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mlb logoI don’t want to make this into a cliche “is baseball dying?” type thing, because I tend to that drama is bit overblown. But I have thought for some time that baseball needs to do much more to grow its fan base, particularly among younger fans who consume entertainment in very different ways than the youth did 30 or 20 or even 10 years ago.

Baseball is, by its very nature, slow. It is methodical. It is protracted. It is frequently passive. And, to a 12-year-old with dozens of other entertainment options – most of them available in short, satisfying bursts – baseball is boring. That is something we all have to be reasonable about, otherwise those dramatic “is baseball dying” things could become a reality over time.

Tom Verducci this week wrote a State of the Union piece on baseball, which focuses on a sport flush with cash, but saddled with a lack of “events” that demand a wide audience’s attention. It’s a ranging piece worth a read, but an aspect I’d like to focus on, as it relates to my preamble above, is this:

[W]hat concerns baseball is that it has lost ground to basketball and with young viewers. In 1986, the World Series did twice the rating of the NBA Finals (28.6-14.1). Last year the NBA Finals out-rated the World Series for the fourth time in the past five years (10.5-8.9).

The aging of the baseball audience is obvious. The median viewer age for the World Series clincher was 53; for the NBA Finals clincher it was 40. According to Sports Media Watch, among 18-34 viewers, more women watched Game 6 of the NBA Finals than men watched Game 6 of the World Series. The NBA Finals, which benefits from King Football being dormant in June, attracted more than twice as many 34-and-under viewers (10.83 million) as did the World Series (4.68 million).

Setting aside the specific comparison to basketball, that median age thing is striking. As Verducci lays out in other sections, the average baseball fan is getting older – and the problem, in his views, isn’t just the pace of games or the length of the season. It’s the nature of the sport. The pastoral, “play the game the right way” attitude that hews closely to the sport doesn’t exactly resonate with today’s youth. Worse, young stars in baseball – Bryce Harper, Yasiel Puig, and Jose Fernandez, for example – are trained to “tone things down” when they start to have too much fun or show too much excitement. If you want to engage young fans in a sport that already presents hurdles, that’s not the way to do it.

Consider that, in the NFL and NBA, the “stars” are exceptionally visible to a wide audience, not just their regional fans. Everyone knows LeBron and Peyton. Not everyone knows Mike Trout and Miguel Cabrera. Once again, baseball suffer by its very nature (there is no “quarterback,” and the team isn’t comprised of just five starters), but the lack of true national stars has to be a concern.

Verducci segues his piece into possible rule changes to add excitement to the game, much in the way the NFL constantly tweaks its rules. Feel free to get into those in the comments if you’d like (the pitch clock sounds great to me, as does the “Summer Game” idea), but I’m at least as interested in the idea that MLB has done a poor job marketing its young starts to a wide audience. The game is getting younger and younger, which presents MLB an opportunity to highlight that youth in a way that connects with newer and younger fans – especially in an era where every young player is involved in social media because, hell, they’ve actually grown up in this era and that’s just what they do.

I don’t have an answer, and I know MLB is trying (they’ve recently partnered with MTV (do kids still like MTV?), and their social media efforts aren’t terrible). I just know that, long-term, MLB has to do a better job of capturing a younger fans, and absorbing them into the fold for the long term.

It’s funny to think about the Chicago Cubs’ role in all of this. In the post home-run-chase era, you know when baseball was most popular? When the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004. That’s a story with national appeal. If and when the Cubs manage to do the same – particularly if they do it with a core of young, marketable stars – there could be a tremendous opportunity for MLB (and, incidentally, the Cubs) to expand its young base.

  • EQ76

    I have no doubt in my mind that if/when the Cubs get to a World Series, the ratings will be off the charts.. that story would transcend sports and be have the nation’s attention.

    • hansman

      Unless they clinch on a Saturday. Then they’d get about 15 minutes of buzz before that week’s NFL games.

  • ryan

    As an 18 year old kid I hear a lot of “baseball is fun to play, and it’s fun to attend games, but boring to watch on TV” from most kids my age. I do however feel like with how much advanced the Little League baseball brand in comparison to youth league football and baseball we will always have young kids who enjoy playing the game and attending games. It’s a matter of making the professional game more fun to watch on TV, whether that’s increasing the game speed or allowing the guys who aren’t necessarily liked by older fans to be who they are and show emotion on the field. Some of those unwritten rules may need to be broken

    • ryan

      Youth league football and basketball*

  • E

    I’d be a big fan of the pitch clock. I’d also propose a set number of timeouts, and types of timeouts, such as the NBA. (20 second or full)

    Anything to speed up the game really, even if it meant prohibiting batters from ever leaving the box once inside, or even limited the time it takes a batter to get back to the dugout and the time a new batter enters the box.

    If I’m the new commissioner, I might even consider adding a time limit to games. 9 innings or 2 hours, whichever comes first.

    • Hee Seop Chode

      Disagree on that last idea; I love that baseball is the only sport of the big four w/o a clock. That said, a timeout limit makes a whole lot of sense. It would also add a new layer of coaching strategy, which is entertaining.

      • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

        Yeah no clocks in baseball please, market the players add excitement where you want but don’t force a clock on a game that has never needed one. To add “shot clocks” to baseball so we can gain the interest of the ADHD basketball kids will only hurt the sport further.

        • Don Eaddy

          I agree. Numbers suggest baseball is slipping, but in reality its just the, in your words, the ADHD basketball (And now-a-days football) kids that don’t watch anymore. We don’t need to change the game for them. MLB is making more than enough money right now. I think worst case scenario the MLB becomes more like the NHL. Not a huge fanbase like the NFL or NBA, but much more passion from its fans.

          And whoever suggested the 2 hour limit is crazy. I ump travel baseball games for kids up to 17-18 years old and we struggle to get through 7 innings in 2 1/2 hours

        • DarthHater

          …said the animal who thinks an exciting afternoon is one spent standing in a field, munching weeds. :-P

          • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

            It’s very pastoral ;)

  • Mr Gonzo

    Hopefully the new Commish will bring fresh energy to MLB’s marketing… and I agree that a perennial contender in the Cubs will definitely help. I think the MLB FanCave is a good thing, but it could be leveraged more efficiently.

    Better yet, maybe MLB should get a mascot! A talking eagle that hip-hop dances and raps a remake of the “diarrhea song” from the 1989 movie: Parenthood .

  • CubFan Paul

    “It’s funny to think about the Chicago Cubs’ role in all of this”

    WGN.

  • newsguy23

    Must not be too bad. Salaries are pretty darned high. Teams making millions and millions. Kids are freaking lazy and sit around and play games all day instead of watching a game like back in the day. This is why we have such a high obesity rate in America.

    • hansman

      ” Kids are freaking lazy and sit around and play games all day instead of watching a game like back in the day.”

      So it’s more lazy to sit and actively play a video game rather than passively taking in a TV show?

      • newsguy23

        Hansman- I should clarify … Getting there asses out and playing sports instead of playing them on TV so in fact they might want to watch a game and go to a game.
        MY bad

        • hansman

          All good, just some good natured ribbing.

          • newsguy23

            Gotcha

        • Brocktoon

          But if they got out there and played sports then they might walk on your lawn

      • DarthHater

        Also need to account for all the calories burned shoveling cheeseburgers while watching the game! :-P

  • diehardcubsman

    I think what should be factored in is that while the World Series is on a national network, the division series and one of the championship series is put on cable (TBS) and I believe MLB Network as well. Not everybody gets those channels and to be frank TBS is not as good as NBC, CBS, ABC. It used to be you could follow the entire playoffs on national TV, now you have to jump to a cable station in TBS and it makes you lose interest unless you are a diehard.

    I also think the lack of a salary cap hurts the game a lot. It’s way too often that the same teams are those in the playoffs. Sure you get a Baltimore or Pittsburgh team to make the playoffs every year, but it’s the big spenders that make the world series. There is really no parity in the game, which is what makes the NFL so attractive. If you are bad in baseball you have to spend 5-6 years to rebuild through the draft and you don’t see the results of the draft right away like you do in other sports.

    Of course it doesn’t help the game either that when a guy does get to free agency you know if he’s a superstar he’ll end up in a major market team since there is no salary cap.

    • dunston12

      I agree with your opinions on TBS. Not only is the coverage lousy, but it isn’t as good as having the games on FOX. That said, the NBA has a similar issue in the preliminary rounds of the playoffs, so maybe we are slightly overstating this point.

      RE: the number of teams in the playoffs, since the beginning of the Wild Card era, only two teams have failed to reach the playoffs at least once: Toronto and KC. Also, 18 different teams have played in the World Series. I’d disagree that there is no parity.

      In the past twenty seasons, there have been 10 different WS champs. In that same time period, there have only been 8 NBA champs.

      • Unlucky 13

        Personally, I think that FOX is just awful at covering sports. With the NFL, NBC and CBS blow them away, and ESPN and the NFL network are much better. I’d like to see any of them get MLB instead.

        • Unlucky 13

          Well, sub MLB network instead of NFL for the last part, LOL.

  • hansman

    I like his proposed rule changes especially shortening the playoff rounds.

    The biggest change I want would be a single game World Series (or maybe a 3 games in 2 days over Saturday Sunday). In all World Series there are 3 games that don’t mean jack diddly and, in the case of sweeps, a 4th that doesn’t have much drama.

    The “Summer Game” is especially awesome but I don’t see how it would differ from the All-Star game except that it is set at an awesome venue.

    Oh, and get Chris Berman OFF the damn Home Run Derby.

    • Fishin Phil

      “Oh, and get Chris Berman OFF the damn airwaves.”

      FTFY

      • hansman

        Can we just send him to solitary confinement where all he get’s to hear is his god awful quips.

        When the guards come to his cell all they say is “backbackbackbackbackbackbackbackback”.

    • Brocktoon

      How about just a 1 inning World Series?

    • CubChymyst

      I do like the idea of shorting the playoff some. I think part of the Superbowl popularity is that is a 1 time thing. I’d shorten the regular season some to give more important to each regular season game.

