We’ve all heard the narrative, and it’s been touted for years…. BASEBALL IS DYING. In recent past- and in the face of much relevant evidence- the pitchfork-wielding simpletons have doubled down with BASEBALL IS DEAD. But folks, we’re here to tell you, with absolute certainty
The latest piece of incontrovertible evidence supporting this claim is the signing of 22 year old superstar/ face of baseball / one of the most exciting players in all of Sport, Fernando Tatis Jr, to a 14 year $340M contract, by a team in the 27th largest media market in MLB, coming off a shortened season that saw no fans attend games.
Baseball does have problems, though.
All of the above positivity is by no means to say baseball, specifically MLB, is perfect. It is FAR from perfect. As the “nerds” have found every advantage to produce the most efficient and deadly players and rosters, MLB hasn’t handled it well. To the contrary, they’ve actually leaned into the “worst” of it. In one classic example, as players were seeking more power with “optimized launch angles”, MLB dicked with the baseball to ALLOW for more HR. The result was MORE players swinging for the fences, thus more HR’s, and along with it, more K’s, and fewer balls in play. All that to say… a more boring, and LONGER game. These are real issues.
Fans have responded, with decreases in average attendance each year from 2016-2019. In 2019, the avg was 28,199, which is the lowest since 2002. Now, what the “Dying Sport” crowd won’t tell you is, historically that’s still a good number, but the fact remains it’s been on a decrease for most of the decade.
Now, we have reactionary half-measures to combat it, like MLB messing with the ball again, which should yield some results (fewer HR, more balls in play), but they should also adjust the strike zone, to reduce the K’s as well. Then, not only will hitters adjust how they swing, pitchers will adjust how they pitch…and meet in the middle. Hopefully, The Jester, will wake up and get something done.
Why those negatives don’t matter
While attendance has decreased
- Revenues have skyrocketed
- Every new TV deal is record setting. In 2020, MLB and Turner reached a 7 year $3.2 BILLION deal.
- Team values do nothing but go up. The Royals, a mediocre team, in a 50 year old stadium and a shitty market, just sold for over $1B.
- Teams are turning profits, and handing out record setting contracts year after year.
Large corporations and billionaires, on the whole, aren’t typically people who keep shelling out increasing amounts of money if it’s a dying business. Rather than running from MLB, they are buying in, and investing like crazy. Half the league has stadiums less than 20 years old, with 2 opened in the last 5 years, and two more on the way.
They need to fix the on-field game. It’s not an overhaul, it’s changes that will allow the game to fix itself.
- Pitch Clock
- Universal DH
- Fix the Baseball
- Adjust the strike zone
- Don’t be afraid to include strange dimensions/ features in ballparks
Off the field, they need to FINALLY figure out how to market their stars. People argue “baseball is boring”…so the fuck what. Ain’t nothing more boring than Golf or Tennis, and those sports have marketing mega-stars. Christ, I still remember seeing Dennis Connors commericals in the 80’s, and he was an America’s Cup Sailor…I don’t even know what the America’s Cup is, or if it still exists.
People will buy into what you tell them to buy in to. And right now MLB has some of the best, most exiting stars in history. Guys like Tatis, Ronald Acuna, Juan Soto, Fransico Lindor, Shohei Otani….these guys are great players, and have interesting personalities….NOW DO SOMETHING WITH THEM
Baseball needs changes to thrive, but it’s clear it isn’t DYING. If the Jester would listen to us, they’ll be riding high in no time.