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improbus
03-05-2010, 10:48 AM
Where do you see baseball in 2020? Am I the only one who is extremely worried about the game and its future? Here are some trends that I see:
-The Steroids issue is not even close to being over.
-The game is not marketed to young people at all and baseball's fan base is aging rapidly. (I teach high school and very few students care about baseball at all.)
-The game has become more and more elitist at lower levels in the US. The rising cost of playing the game has made it very difficult for poorer people to grow up playing ball (Travel teams, equipment, etc...)
-Attendance figures are starting to drop, and that includes the "discount tickets" that teams are constantly offering.
-The myth of the new ballpark is being discovered. The idea that a new ballpark improves your team has been thoroughly disproven. It was similar to cities building lavish new Wal-Mart's at public expense so that Wal-Mart can make more money. Hmmmmmm....
-The dramatic drop of African-American has significantly hurt the game. Think about this. The percentage was at only 8% in 2007 (compared to 19% in 1995) and yet they have won 2 out of the last four NL MVP's (and 6 out the last 9), as well as CC's Cy Young in 2007. That is a huge pool of athletes that has been lost almost completely. Go watch high school and college ball and you will see even less.
-The games are getting longer in a society that has less of an attention span. Are you going to tell me that a 12 year old kid is going to sit through three hours of pitching changes and watching Joe Torre pick his nose?
-Who are the young, marketable stars that will draw people into the game. Joe Mauer? Tim Lincecum? Pedroia? Are any of them even remotely interesting? Pujols is great, but that ESPN commercial showed us everything we need to know about him (that he is a robot).
-Stat nerds (and I somewhat include myself) have made it impossible to talk baseball without terms like, OPS+, VORP, and Park Adjustments. Do you need to know anything about football or hoops to discuss them? Not really.


So here is my question to Reds/Baseball Fans. Where are we going to be in 2020? Is baseball going to be the 3rd sport behind the NBA (which I think is VERY possible)? Is anything going to change? Am I completely off-base with this stuff? I hope that I am, but I'm pretty sure that I'm not.

Spazzrico
03-05-2010, 12:26 PM
I think you have some legitimate concerns to be sure. I would say the barriers to more children playing are looming large.

To me though income/competitiveness disparities are among the most striking problems. Most teams have no realistic shot to make a splash until the stars are just aligned and even when they do it is a flash in the pan because the can't retain their players. Why should any person commit their time and money to watch a team destined to failure. The only reason IMHO that the Reds still have people coming to games is due to the historical legacy of the BRM and strong 1990's teams. Winning brings fans and without a reason to believe that your team can do something, forget it. If you could get more teams to be in a realistic position to make the playoffs deeper in the season, it would work wonders.

bounty37h
03-05-2010, 12:45 PM
There are def legit concerns for the future of this great game, you pointed the big ones out I think. I hear poeple talk about how slow baseball is, etc, there was a recent "study" done on this, and the ball is only in action less then 14 minutes in an average football game. I think if the right people pointed out and marketed the opportunities in baseball as opposed to the other sports, it would pick up serious ground with minority players in the US.

improbus
03-05-2010, 12:58 PM
One other thing that occured to me about minorities and baseball. While the percentage of African Americans playing in the games is low, what is the percentage that actually attend games? I would say that it is even lower. I could probably count the number of minorities at Reds games on my hands. Why is this the case? I don't really have any answers, but it is a strange phenomenon.

FlyerFanatic
03-05-2010, 02:16 PM
the single biggest thing thats gonna hurt baseball imo is the payroll disparities. selig wont change that, the sport is making the most money and has the most viewers its had in years. i can see a new commish coming along and placing a salary cap in the game. its just going to have too. if they dont eventually its gonna be yanks, red sox, mets, dodgers, and then everyone else. it seemed that way back in the 90's when the yanks were winning, but its even more evident now. i think the issue has been put on hold because of the rays, marlins and a few others runs in the post season in the early 2000's. if the yanks didnt have that stretch of like what? 10 yrs? without a WS and won all those years, i think there would be a ton of pressure on selig to put in place a salary cap.

jredmo2
03-05-2010, 02:21 PM
These are definitely concerns, but the decline of baseball has been prophecized plenty of time before.

