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The old man and the sport

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  • scottmitchell74
    replied
    Originally posted by abolishthedh View Post
    The 'Old Man' to whom I will refer is everyone's grand-dad. IMHO, baseball has been suffering from reduced status in our culture ever since ESPN came on the scene. Extra Scuttlebutt and Popular Nonsense made highlights the priority, let alone dingers foremost. In our grandfathers' days, they would buy a newspaper and often spend 45 minutes each day pouring through standings, leaderboards and boxscores. The sports page was first, and he would read the rest of the paper later. This habit spans generations, and goes back to the 19th C for criminy sakes!

    The 'Old Man' learned the game via print, followed the game via radio, and gradually depended upon TV. The 'Old Man' had the chance to learn the game's lore from that, instead of instant gratification from dingers and webgems. For example, this 'Old Man' kept score at ballgames using scorecards and pencils. He can, therefore, go back to those scorecards and double check when he saw Rafael Furcal's triple play in STL, George Brett's return from DLs, Joe Magrane's near no-hitter, Nolan Ryan's 13 K loss to the Toronto Blue Jays in 1977, and more.

    The 'Old Man' didn't have his head buried in a gadget and miss all that.
    1000X yes! I guess that makes me on old man at 47 because you just described my chikdhood/early adulthood. I desperately miss daily box scores.

    I remember how huge the game of the week was, because that might be the one game I got to see. I lived for This Week In Baseball with Mel Allen because that was it. Also, George Michael's Sports Machine.

    Those days are long gone.

    Leave a comment:


  • abolishthedh
    replied
    The 'Old Man' to whom I will refer is everyone's grand-dad. IMHO, baseball has been suffering from reduced status in our culture ever since ESPN came on the scene. Extra Scuttlebutt and Popular Nonsense made highlights the priority, let alone dingers foremost. In our grandfathers' days, they would buy a newspaper and often spend 45 minutes each day pouring through standings, leaderboards and boxscores. The sports page was first, and he would read the rest of the paper later. This habit spans generations, and goes back to the 19th C for criminy sakes!

    The 'Old Man' learned the game via print, followed the game via radio, and gradually depended upon TV. The 'Old Man' had the chance to learn the game's lore from that, instead of instant gratification from dingers and webgems. For example, this 'Old Man' kept score at ballgames using scorecards and pencils. He can, therefore, go back to those scorecards and double check when he saw Rafael Furcal's triple play in STL, George Brett's return from DLs, Joe Magrane's near no-hitter, Nolan Ryan's 13 K loss to the Toronto Blue Jays in 1977, and more.

    The 'Old Man' didn't have his head buried in a gadget and miss all that.
    Last edited by abolishthedh; 06-10-2021, 01:38 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • 3rdGenCub
    replied
    Sadly, it's decline is due to all of the reasons mentioned above. Until the 1950s, baseball was THE king. Even when I was growing up in the 1970s & 1980s, baseball was still very popular with most all of my school classmates. Of course, it's not just baseball - most traditional sports are hurting at the youth level.

    Leave a comment:


  • scottmitchell74
    replied
    Originally posted by Honus Wagner Rules View Post
    Also the focus and expense in youth travel ball has effectively closed/reduced the access for African-American teens.
    Seems unfortunate, but incredibly difficult to mitigate. The families who can afford it will not voluntarily stop.

    Leave a comment:


  • Honus Wagner Rules
    replied
    Also the focus and expense in youth travel ball has effectively closed/reduced the access for African-American teens.

    Leave a comment:


  • OldAsDirt
    replied
    Welcome!

    I agree with this from the article you referenced:

    "I believe the extreme pressure put on youth to specialize in a sport has driven many who simply do not have the skill level to compete at an elite level to just stop playing the game all together."

    I know much of this is driven by parents looking to secure scholarships, etc. for their kids.
    Last edited by OldAsDirt; 06-05-2021, 10:02 AM.

    Leave a comment:


  • hedbonker
    replied
    I figured it had been debated here before but most of my searches came up with some pretty old threads on it. I suspect the shift in culture has a lot to do with it as well. For the youth today they have so many options available to them it does not surprise me that youth participation in this sport is waning.

    Leave a comment:


  • Honus Wagner Rules
    replied
    First, welcome to Baseball Fever!

    We've discussed and debated his issue for years here at Baseball Fever. IMO the decline of baseball had more to do with the change in American culture. Even if the game was changed and it went back to a more aesthetically pleasing type of play it will not bring in a huge swell of younger fans.

    Leave a comment:


  • hedbonker
    started a topic The old man and the sport

    The old man and the sport

    This is my first post here. So Howdy everyone!

    I consider myself a kind of casual baseball fan. To be honest, it's the only sport I actually pay attention to. I root for my local team. Since I spent a few years in Naperville, I also root for the Cubbies.

    In 2016, when it got down to the wire I got tickets to game 7 in Cleveland. I flew there with my wife from Los Angeles to see that game and it’s an experience I will take with me to my grave. No regrets. As a kid I played stick ball in the street with my friends. We used a tennis ball and an old cricket bat since that was as close as we could come to the real thing.

    I will say that if you solidly connected with that tennis ball using that cricket bat it was goodbye Mr. Spalding. Well, Mr. Wilson in the case of the tennis ball but you get my meaning. We would be left scrounging for a new ball if that happened. As a kid I collected and traded baseball cards as did my friends. Not for the collectible value of them but for the players that I was interested in or valued.

    In school we played baseball and football but when it came to fandom, Baseball was what I paid attention to. I had played in little league and was an OK outfielder with a .240 batting average. There were certainly other kids that excelled at the sport far more than I did but I still enjoyed it.

    With things opening up a bit around town recently I was in a local pizza joint picking up an order and there was a local little league team having pizza. I was curious as to how well the participation level was in youth baseball so I asked their coach about it. He said that involvement was down about 30 percent over the last 5 years or so and was steadily declining.

    He stated that a lot of the kids were involved strictly as a result of their parents encouraging the children to participate. When I was a kid it was certainly true that my father encouraged each of his male offspring to participate in sports but my friends and myself had a natural interest in baseball and were happy to get involved.

    Today, kids have a lot more options than we did as kids in terms of diversions. Mobile devices and video games. On-demand video so you can watch whatever you want whenever you want. It makes me wonder if these kids are missing something that we had back in the day. Stick ball in the street for example.

    Is baseball an old man’s game today? I see a lot of complaints about the way the game has evolved with sabermetrics and games lasting well over 3 hours on average. Lots of talk about things such as limiting the number of pitchers allowed in a game and other methods of shortening the games. I know that attention spans have certainly been shortened and that needs to be accounted for.

    I also know that sabermetrics are a big part of the game today. I watched Moneyball. The scene where the scouts are arguing that players should be considered for who they are as well as what their metrics are always rings true to me. But maybe I am wrong. Maybe it’s only their stats that matter and not who they are or how much heart they have for the game.

    After talking to that little league coach I went home and did a little searching on the net for youth participation in baseball and ran across this article:

    https://www.sportsplexoperators.com/...g-in-baseball/

    If that article is anything to go by, the future does not look very bright for this sport. This sport that pits two athletes together in a showdown of pitching and hitting that for me has no equal. I know it will outlive me but it kind of saddens me to see it declining in the way that I see it doing today.

    What do you think? Is baseball destined for the dustbin of sports history? Is it just an old man’s game today? Can it be saved from itself?



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