports but not baseball why, all ten of them will say because it's too slow and boring. And they are right.
   42. BDC Posted: August 30, 2014 at 05:42 PM (#4782504)
Well, baseball's been slower than football since the inception of the forward pass, and than basketball since the shot clock was adopted, and since hockey forever. The only sport it's faster than is cricket. The wonder is that people watched it for as long as they did :)
   43. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: August 30, 2014 at 05:55 PM (#4782509)
It's boring to them because they don't play it, and because they don't play it, they don't appreciate the difficulty of it.

I was playing golf the day the Red Sox traded for Cespedes. I was making the turn and saw the report on the TV in the clubhouse of the course. When I was back on the course, I passed 4 kids playing down the 9th hole as I was playing up the adjacent hole. I asked them if they followed baseball, with the intent of telling them about the trade. "Nope", one of them answered. Then, "Sorry".

This is why baseball is dying. Kids aren't playing it in the numbers they used to, and they don't follow it.
   44. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: August 30, 2014 at 07:07 PM (#4782527)
That's but one very narrow way of looking at it. Most football fans still want to watch their own team's games above all. And while schedules vary, if you take Baltimore as an example, the Ravens will play 14 day games and 2 night games during the 2014 regular season. Meanwhile, the Orioles will have played 47 day games and 115 night games, with many not ending until well after midnight.
So, in other words, if I don't want to stay up late I can watch 47 Oriole games¹ but only 14 Ravens games?²

If you get the NFL Sunday Ticket, you can catch the the vast majority of the games on any week's schedule after finishing lunch and before sitting down to dinner.
No; you can watch two games (if you have a late dinner). Or parts of several games, I guess. Similarly, if you have Extra Innings, you can do the same thing with MLB on Sundays.

And there's also this difference: The NFL's late night games during the playoffs are never scheduled on work nights. Their Sunday "night" games, including the Super Bowl, begin at 6:30 EST.
Yes; that's why I said "except during the playoffs," and then added, "The postseason is the major problem."


¹ Note that for people who want to make historical comparisons: when I was growing up, I didn't have HTS, which meant that I could only watch about 40 games per year, period, afternoon or evening. And there wasn't any TiVo, so if I wasn't home, I didn't get to watch.

² Note that all of this discussion is east-coast-centric.
   45. McCoy Posted: August 30, 2014 at 07:13 PM (#4782528)
The whole baseball thing on TV is a giant red herring. Pretty much all growing sports get crappy TV coverage and kids simply don't care. For whatever reason, and I think the reason is that baseball skews older, baseball fans are the crankiest and most negative bunch of rooters out of all the organized sports. It is like baseball fans simply cannot be happy unless everyone on the planet thinks baseball as of right now is terrible. Yesterday? Awesome. Today? Crap. Tomorrow? Gonna be even worse.
   46. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 30, 2014 at 08:51 PM (#4782546)
That's but one very narrow way of looking at it. Most football fans still want to watch their own team's games above all. And while schedules vary, if you take Baltimore as an example, the Ravens will play 14 day games and 2 night games during the 2014 regular season. Meanwhile, the Orioles will have played 47 day games and 115 night games, with many not ending until well after midnight.

So, in other words, if I don't want to stay up late I can watch 47 Oriole games¹ but only 14 Ravens games?²


Which in other words is 88% of the Ravens games vs. 29% of Orioles games.

² Note that all of this discussion is east-coast-centric.

47% of the population and 40% of MLB's franchises are in the Eastern time zone. Throw in the Central zone and it grows to 70% and 73%.

¹ Note that for people who want to make historical comparisons: when I was growing up, I didn't have HTS, which meant that I could only watch about 40 games per year, period, afternoon or evening. And there wasn't any TiVo, so if I wasn't home, I didn't get to watch.

Don't get me wrong. To me this is the golden age to end all golden ages for fans like me who can take their games mostly on TV. I'm just talking about the effects of so many late ending games on people who for one reason or another can't (or won't) stay up to watch the last few innings.
   47. Curse of the Andino Posted: August 31, 2014 at 12:22 AM (#4782645)
I think you'll find twentysomethings don't even watch TV, period. The ones who have jobs and apartments (a smaller subset than prior generations) tend to go Netflix + Internet. MLBAM seems to be doing quite a bit to reach them, actually.
   48. DavidFoss Posted: August 31, 2014 at 07:48 AM (#4782671)
I think you'll find twentysomethings don't even watch TV, period. The ones who have jobs and apartments (a smaller subset than prior generations) tend to go Netflix + Internet. MLBAM seems to be doing quite a bit to reach them, actually.

I take it none of them are here? :-) Where do the kids these days go to discuss the base ball?

   49. BDC Posted: August 31, 2014 at 08:55 AM (#4782689)
These kids are on WhatsApp discussing Mike Trout's oWAR in conversations consisting solely of emojis. Not like my childhood when I sent telegrams to my crosstown friends remarking on Ron Santo's batting average.
   50. haggard Posted: August 31, 2014 at 09:02 AM (#4782696)
Baseball's big advantage over other sports was that it was the best sport for following in the newspaper. That's obviously gone.

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