And, in comparison to the NBA and NHL (two sports I dearly love), the MLB is a picture of health.

I think (and this may just be conjecture) that baseball's live experience will keep it relevant. Going to a game is comparatively cheap, and actually enhances the viewing experience -- unlike in football, where plenty of people have noted hat they find watching the NFL on TV preferable to attending NFL games.

As for the stathead thing: I think it's a give and take. Sure for some people unfamiliar statistics are a barrier, but the debate around it brings more attention to the game. And fantasy baseball, which sort of goes along with that discussion, is more popular than ever.

And with the African-American thing, I think it's a chicken and egg debate: which went first, the fans or the players? Most likely it is just far easier and cheaper for a kid to pick up a basketball and go to the playground.

But I think, maybe, the relative obscurity of college baseball might play a role? Probably not, but think about it: if you're a kid in high school, you hear about high school kids getting courted by high-profile colleges all the time -- that's pretty much instant recognition. Compare that to baseball, where at best you're a prized draft pick and toil away in some backwater town for a while before the casual fan even begins to notice you. Strasburg is the ONLY high school baseball player I can think of that received anywhere near the amount of attention that John Wall, Terrelle Pryor, etc. receive. In those games you graduate high school and become a star.

bounty37h
03-05-2010, 02:47 PM
One other thing that occured to me about minorities and baseball. While the percentage of African Americans playing in the games is low, what is the percentage that actually attend games? I would say that it is even lower. I could probably count the number of minorities at Reds games on my hands. Why is this the case? I don't really have any answers, but it is a strange phenomenon.

One of my black friends once told me its cause baseball is outside in the summer, and black folks dont like heat. Your right though, I have noticed that at games at all levels for fan attendance.

Kingspoint
03-05-2010, 02:52 PM
One of my black friends once told me its cause baseball is outside in the summer, and black folks dont like heat.

Not according to Dusty Baker. According to him, Black guys like heat and don't like cold.

improbus
03-05-2010, 04:21 PM
the single biggest thing thats gonna hurt baseball imo is the payroll disparities. selig wont change that, the sport is making the most money and has the most viewers its had in years. i can see a new commish coming along and placing a salary cap in the game. its just going to have too. if they dont eventually its gonna be yanks, red sox, mets, dodgers, and then everyone else. it seemed that way back in the 90's when the yanks were winning, but its even more evident now. i think the issue has been put on hold because of the rays, marlins and a few others runs in the post season in the early 2000's. if the yanks didnt have that stretch of like what? 10 yrs? without a WS and won all those years, i think there would be a ton of pressure on selig to put in place a salary cap.
I hate to say this, but baseball will never, ever have a salary cap. Why does or should baseball care about competitive balance. They want the Yankees to win. Last year's WS ratings were up 38% from the year before. That number is directly related to the upgrade publically from the Rays to the Yanks. If every WS involved some combination of the Yanks, Cubs, Sox, and Dodgers in the WS, baseball would be thrilled.

Baseball and Selig are interested in the illusion of competitive balance. They want fans to believe they have a chance of winning, not that they actually will win. The illusion is more than enough to bring fans to the park, and so it is good enough for the game. Baseball (and all of the major sports) are complete slaves to TV and will do anything to make them happy. So, why would baseball help the Pirates, A's, and Reds when that would hurt their biggest single investor?

FlyerFanatic
03-05-2010, 05:49 PM
I hate to say this, but baseball will never, ever have a salary cap. Why does or should baseball care about competitive balance. They want the Yankees to win. Last year's WS ratings were up 38% from the year before. That number is directly related to the upgrade publically from the Rays to the Yanks. If every WS involved some combination of the Yanks, Cubs, Sox, and Dodgers in the WS, baseball would be thrilled.

