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I am a self proclaimed coffee addict and Executive Director of a non profit missions agency working primarily in the Mexican cities of Oaxaca, Guadalajara, and Ensenada. I've been married for over 30 years to Chelle, and we have one grown son, Joseph, a graduate of Auburn University in Alabama.

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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Major League Baseball Has Its Own Mortgage Crisis

The baseball playoffs are upon us.

It is now time for everyone to write those columns explaining why their favorite teams will crush the opposition.

It is now time to think back to your childhood and how you grew up in this moment, watching, or listening to the greats of history shine on the October stage.

Names like Ruth, Berra, Ford, Koufax, and Robinson. Mays, Gibson, Lolich, and Rose. Carter, Brett, Schilling, and of course, Reggie.

It is time to grab a brew, sit down on your couch, with your kid next to you, and share the greatest game, in the midst of its annual run to the Fall Classic.

More than any other sport, baseball is a product of history. Shared history that is passed on from generation to generation.

To sit with someone who was able to see Ruth play is a gift. To share that moment with your son or daughter, a blessing.

Yet today, baseball seems to be leaving those moments behind. A shared bond between generations is no longer as important as money to the decision makers in Major League Baseball.

It all started with Charlie Finley, former owner of the Kansas City/Oakland A’s. Finley was the owner who proposed playing World Series games at night to increase audiences and drive up ratings.

Sadly, it worked—in the short run.

Ratings increased, money was rolling in, and everyone was happy.

Except the average fan.

Nighttime baseball, while holding some advantages also had one big inherent weakness—it cut kids out of the mix.

Baseball now is televised at a time when families are putting their children to bed. As the length of games stretches past midnight, it is increasingly difficult to justify keeping kids up at night when there was a full day of school coming tomorrow.

Baseball mortgaged their future with night baseball and we are now seeing the results.

Drive around most small cities in America today and the kids outside play soccer, not baseball.

The bond has been broken. The sacred bond between sports generations that for the most part only existed in baseball.

The inheritance has not been passed on, because it has been lost.

Turn on the news and they will drone on and on about the financial crisis hitting Wall Street.

Major League Baseball has a crisis of its own—a steadily eroding fan based stemming from the inability of kids to grow up watching a World Series.

Comments on "Major League Baseball Has Its Own Mortgage Crisis"


Blogger Pastor David Curtis said ... (11:47 AM) : 


Sadly you are right in a large part about the future of baseball. However another thing that changed the fortunes of baseball is the fact that when our primary media changed from radio to television, baseball began to lose out to football. But the switch to night baseball did make a difference. My Dad who is 70 tells stories of listening to the Yankees and the Dodgers in the World Series during school. We never got to listen to baseball in school.


Blogger Dave Miller said ... (12:15 PM) : 

Hey David,

Great to see you here. Yeah television had a huge impact. I can remember watching the old NBC Game of the Week on Saturday afternoons.

Nowadays, there is so much to do that a pastoral game baseball loses out on the excitement scale.

That and a significant break from the past, I believe, has doomed baseball.


Blogger Patrick M said ... (3:18 PM) : 

They still play 7-Man Standaround?

I think a lot of it is the change in our culture to a more fast-paced lifestyle. It reminds me of a bit from The Simpsons where Homer went to a baseball game and didn't drink. He was bored out of his skull.

Between the multiple choices in sports and entertainment, the pace we move today, the prices just to go to the games, and a general disenfranchisement with pro athletes in general, means that the national pastime is soon to be no more.



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