Sandoval’s Sports Series 3

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Sandoval’s Sports Series 3

Kayli Sandoval, Editor-in-Chief

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  The sport of baseball, or its entertainment value for that matter, has always been a bit controversial. Each game is fairly long, and the fact is, nowadays, most don’t have the attention span, or patience,  to sit down and watch a full game. Many people will be quick to claim that the sport is dying, saying younger generations don’t care for the sport, or the game is losing countless viewers every year. But, is this true?

  Well, it is true that the national rating of baseball is decreasing, but does that make baseball a dying sport? As the NFL has undoubtedly taken the title of America’s favorite pastime from MLB, the League ponders how they can regain fans and viewers. They’ve created new, contentious rules to shorten the length of games, and many have proposed to shorten the season, which is normally 162 games — and that isn’t even including the postseason.

  However, let’s be real, these changes won’t make any major impact on how many fans are tuning in or how long a game runs. The new rules have only shredded an average of five minutes per game, according to an MLB miscellaneous year-by-year averages and totals encyclopedia. On average, a typical nine-inning game will last around three hours (baseball-reference.com). Although baseball is a timeless sport, which many admire for just that, others believe that is exactly the problem with the game and the cause for the sport to “die.”

  According to Sports Illustrated, some of the new rules that were approved in 2017 and implemented the following season include “a no-pitch intentional walk and a time-limit for a manager to decide when to challenge a play.” The intentional walk rule revokes the act of a pitcher having to throw four pitches outside of the strike zone and allows the manager to “signal his decision down to home plate instead” (si.com).

  Other rules that have been implemented to the League during 2018, according to the National Public Radio, involve limited mound visits, shortened between-inning breaks, timing of pitcher changes, and quicker instant replay plans (npr.org).

  According to an article in Time Magazine, out of any major sport, baseball does have the oldest fan base and the habits of younger generations do not seem to supply them with “the concentration and long attention span that baseball demands.” In an interview that Time had with Michael Haupert, a professor of economics at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse who studies baseball as a business, he explained why younger generations often do not find amusement in the sport: “Failure is more common than success. If my students get a third of the answers right on their test, they flunk. If a ballplayer gets a hit a third of the time, he’s often one of the stars of the game” (Time.com). In basketball, it is a matter of seconds before one of the teams scores. In the NFL, there is always a new play being executed each down. The majority of changes being made to the game are completely unnecessary, as the result of the changes are a matter of minutes.

  According to an ESPN article, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred stated his thoughts on being compared to the NFL, “I’m not satisfied with being [number two]… But comparing a sport that gets played once a week to a sport that gets played almost every day is apples and oranges. We’re never going to stack up with a comparison that doesn’t make sense.”

  Manfeld is right. As much as MLB ratings get compared to the ratings of the NFL, the numbers do not tell us much. “To compare anything to football’s ratings is to illuminate nothing due to football’s status and primacy in the national consciousness, which is beyond dispute,” stated an article on NBC Sports written by Sports Reporter Craig Calcaterra (sportsworld.nbcsports.com).

  The aforementioned article goes on to explain, “Baseball does quite well, however, when one considers the overall television ratings trends. Unfortunately, hardly anyone ever considers those trends when piling on baseball’s allegedly low TV ratings. Indeed, baseball is almost exclusively compared with the anomalous NFL — or, more often, its own history — as opposed to current television programming and the inexorable fragmentation of the TV viewing audience” (sportsworld.nbcsports.com).

  When baseball ratings are judged on their own, they seem to actually be doing well. The sport is also doing very well on a local level. On the business side of baseball, the MLB continues to bring in billions of dollars. According to Forbes, sources at the League said 2017 marked the fifteenth consecutive year MLB has seen record gross revenues, surpassing the $10 billion mark for the first time. Looking at the numbers, the League seems to be thriving, and it isn’t because of the new rules.

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