Baseball and Selig are interested in the illusion of competitive balance. They want fans to believe they have a chance of winning, not that they actually will win. The illusion is more than enough to bring fans to the park, and so it is good enough for the game. Baseball (and all of the major sports) are complete slaves to TV and will do anything to make them happy. So, why would baseball help the Pirates, A's, and Reds when that would hurt their biggest single investor?

see you would think that, but again, i think the runs of the d-backs, marlins, rays and cardinals have put the talk on hold. if the cubs and yanks played in the WS this year, would it draw ridiculous ratings? sure, but whenever/if the cubs make it back to the WS, the ratings will be huge. i'm saying if the yanks and dodgers or whatever major market team, were continually in the WS every year, year after year, i think fans would get sick of it. thus you need the parity.

the yanks hadnt won a world series in awhile before last year. that and all the "can a-rod get the monkey off his back" discussion going on. if the yankees continually won, every year for say 10-15 yrs, i would imagine fans would eventually stop tuning in. especially small market team fans.

TC81190
03-05-2010, 06:21 PM
You made some good points until you decided to bring the stats argument into it. At that point, I completely disregarded everything you said.

sivman17
03-05-2010, 07:34 PM
Not according to Dusty Baker. According to him, Black guys like heat and don't like cold.

Well Dusty likes to do things ass backwards so I wouldn't take his word for it.

improbus
03-06-2010, 12:56 AM
You made some good points until you decided to bring the stats argument into it. At that point, I completely disregarded everything you said.

Why do you say that? While I agree that the increase in stats knowledge has vastly improved baseball fans awareness of the game, I'm not sure that I want to spend every at bat thinking of algorithms.

Cant Touch This
03-06-2010, 10:58 AM
You made some good points until you decided to bring the stats argument into it. At that point, I completely disregarded everything you said.


Why do you say that?

Because he's trying to gain admittance to The Club. Where else can someone make 10 completely valid (even if debatable) points, but get entirely pushed aside by someone who doesn't agree with one of them because it questions the all importance of statistics? TC81190 will fit right in.

Incidentally, I do find value in stats. A lot. But I don't have a problem with those who actually like to watch baseball without a calculator.

And sorry to single you out TC81190 but your comment was loaded with an elitist attitude. No reason for that.

improbus
03-06-2010, 12:30 PM
These are definitely concerns, but the decline of baseball has been prophecized plenty of time before.

And, in comparison to the NBA and NHL (two sports I dearly love), the MLB is a picture of health.

If you're a marketer, which league do you see with a brighter future? A league whose stars are A-Rod, an unlikeable admitted steroid user, Pujols, a philanthropic robot, and Joe Mauer, who plays in Minnesota. Or would you rather have Kobe in LA, Wade in Miami, and LeBron in NY (where he will be next year, guaranteed) To me, if the NBA can solve their current financial woes (which are self inflicted), then they can really push the league to the next level.

The NHL is a disaster of an organization, which is a shame because the league has never been more entertaining to watch.

Redus
03-06-2010, 03:49 PM
were all gonna die in 2012 so forget about it!

Ohioballplayer
03-06-2010, 04:52 PM
were all gonna die in 2012 so forget about it!

yup useless discussion, lol.

Ghosts of 1990
03-06-2010, 06:16 PM
This is a great topic for discussion. The game IMHO will always survive at levels like the Major Leagues because of the sheer dollars that it still does make. I'll dive into this deeper after dinner.

improbus
03-06-2010, 06:41 PM
This is a great topic for discussion. The game IMHO will always survive at levels like the Major Leagues because of the sheer dollars that it still does make. I'll dive into this deeper after dinner.

If that is not a teaser, I don't know what is.

Vottomatic
03-07-2010, 09:09 AM
I hate to say this, but baseball will never, ever have a salary cap. Why does or should baseball care about competitive balance. They want the Yankees to win. Last year's WS ratings were up 38% from the year before. That number is directly related to the upgrade publically from the Rays to the Yanks. If every WS involved some combination of the Yanks, Cubs, Sox, and Dodgers in the WS, baseball would be thrilled.

