I’ve never really been in to the Major League Baseball or the sport in general. As a child, I’d not played so much as t-ball, and though my Dad taught my brothers and I to throw, catch, and bat (he loved the sport, and initially went to college for it, I believe), it never stuck with me. I never owned a glove (that I can remember), never traded baseball cards, and didn’t even see The Sandlot until I was in college.
Sure, I’ve been to a Mets game, I’ve rooted for the Yankees during World Series gone by. I’ve been to a few Richmond Braves games as well. But I’ve never been able to get into the game itself because of the tedium.
OH THE TEDIUM, particularly of the professional level. I don’t care what psychological games are played between the pitcher and the batter or what-not – it’s boring to watch the cold-molasses pace of a game with the batters forever stepping in and out of the box, practice swinging, spitting, chewing, scratching themselves. And the pitchers, too! Looking over their shoulders every now and again to try their hand at sending a potential base stealer back to the dugout. A baseball game can easily last three hours! And this isn’t because it needs to. Baseball doesn’t really have a clock like American Football, Soccer, Basketball or Hockey, so there’s no pressure to do much in a timely fashion. And it shows. And all this for 162 games a year? No thanks.
I understand a televised NFL game runs for around 3 hours as well because of TV time outs, but at least the televised portion of the game primarily shows playing time instead of diddling around with your cleats or taking a fifth practice swing. Soccer is even better, I think, with near non-stop game play and minimal commercial breaks (usually during the half).
I titled this post because I feel that baseball’s time has come and gone, and I don’t feel bad about it for a second. The chart below shows the results of Gallup polls over the past 14 years:
Gallup has another poll about general sports popularity in the United States which seems to indicate that baseball is at best holding steady behind basketball as America’s favorite sport to follow (11%) with football soundly in the lead at 43% as of December last year. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not trying to suggest that the quality of the sport is in anyway correlated with its popularity, but it sure does support my feeling that baseball is on its way out.
And as far as I’m concerned, it can go.