Think of three sports. Which ones come to mind?
If you're like most Americans, chances are you thought of baseball, basketball, and football. All three have been ingrained in American culture since they were invented. Baseball, being the eldest of these, had a head start in cementing itself as "America's past time". However, as society continues to modernize, many individuals of the younger generations have grown to find baseball stale and uninteresting.
Football dominates the television world of sports, and basketball owns social media. On Instagram, the NFL has 24.6 million followers, while basketball has a whopping 68 million. Meanwhile, baseball has... 8.7 million?
Why is it that America's most beloved sport is falling behind?
It lives and dies by nostalgia.
The thing that makes baseball such an American treasure is also what could be causing it to lose following.
Let's face it, those who cherish nostalgia have lived long enough to have a past to reminisce about in the first place. Younger generations seldom live in years past because - well, they don't have a lot of years to go back on.
So much of what makes baseball special is the history in which it possesses.
When you think of baseball, you think of moments in time - Babe Ruth calling his shot, Shoeless Joe Jackson getting banned from baseball after the 1908 World Series, Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier and paving way for countless minority athletes.
All of these are great, but to a young sports enthusiast, why do they matter?
The world's attention span is growing increasingly thin.
Branching off of the last section, history alone is not enough to keep a kid's attention these days - not when video games, Tik Tok, and Youtube attract Generation Z like moths to a flame. Compared to these media platforms, a thinking man's game such as baseball doesn't stand a chance.
Look at basketball and football. In basketball, over 200 points are scored per game. Every player is constantly flying around the court, and the average fan is immersed in the action that never ceases to commence.
In football, large human beings hit other large human beings while even larger human beings try and block other larger human beings. It's overwhelming and violent, which is why it keeps so many onlookers glued to the television.
The NBA and NFL are player-focused.
When you think of the NBA, what comes to mind? Do you think of the Warriors, Celtics, Bulls, and Lakers? Or do you think of LeBron James, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Steph Curry, and Kevin Durant?
The NBA has it figured out. You look at the NBA's instagram, and it is plastered with the same familiar faces. The NBA has realized that force-feeding players - not teams - is what drives interest. Try and go a day without hearing LeBron James' name. I dare you.
These players are like celebrities. Every one of them has their own style, shoe deal, and massive following. Walking from the bus to the locker room is like a red carpet walk for them, as they know whatever look they put on display will surely make the vary next media highlight. Kids on the playground at every school in America yearn to be them. It's an epidemic of a generation desperate to copy the swag and charisma they get fed by the NBA.
Meanwhile, the MLB pushes teams. The Yankees, Red Sox, Mets, and Dodgers are some of the most common examples of the same drudgery we see on a nightly basis. While they have started figuring out that Aaron Judge, Fernando Tatis, and others are their ticket to reach a younger following, they still cling to the outdated idea that people follow teams instead of people. With the individualistic and egotistic culture we live in today, everybody is looking to be the center of attention. Unfortunately, the "team player" is a dying breed.
The MLB is changing all the wrong stuff.
Hey, Rob Manfred. Why do you hate baseball?
It's true. In an era in which capturing the attention of a generation has never been easier, Rob Manfred has chosen to go about this endeavor by simply changing baseball itself. In hopes of shortening games and changing rules that don't need changing, the MLB is catering to the lowest form of fans. It's bewildering. Why try and reach the people who don't want to be there in the first place?
Instead of changing rules, the MLB needs to focus on what it has already started to do with the Nike "City Connect" jerseys: modernizing the game.
People like style. They like flair. The NBA comes out with a new jersey every week. Why do MLB teams feel the need to maintain the same look for a century?
The City Connect jerseys are a great way to bring a new feel to the game we love. They capture interest and reach the heartstrings of local fans by bringing a personal feel to each city. If the MLB can come up with more ideas similar to this one, younger generations could come flocking to the sport like never before.
Thanks for reading! Do you think the MLB is falling behind other sports? What would you change? Share this post on Facebook and other social media platforms and share your opinion.