Point Counterpoint: is Baseball still America’s sport

 

Joshua Percy Anchor Staff

Baseball is one of America’s favorite sports, some dare say it is America’s sport. While some will argue that the issues with pace of play and decreasing viewership have caused baseball to secede the title of America’s sports to the football and the NFL in actuality baseball is still America’s sport, and here is why.

While tv viewership for baseball is at a decline, all tv viewership is declining. Generally, no one watches tv anymore, they prefer streaming services such as netflix and hulu. The argument of TV views droppings is not a solid one, while it is a good point. However, baseball teams still bring out a large crowd to there games. While people dont have 4 hours to watch a baseball game at home, a large amount of people do have 5-6 hours to enjoy a live baseball game and the atmosphere it creates. Baseball is still more of a competitive sport than football, in baseball you have a good 10-15 competitive teams while football is more predictable and has less competition.

The largest argument is that there are still more people around America that wants to play baseball than any other sport. How can we prove that? Well every baseball team has 3 minor league teams they have to fill, if there were not enough players, then they wouldn’t need those teams. The want to play baseball is greater than any other sport in America, and with that reason baseball is still America’s Sport.

Jake Elmslie – Sports Editor

Baseball was at one point the most popular sport in America, however over the last decade or so the people who manage the game at it’s highest level have done nothing to help it stay on top and the numbers show it.

The average sports fan simply does not have the same sort of fervor for baseball that existed in decades past. Take this years world series for example, you had two of the most popular franchise in Major League Baseball history, the Boston Red Sox and the Los Angeles Dodgers. There are two teams with enormous fan bases, from two of the biggest markets in sports, two teams that should carry coast to coast interest. Despite all of this however the MLB saw a 23 percent drop off in average world series game viewership from 2017 and a 38 percent drop off in average viewership from 2016. One could argue that it is unfair to compare 2018 to 2017 or 2016 as both those series lasted seven games as opposed to this year’s world series five. However even when compared to the last five game world series, 2015’s clash between the New York Mets and the Kansas City Royals, two teams with considerably smaller fan bases and less storied histories, 2018 still saw lower ratings.

Now as mentioned previously television ratings are down across the board, however baseball has seen a far greater dip in ratings than it’s competitors, namely the National Football League. While game five of this years world series did manage to outdo the concurrently airing Monday Night Football broadcast, these sorts of occurrences are the exception to the rule. Even less significant NFL games regularly outperform MLB games of higher importance.

The MLB also makes next to no effort to adapt to a modern audience. As consumers attention spans get shorter baseball games become inexplicably longer. Not only this but the games themselves have become less action packed. Year after year less and less balls are put into play leading to the state of affairs today, a game focused primarily on ether homeruns or strike outs. These shifts in the way the game is played lead to a less appealing for the more casual baseball fan, the sort of fan any professional sport needs to thrive.

The hardcore baseball fan will always exist, people like myself will always delight in pouring over the statistics and nuances of the game. However if baseball wants to avoid going the way of horseracing or boxing, sports once considered institutions in America that have devolved into niche events major changes in the product the MLB presents must be made. For the time being though the football and the NFL reign supreme as the sport that draws both the highest ratings and level of national interest and until that changes baseball is far from America’s sport.