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.