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HAS BASEBALL’S TIME PASSED?

Posted by Tim Bryce on May 22, 2013

BRYCE ON THE NATIONAL PASTIME

– It looks more like a three ring circus as opposed to a sporting venue.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
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I recently had a friend make the observation that nobody goes to baseball stadiums to watch baseball anymore. He made this observation after attending a Spring Training game down here in Dunedin, Florida where the Toronto Blue Jays practice. Prior to the game he noticed all of the Canadians in attendance got up to proudly sing “Oh, Canada!” then settled in to watch and study the game. In contrast, the Americans gave a lethargic rendition of our national anthem, and then did everything but watch the game.

I have to admit, my friend had a point. When I go to see our home town Tampa Bay Rays, or my old team, the Cincinnati Reds, I am often distracted by the eye pollution, the people wandering around the stadium aimlessly, or partying at the many social venues they have. Last year, when I visited the Reds, a friend sprung for some rather expensive tickets featuring a restaurant venue where you could gorge yourself on all of the local cuisine if you were so inclined. Many people stayed inside the air conditioned clubhouse where they imbibed on cocktails. Television sets were laced throughout the clubhouse, but I didn’t see too many people watching them. As for me, I settled into my seat outside and watched the game.

I’m one of those guys who has always been a student of the game. When I go with my old high school buddies, we talk about such things as the positioning of the fielders, how their feet are placed, where and how the batter is standing in the batter’s box, the pitcher’s eyes and his motion to first base, and dozens of other nuances. We also talk about history, and who had what batting average. I’m not sure why I’m like this, maybe because I am an old Little League coach. Whatever the reason, I’m an anomaly as compared to the other people in attendance who need to be entertained. While others are downing all of the local delicacies, I’m happy with a beer and a simple bag of peanuts.

Sometimes I keep score of the game myself, an old habit I picked up while coaching. I do this more to study patterns, and see where the batters are likely to hit the ball. Most of the other people in the stands couldn’t care less. They are more concerned with getting a free T-shirt as shot out of an air cannon by the stadium crew.

To me, baseball is a great game, full of nuances, communications, and strategy, but I don’t believe Americans share the passion for it as they did years ago. To illustrate, membership in Little League has dropped 25% since 1996. Attendance at MLB games in the 21st century has been flat, which probably answers why ballparks have been turned into three ring circuses.

It is certainly not the national pastime anymore. What a shame. Then again, my friend who made the observation about baseball, also noted basketball has changed likewise. People go to games, pay hefty prices for tickets, and expect to be entertained as opposed to watching the game. Maybe they think of such venues as another form of “American Idol” or “Dancing with the Stars.”

Maybe I should just stick to watching Little League games or the Minor Leagues. They may not have all the glitz of the Majors, but they certainly try harder.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

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Copyright © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  SOME THOUGHTS ON MEMORIAL DAY – It’s not about barbecues, auto racing, or the start of summer.

LAST TIME:  THE DECLINE OF CRAFTSMANSHIP – They are getting harder and harder to find.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), KGAB-AM 650 “The Morning Zone” with host Dave Chaffin (weekdays, 6:00-10:00am Mountain), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News with Dave and Lance” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Also look for Tim’s postings in the Palm Harbor Patch, The Gentlemen’s Association, and throughout the Internet.

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2 Responses to “HAS BASEBALL’S TIME PASSED?”

  1. sirchristiantheheck@reagan.com said

    It’s just not the country we used to know anymore. Nothing’s the same as it used to be. Complete games for a pitcher is a rarity. Relief pitchers and pinch-hitters are used as situations dictate based on statistics generated in this “information technology age” we are engrossed in today. But, I’M still an avid fan of the game and enjoy watching whenever I can.

    Like

  2. […] Twitter Facebook ← HAS BASEBALL’S TIME PASSED? […]

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