Baseball and Selig are interested in the illusion of competitive balance. They want fans to believe they have a chance of winning, not that they actually will win. The illusion is more than enough to bring fans to the park, and so it is good enough for the game. Baseball (and all of the major sports) are complete slaves to TV and will do anything to make them happy. So, why would baseball help the Pirates, A's, and Reds when that would hurt their biggest single investor?

I disagree and here's why.

It may help postseason ratings to have the Yankees in it. But it hurts attendance league wide to leave small market fans thinking their team can not contend.

This is what fuels the NFL and game attendance. Belief that every team has a chance. MLB does not have that. While a few smaller market teams make it from time to time, probably 80% of the postseason is filled with teams having close to and above a $100M payroll. And fans are aware of that.

Why do so many people hate the Yankees? Because they stand for everything that is wrong with MLB............buying a World Series.

Several things that need to happen for MLB to improve:
1. Salary Cap - Revenue Sharing. There's a reason the NFL is the #1 watchable sport in America. Parity.
2. Rookie Draft lottery, salary slotting and cap. The NBA has it and I bet the NFL will have it soon.
3. Including all international players in the baseball draft. No more of these side deals for foreign players. Although the Reds benefitted in the Chapman deal........that won't happen often anymore.

Vottomatic
03-07-2010, 09:11 AM
were all gonna die in 2012 so forget about it!

The recent earthquakes actually have gotten my attention in regard to 2012. Hmmmm. Just saying.

improbus
03-07-2010, 09:34 AM
Several things that need to happen for MLB to improve:
1. Salary Cap - Revenue Sharing. There's a reason the NFL is the #1 watchable sport in America. Parity.
2. Rookie Draft lottery, salary slotting and cap. The NBA has it and I bet the NFL will have it soon.
3. Including all international players in the baseball draft. No more of these side deals for foreign players. Although the Reds benefitted in the Chapman deal........that won't happen often anymore.
The salary cap will never EVER happen in baseball. It is too late. The cap in basketball and football happened before salaries escalated. I completely agree that numbers 2 & 3 need to happen, even more than a salary cap. The idea that the Nationals hesitated in taking the Anchorman (Strasbourg) because they would have to pay him is crazy.

Also, I'm not sure that I can call the Yankees evil. They spend a ton of money, but thay have been operating at a net loss for the last decade or so. Also, with the luxury tax, they have been bankrolling the cheap owners of the lower level clubs. Are the Reds losing money? What about the Marlins and their $35 million dollar payroll? Isn't that worse? We complain about the Yankees spending but don't they get some props for overspending? Don't you wish Castellini had gone into the red to sign Damon or Jason Bay or the like? I agree that teams play on an uneven playing field, but I think that is more interesting to see who is trying harder than who is spending more. In 2008, the Marlins spent $21 million on their payroll and banked over $35 million. They did this averaging only 16,000 fans a game. Why would baseball feel the need to change? As long as the Yanks and Sox try like heck to beat each other, everyone (and in turn, no one else) wins.

improbus
03-13-2010, 07:13 PM
Here is my idea to "revive" baseball and to give a little life to the game.
Step 1:
-Go back to 148 game schedule. We can do this because the last 15 years have made the "sanctity of the numbers" an irrelevant argument.
-Institute the "MLB Cup" on the model of the English FA Cup. This would be a year long tournament that would take place between every professional team from AA to MLB. The AA and AAA teams begin the tournament in April and the ML teams join in the 3rd round or so. There would be certain 3-4 day series built into the schedule to accomodate the tournament, which would start as a best of five in the minor league rounds and end with best of sevens in the later rounds when the big league clubs enter the tournament. How cool would it be if the Yankees came to Akron or went to Hagerstown? It would be really add some life to the minor league teams and it would give the teams with little to no chance of making the playoffs to have something to play for.