The American Pastime Has Past Its Time

A new poll commissioned by Marist College found American interest in baseball is at its lowest numbers in a decade.

A mere 44 percent say they watch the game, while 56 percent said they do not. Those numbers represent the lowest viewership percentages for “America’s Pastime,” since 2009.

As Paul Bedard writes in the Washington Examiner, it’s not just the American public that seems to have lost interest in the game.

“So far, Trump hasn’t joined in the practice of presidents throwing out the first pitch on opening day, started by William Howard Taft in 1912. Only one president since then, Jimmy Carter, didn’t participate.”

While the declining numbers in raw viewership are bad enough for baseball, the problem gets worse when you consider that MLB has taken its biggest fan losses among younger viewers.

While it’s nice to occasionally – very occasionally – go to the ballpark, I haven’t been a baseball fan since the 1994-95 strike. The game has gotten too specialized, too long, and too boring. As a hockey and lacrosse fan I am obviously biased, but does it surprise anyone younger fans have lost interest?

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10 thoughts on “The American Pastime Has Past Its Time

  1. This is total bullshit. Every year I hear some crap about baseball viewership being down, and yet baseball seems to do just fine. Baseball is a as popular as it ever was, but it has become more regional. It also has huge viewership amongst the Latino population, which will NEVER show up in any poll. But here’s the billion dollar question. If baseball is on some sort of slow decline, why have recent regional cable deals for baseball broadcasting rights been valued in the billions?

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  2. J-Dub – Fair point, because I know it’s still popular in the northeast. My guess as to the contracts is a little of both. ESPN wants the rights because it’s lucrative, but ESPN also usually way overpays for sports rights.

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  3. I used to live and die for baseball. I endured their first strike and grumbled a lot, but after the second one I walked away and have never gone back. Same with the NFL, except that while I just don’t care anymore about baseball, I hate NFL with the heat of 1000 stars and I hope they go bankrupt. Baseball, like I said, just have no interest.

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  4. Like RNG, I used to live and die for baseball. I officiated the sport for years – High School, American Legion (including some future MLB players), and some college. I have been known to stop at a random little league game just to watch. But I’ve really lost interest over the past years, in part because of moving down to Florida and only occasionally being able to watch a Phillies game on TV, but mostly because of the changes to the game. I’m so old I remember when a complete game was commonplace, not an aberration. I saw Robin Roberts (the white dude, not the black chick) pitch, Clay Dalrimple behind the plate, and when I played little league I wanted to be like Johnny Callison in right field. I’ve sat behind a steel girder at Connie Mack Stadium with the Balentine sign and the Longine’s clock on the outfield wall. Unfortunately the game today doesn’t match up with my nostalgia.

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  5. The DVR is the savior of watching baseball on TV. I can be multitasking and hear the crowd or announcer’s excitement and back it up and see what happened.

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