Knight Errant

The MLB is currently in a decline, and it may die soon

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Nick Dunivant, Staff Writer

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It took seven hours and twenty minutes to finish game three of the 2018 world series. Seven hours and twenty minutes to find out who could hit a ball with a wooden stick the best. If that doesn’t sound boring, I don’t know what is. Not only has baseball become irrelevant to the modern day sports fan, but to the modern day person. Baseball truly is “America’s PASTime.” MLB baseball has seen the viewership drop, has stars of the sport repping “make baseball fun again” clothing, and is constantly put under fire for the old school perspective on the game.

Since there is so much to break down, let’s begin to talk about the viewership. Or, the lack of consistent viewership. No World Series since 2010 has been able to eclipse an average of 20 million viewers per game. Which may not seem like a small figure at all, but looking back to the first polled World Series in 1986 averaging 36 million viewers makes the modern day viewership seem weak, to say the least. To add salt to the wound, viewership for this year’s opening day games were at an all-time low of 3.6 million viewers.

With viewership going down, you would assume that the league may be trying to make changes to save their viewership. But you would be wrong. With the league being scared of change in “etiquette,” the league most certainly is scared of changing the construction of the game. There has been no massive alteration to the etiquette or physical rules of the game in the past 10 years, besides the “new and improved sliding rule.” Which by the way, from a fan perspective, doesn’t matter that much. So tell me how the league is meant to be improving when the rule changes presented are never passed or allowed to be tested.

To add salt to the wound, viewership for this year’s opening day games were at an all-time low of 3.6 million viewers.”

— Nick Dunivant

On the topic of etiquette, let’s talk about how even the littlest peek (watch it after you hit) at a home run ball could cause a pitcher to bean a player with a pitch the next time up. That isn’t fun for the fans or the players. Just think if I go to a game to see a player and he ends up getting hit with a pitch because the opposing pitcher doesn’t like him; I have lost my trust in the quality of the event. That is an indisputable fact.

News flash MLB, fans like the players who watch their home run, who talk some trash, and who make things just a little more interesting than swinging a stick. So having and enforcing the out of date “etiquette” of baseball is like shooting yourself in the foot. Which in all honesty might be more fun than watching a game of baseball by itself.

And it isn’t just the fans that don’t like the old school etiquette of baseball. The players, most notably Bryce Harper, have started campaigning to “make baseball fun again.” Harper has been seen wearing multiple hats and shirts from the movement, while also being quoted saying, “Baseball is tired… because you can’t express yourself.” Think about it, in the NFL you celebrate after touchdowns and sacks, in the NHL you celebrate after goals, and in the NBA you can celebrate after a dunk, a deep three-pointer, a big-time win, almost anything goes. So going with that common theme, the MLB should notice that in every other main sports league in America, showboating and celebrating is a massive part of the publicity, and success of the league. So yes, loyal MLB fans, your sport is becoming less popular because the league won’t move on with the rest of the world.

But not only is viewership down because of the length of the games and the boring “no fun” rules, but also the competitiveness of the sport. If you haven’t noticed when your watching baseball, the best teams in baseball always get the best players. The main reason, there is no actual salary cap in the MLB. Meaning that the rich teams can always pay the best pitchers more money than other teams may feel comfortable.

But not only is viewership down because of the length of the games and the boring “no fun” rules, but also the competitiveness of the sport.”

— Nick Dunivant

This no-salary cap ruleset makes teams like the Los Angeles Dodgers, Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Houston Astros, Chicago Cubs, etc. always have a financial advantage over every other team in the league. It has become such a big problem in the league that there have been books and movies written or created about this exact topic. For example. The movie Moneyball, starring Brad Pitt as Oakland Athletics GM Billy Beane was all about the unfair game of baseball. The most memorable quote to sum up that exact statement is from Billy Beane in the movie, saying “There are rich teams, there are poor teams. Then there are 50 feet of crap, and then there’s us… It’s an unfair game.”

Now I know it may seem like I dislike everything about baseball. But that isn’t true at all. Come playoff baseball time, I understand the hype and excitement; I understand that there is nothing more American than sitting with your friends and family at a ballpark eating a fresh hot dog. In all honesty, I appreciate baseball, and I am only stating the obvious hard facts to prove to people that unless something is done baseball is going to continue on this downward spiral. And to see the sport that so many people love not to be around the same level as the NBA, NFL, NHL, etc. would be tough to see.

In conclusion, I have to say to the fans and operators of the league that time is running out to fix the problems that have been pushed off for so long. If something isn’t done soon, and in a big way, baseball may never be the same again. Because like an old toy from your childhood, it slowly becomes nothing more than something to look at and say “I remember when…” or “I used to play with that so much.” Baseball is on a track to have the same thing happen if something doesn’t change.

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The MLB is currently in a decline, and it may die soon