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Why do people call baseball a "kid's game"?

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  • Why do people call baseball a "kid's game"?

    I never understood why some people refer to baseball as a kid's game? That never made much sense to me. Baseball was always played by more adults than kids in it's early years. Think about all those old paintings and drawings of baseball games. It's always always adults portrayed playing baseball. Baseball had a strong following in major cities and professional baseball came into existence fairly early in it's history.
    Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

  • #2
    Originally posted by Honus Wagner Rules View Post
    I never understood why some people refer to baseball as a kid's game? That never made much sense to me. Baseball was always played by more adults than kids in it's early years. Think about all those old paintings and drawings of baseball games. It's always always adults portrayed playing baseball. Baseball had a strong following in major cities and professional baseball came into existence fairly early in it's history.
    because 95% of all players quit playing after age 18 unless they are good enough for pro ball or college ball. thus most players are kids. watching is done by both but playing is mostly done by kids (pro players and college players are less than 1% of all players).

    in contrast to that other games like golf or tennis are played by tons of adults. there is almost no rec ball for adults unless a few softball beer leagues.

    the statement applies to playing and not TV attendance.
    Last edited by dominik; 06-13-2012, 10:35 AM.
    I now have my own non commercial blog about training for batspeed and power using my training experience in baseball and track and field.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by dominik View Post
      because 95% of all players quit playing after age 18 unless they are good enough for pro ball or college ball. thus most players are kids. watching is done by both but playing is mostly done by kids (pro players and college players are less than 1% of all players).

      in contrast to that other games like golf or tennis are played by tons of adults. there is almost no rec ball for adults unless a few softball beer leagues.

      the statement applies to playing and not TV attendance.
      I agree, but this is true for the other team sports, football and basketball (and I guess I'll throw hockey in, too, though I don't know much about rec play in Canada I doubt it's that common). And while there are more rec leagues that play basketball - my church has one and I know of a few others - than that play baseball because of the ease of cost, it's still a small number.

      I think it's also because of the exposure of college sports with the other team sports. We tend to see college kids as young adults out on their own in some ways. And, from its earliest days college football was big; it was far bigger than pro football for a *long* time. So, football, while played by kids for fun int he backyard a lot, is a game that has always been seen as one for those who have entered adulthood, if just barely. (Remember, too, that adolescence is a more recent invention, it wasn't really a concept to those who followed Red Grange, Knute Rockne's Notre Dame teams, etc.; ask someone from that era they'd likely say thsoe are young adults

      Same with basketball; a lot more kids play it than adults, too, even with the greater number of rec leagues; that's evened out by the number of pickup games on playgrounds. College basketball is big business. While it might not have been quite as big in the "Golden Age" I doubt if most sports fans knew Adulph Rupp's name, or James Naismith - college basketball still grew popular enough that there are lots of fans who follow it, and they see the players as young adults (The fact most of them tower over the fans probably helps. :-)) since they are in college.

      And I'm not so sure "a kid's gme" was a negative thing back 100 years ago, anyway - Christy Mathewson was known as a great checkers player, too.
      Last edited by DTF955; 06-14-2012, 01:16 PM.
      If Baseball Integrated Early - baseball integrated from the beginning - and "Brotherhood and baseball," the U.S. history companion, at http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/Baseballifsandmore - IBIE updated for 2011.

      "Full House Chronology" at yahoo group fullhousefreaks & fullhouse4life with help of many fans, thanks for the input

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      • #4
        Originally posted by DTF955 View Post
        I agree, but this is true for the other team sports, football and basketball (and I guess I'll throw hockey in, too, though I don't know much about rec play in Canada I doubt it's that common). And while there are more rec leagues that play basketball - my church has one and I know of a few others - than that play baseball because of the ease of cost, it's still a small number.

        I think it's also because of the exposure of college sports with the other team sports. We tend to see college kids as young adults out on their own in some ways. And, from its earliest days college football was big; it was far bigger than pro football for a *long* time. So, football, while played by kids for fun int he backyard a lot, is a game that has always been seen as one for those who have entered adulthood, if just barely. (Remember, too, that adolescence is a more recent invention, it wasn't really a concept to those who followed Red Grange, Knute Rockne's Notre Dame teams, etc.; ask someone from that era they'd likely say thsoe are young adults

        Same with basketball; a lot more kids play it than adults, too, even with the greater number of rec leagues; that's evened out by the number of pickup games on playgrounds. College basketball is big business. While it might not have been quite as big in the "Golden Age" I doubt if most sports fans knew Adulph Rupp's name, or James Naismith - college basketball still grew popular enough that there are lots of fans who follow it, and they see the players as young adults (The fact most of them tower over the fans probably helps. :-)) since they are in college.

        And I'm not so sure "a kid's gme" was a negative thing back 100 years ago, anyway - Christy Mathewson was known as a great checkers player, too.
        Stil I would say basketball is a little older on average. basketball doesn't really make a lot of sense until kids are 12 or so. 9U basketball doesn't really resemble the adult game. also college baseball is not as big as college basketball.

        If you think amateur baseball 90% of all people (random people not hardcore fans) think about little league. but thinking about amateur basketball people don't think about 9U kids failing to throw high enough for the basket but about HS or college basketball because those are bigger events in the media.

        in baseball just LL and MLB exists for most people while in basketball and football HS and college ball are much more present in peoples minds.
        I now have my own non commercial blog about training for batspeed and power using my training experience in baseball and track and field.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Honus Wagner Rules View Post
          I never understood why some people refer to baseball as a kid's game? That never made much sense to me. Baseball was always played by more adults than kids in it's early years. Think about all those old paintings and drawings of baseball games. It's always always adults portrayed playing baseball. Baseball had a strong following in major cities and professional baseball came into existence fairly early in it's history.
          Many grammar, primary, and high schools had baseball teams back in the 1800s. You can see photos of kids playing ball in Dr. Harold Seymour's History of Baseball Series. I believe the book is titled Baseball, The Peoples Game. There were probably thousands of junior teams playing ball in the summertime once school ended. Players on town teams and minor league teams didn't just fall off the turnip truck. :-)

          Historians are discovering countless letters, journals, and diaries containing references to adults declaring what type of ball games they played when they were kids throughout the 19th Century. I've read several newspaper editorials complaining about scores of boys playing baseball on the Sabbath in cities and towns in the late 19th Century. I imagine this shocked the church community almost as much as professionals playing ballgames on Sundays did.
          "He's tougher than a railroad sandwich."
          "You'se Got The Eye Of An Eagle."

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          • #6
            I don't think it has anything to do with the average age. I think the phrase came about because at one time in this country most kids played baseball/stick ball and MLB players played not for money but for the joy of the games, the same reason that little kids play anything.

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