The Slow Death of America’s Pastime
Baseball is a methodic game. Patience prevails, even when you are attacking a 98 mph fastball. However, in a society where fast food is too slow, the interest in baseball, especially for the younger audiences is dwindling at an alarming rate. Between 2009 - 2019 tickets sold for major league baseball games declined by 10 million per year. Going to a big league game has become an all day affair and if you go at night, you won’t get out until 10pm at the earliest, too late for many kids...the future consumers.
The MLB Commissioner is getting hammered by the players, media and the fans. He, along with the owners he works for, have lost touch with what made this sport great. Video replay challenges, guys stepping out of the box, pitchers taking almost a full minute between pitches and pitcher inspections have, in Miami Marlins manager, Don Mattingly’s words, “made the game unwatchable.” But no one in the Commissioner’s office listens.
I don’t like it but 7 inning games are a good start. As is a time clock to make the pitcher throw the ball to the plate in a more timely manner. Making the batter stay in the batter's box and be ready is another thing. The game needs to be complete in two and a half hours. Three and four hour games are painful, no matter what team wins.
Now Commissioner Manfred has added another slow down mechanism, the pitcher inspection for the “sticky stuff” that he is blaming on the lack of offense in the Major Leagues. Well, the “sticky stuff” has been around longer than the lack of offense problem. The lack of hits and run production problem can be traced to Manfred himself, who decided to deaden the baseball. I guess young fans don’t like home runs.
As long as Rob Manfred is the Commissioner of Major League Baseball, we can continue to watch the sport that so many love continue to fade away.