Is baseball facing a period of irreversible decline or growth?

Everyone has an opinion. That opinion can color the perception of an event or action. Take, for example, the concept of a rainy day. If you look out your window, you see that it is raining. Precipitation falls from clouds that are oversaturated with water. This is not up for debate. However, how you view that precipitation can vary from person to person. For the person who wants it to rain to provide crucial water to a yard or lawn, the idea of ​​a rainy day is a good thing. Therefore, a rainy day can be a bad thing if you were hoping to do an outdoor sports activity or want to get out of the house.

So it is with the current state of baseball. At this point, the game appears at a critical point. Its popularity with the American public is declining and the median age of those cheering for the game is aging.

Attendance continued to decline, although receiving a rebound from the 2020 pandemic-limited season. The same goes for TV ratings for regular and post-season matchups. While there was improvement from 2020, the 2021 season numbers reflect the continued downward trend in general interest in professional baseball.

Factor in that baseball is facing its first significant work stoppage since the nightmare of the 1994-5 season, and perhaps the positive from the 2021 season for MLB was a mirage and the game could see its definitive descent from national pastime to niche entertainment. event location.

The thing that has caused the most damage to the game of baseball certainly hasn’t been the World Wars (the game has survived two of them); nor pandemics (surviving two of the most life-altering in the past 100+ years); not even gambling/drug/fuel/technology misuse actions. No, what has been the greatest threat to baseball and its most valuable asset is labor disputes. Labor disputes and arguments over money have cost MLB two World Series, not to mention countless games and countless millions in adjusted numbers.

But is this labor dispute a threat or an opportunity? In a recent piece, the Sports news presents the argument that baseball tends to be a dangerous place. Based on a Seton Hall survey of more than 1,500 adults, 44% who identified themselves as avid sports fans said they would be less interested in baseball when it starts. In addition, 52% of the general public said they cared less about baseball. With all the downward trends in viewership and audience numbers, the outright apathy of more than half of the American public (judging by this poll alone) is a major warning sign for the powers that be out there.

But for all those who view the labor problem as a bad thing, there are those who see opportunity ahead of the game. In The week, a weekly news magazine that takes diverse stances from across the media spectrum, a recent article discussed ways baseball could use exclusion to its advantage. While it is recognized that baseball is unlikely to regain the National Pastime title, there is evidence that baseball has a lot to offer. It generated the 2nd most income from the big sports. It offers a long list of compelling superstars with great talent and great stories. Baseball’s embrace of multiple technological elements provides new and innovative ways for fans to enjoy the game. The video game MLB The Show is one of the more popular games.

Of course, the article offered other suggestions for baseball to get out of the lockout in a strong position, from creating its own version of the NFL RedZone show to quickly switch between games to catch great plays to making more use of it. its potential in sports betting (history despite).

So, just like the rainy day, so is the current state of baseball. While no one should be thrilled that the current game in baseball is about earnings and labor relations, is the path presented by the exclusion a good thing or a bad thing? On the one hand, a protracted labor dispute could push the game into dark places not seen since 1994-1995.

Still, the labor dispute could offer baseball a chance for a restart. Even in the dark ages of baseball, there’s something that comes along, whether it’s a superstar like Ruth or Ripken, or a change in the game (expanded playoffs, revamped offensive innovations) that gets the fans back. Part of that will depend on how long the labor unrest lasts. But if both owners and players can come to an equitable settlement, there is potential for financial and fan growth for the game…if they can take the right steps.

Shall they? That remains to be seen.

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