Sentinel-Echo.com

Opinion

May 9, 2014

On The Rebound: Not ready to bury baseball

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — The buzz in national sports surrounds the NBA playoffs and the NFL draft. The sport that has a season in full swing is relegated to the second page. Baseball is almost an afterthought this time of year.

We hear numbers tossed around about how the NFL has replaced baseball as the national pastime or that basketball may even be No. 2. The problem is the numbers don’t add up to the demise of baseball when you look at the scorecard.

First let’s look at the reported decline in baseball participation at the youth level. The first number that is tossed our way is that enrollment in Little League baseball have dropped almost 25 percent since the mid 1990s. There is no question participation has dropped in youth sports across the board. We have even seen it locally. What the numbers don’t show in the dramatic increase in travel teams.  It’s not always a case of kids quitting baseball, sometimes it is just kids quitting Little League.

If you would rather look at the money, Major League Baseball grossed about $1.5 billion in the mid 1990s. That number grew to $8 billion in 2013 and will continue to grow with increased television revenue this season. So baseball might not be surpassing the NFL, but it’s not exactly starving either.

So where is baseball dying? Maybe it is attendance at the ballpark?

Last season attendance dropped about 1 percent to just over 74 million fans going to games. Yes that is a drop, but it still represented the sixth highest annual attendance in baseball history. The top 10 years for baseball attendance have all come in the past 10 years.

The San Francisco Giants ended last year with a streak of 246 consecutive sellouts. The Reds set an attendance record at Great American Ballpark with just under 2.5 million fans.

The strong attendance figures even drop down to the minor leagues and spring training. The Cubs regularly sold out their 15,000 seat spring training stadium in Mesa, Arizona.

The fact that the NFL currently rules the sports landscape is hardly debatable. The NBA creates more buzz by marketing stars like Kevin Durant and LeBron James. That doesn’t mean baseball isn’t strong or that it is not poised to make another surge in the regular cycle that is sport popularity.

There have been sports that lost their grip on the national interest. If you look back 50 years, boxing and horse racing were more popular than NFL or the NBA. If you look back 50 years, you will also see baseball among the top three sports and it will be there in 50 more.

mhoward@sentinel-echo.com

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • mitch.jpg On The Rebound: An almost completely true fish tale

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • denis.jpg Direct Kick: Did Lana cross the line with her remark?

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • mitch.jpg On The Rebound: All Star Game less important than Wiffle Ball

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • denis.jpg Direct Kick: A very eventful week in sports

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • The shining kingdom

    The drop in gas prices locally is a welcome sight for most residents in the area with gas falling under $3.60 per gallon.

    July 16, 2014

  • Letter to the editor: Thanks, Sentinel-Echo

    In the July 4 edition of the Sentinel-Echo, (last page, section 1), the entire page was given to quotes of references to God, the Declaration of Independence, and our constitution by our founding fathers, former presidents, Supreme Court judges, etc. 

    July 14, 2014

  • Zamperini's story was inspiring

    I had never heard the names of Louis Zamperini and Russel Allen Phillips until my pastor gave me a book, “Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption,” by author Laura Hillenbrand, who wrote, “Seabiscuit: An American Legend” a few years ago.

    July 11, 2014

  • The tales of Dr. Robert E. Pennington

    When Dr. H. V. Pennington began to practice medicine in Laurel County times were hard and medical methods were primitive, compared to today. 

    July 11, 2014

  • Where did that red truck go?

     We were sitting out on the front porch last Saturday afternoon when a  big, red, late- model pick up whizzed by on Charlie Brown.  It looked like there was a man driving and a woman riding shotgun  

    July 7, 2014

  • A change for Pace

    Let me tell you a little about my friend Candice Pace. We were sitting in the fountain square the other day and she was telling me about how she had driven to Pikeville, where she’s from, to visit with her mom. Along the way, deep in McCreary County, she passed three turtles that were crossing the road.Let me tell you a little about my friend Candice Pace. We were sitting in the fountain square the other day and she was telling me about how she had driven to Pikeville, where she’s from, to visit with her mom. Along the way, deep in McCreary County, she passed three turtles that were crossing the road.

    July 7, 2014

Facebook
AP Video
Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Palestinians and Israeli Soldiers Clash Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Now that school is out, what are your family’s summer vacation plans?

A. No major plans. We will probably hang out around Laurel County.
B. Going to the beach!
C. Kentucky has a lot of wonderful state parks, and we plan to visit a few and enjoy quality family time.
     View Results