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BASEBALL’S DECLINING APPEAL TO YOUTH

Duran

By Frank Duran (High School Student at The Brooklyn School for Math & Research)

Special to PureSportsNY

January 22, 2016, Brooklyn, NY  In America, baseball is known to be a very popular sport, according to aspenprojectplay.com. The website shows a  graph  that baseball has had a decrease in youth participation. In 2013, 5.3 million children aged 6-12 participated in baseball activities. Compare that to the following year when there was a 14.4% decrease, and  there were 4.5 million children participating in baseball, aged 6-12.

Baseball is viewed as boring to today’s youth. There are also many key factors that contribute to this problem. One problem is the average baseball game length. According to Major League Baseball, throughout the 2014 season, the average baseball game was 3 hours and 2 minutes. Children, nowadays wouldn’t bother watching a three-hour baseball game. They would probably much rather play video games or be doing something else.

Another factor of this conflict, is the success of other non-baseball athletes.  Super athletes such as Stephen Curry and Odell Beckham Jr. are on the rise and are persuading  children to tune in. Children and teenagers all over the country view these talented star athletes as idols, with their successful in-game contributions and jaw-dropping plays day in and day out. The way some kids view it , they would much rather watch Odell making a one-handed catch, and Stephen Curry making it rain with 7 three-pointers in a game, than seeing Felix Hernandez throw a complete game shut-out with 14 strikeouts in a game or Mike Trout hitting three home runs in a game. MLB is aware of this issue and has attempted to make these baseball games shorter. The 2015 season was the first time that the MLB imposed a timer in all 30 stadiums.

MLB states that in rule 8.04, “There shall be no delay by the pitcher and the pitcher should deliver the ball to the batter within 12 seconds after he receives the ball.” There are also many rules that have been created and utilized this season. The “batter’s box rule” where the batter at the plate is only allowed to have 1 foot inside the batter’s box during the at-bat. Moreover, according to the Washington Post,“Baseball is struggling to hook kids.” According to the Nielsen ratings, 50% of the baseball viewers are 55 years or older.”

Young people just aren’t into baseball anymore as the Nielsen ratings suggest. “Those in the 18-34 age group are 14% less likely to report such interest.” This quote proves that teens are reluctant to follow baseball it. The crisis of youth viewership and participation in baseball needs to be resolved. As a young fan, it would kill me  to see this crisis becoming even more of a threat to baseball. I love talking to people about baseball, especially my peers. Nothing develops a bond like a good baseball talk.

Frank Duran is a high school sophomore with aspirations of being a sports journalist. He attends The Brooklyn School for Math and Research and also is a student with the Liberty Partnership Program.

 

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