  • Funn Dave

    My prediction: baseball will continue to decline in popularity until the NFL does something so egregiously stupid that they start to lose fanship.

    • Jon

      IMO, I think HS football is banned in 20 years(lawsuits). This will have a major downstream effect on college and the NFL.

      MLB has a bright future, provided the next commissioner is a complete idiot like Selig.

      • gocatsgo2003

        In your opinion? Thank god… I was worried that you might run out with how many you throw around here.

      • hansman

        I doubt HS football will ever go away. Waaaaay to many middle-aged folks care waaaaaaaay to much about 16-17-18 year olds.

        The only thing that would happen would be states banning tackling football for those under 16.

        • Hee Seop Chode

          It could become a club sport for public schools. There is a real liability risk that wasn’t always understood.

          • Jon

            Yeah, a club sport is possible, but then it would be cost prohibitive for so many kids. By me, most HS hockey teams are club sports, and the big difference of course is the cost is financed by the students/parents not the school.

            A friend of mine has his kid in club hockey and he says the costs are insane, like 5K per year.

        • Funn Dave

          That’s more along the lines of what I envision.

      • ryan

        Being from Texas I can assure you that will never happen here. Football is god to people here.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          Moreover, according to my wife (an expatriate from Texas), brain-damage is considered a positive attribute rather than a negative one there.

          *rim-shot*

          (On, wait: she was serious.)

          • ryan

            Honestly coaches, parents, athletic traners don’t care for kids down here I had a friend who was being scouted by the Pirates, Yankees, and d-backs. He tore his hamstring in the 3rd round of the playoffs and was forced to play the next week. He was given a cordizone shot and was forced out there. And it didn’t end well for him.

        • Jon

          It’s easy to say that, till the lawsuits start flying in….

      • cubbiehawkeye

        For once I’m agreeing with Negative Nancy. I won’t go as car to say that it will be banned but I do see trouble for football as its popularity has peaked stateside. Athletes will only get bigger, faster, and stronger which will makes the hits more dangerous. I love football but it’s downhill from here. IMO Unless of course they decide to go overseas but while that could open up the international market more I believe many here will hate it ( like myself) and lowers popularity instead of raising it.

    • cubsfan08

      A lot of the NFL’s popularity is obviously due to both gambling and Fantasy Football. If you were a Texans fan last year would you really care to watch football after a while? Would you care about the Sunday night game? If none of my fantasy guys are playing in a Thursday Night game – I will rarely if ever watch it – and I’m a huge Bears/NFL fan.

      • Funn Dave

        I’m the same way, but I’m not sure exactly what your point is. That gambling and fantasy will prevent football from declining in popularity?

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Well, the NFL played the weekend after JFK was shot, and that actually set the NFL’s popularity back a few years. However, that was about as egregious as you’ll get and all it did was postpone football’s ascendency by maybe half a decade.

      • Funn Dave

        I don’t think so. That was a one-time thing (and there are still people sore about it). I’m talking more about long-term issues: things like moving kickoffs, changing rules for safety, bullying, steroids, etc. Or it could come from a marketing standpoint. For example, the halftime show is so overhyped that I don’t even watch the Super Bowl every year. Or for a more personal example, I’m a big Bulls fan and even though we lost Deng and Rose for the year, I was still going to watch occasionally. However, once the NBA started putting dumbass nicknames on players’ jerseys (King James? Really?), I decided not to watch the NBA for the foreseeable future.

        • Brocktoon

          You have a weird breaking point

  • miggy80

    I directly relate the correlation between the increased dropout rate with the increase in the popularity of football. When the US was leading the world in education Baseball was at it’s height in popularity. Me like big bang, me no like thinky.

  • CubFanBob

    If you took away gambling NFL would drop in popularity.

    • Funn Dave

      But so would all sports.

      • Brocktoon

        Baseball is really hard for the average person to gamble on. It and hockey would definitely suffer the least and football would pretty easily suffer the most

  • Edwin

    I’d like to see the season cut down in length, to try and make the other games slightly more important, and to allow the World Series to be played earlier. I know by the time the World Series starts up, I’m pretty exhausted from having watched so much baseball already.

    I’d also like the playoffs to ditch the best of 7 and instead go to a best of 5 series throughout. I know it means that it makes the Playoffs even more of a crapshoot, but I think the faster pace should help cut down on the “dead” playoff games, like when a team takes a 3-0 lead or 3-1 lead in the series.

    As far as indiviudial game speed, I’d love to have a pitch clock, and to limit the amount of times a batter can step out.

    • hansman

      I’d say no step outs, even for a broken bat unless the team burns a timeout. And the batter is live the entire time.

      • Brocktoon

        And if you’re out of timeouts you just swing the best you can with those shards

        • Edwin

          Unless you still have a challenge flag left to throw.

        • hansman

          Those bat boys better be speedy.

          • Hee Seop Chode

            And quick duckers

  • Patrick W.

    There are two rule changes I’d like to implement:

    1: I’d like a batter to be able to attempt to advance to first on any pitch count, instead of a swinging strike 3. Essentially, a batter should be able to attempt to steal first base. You’d be less likely to see pitchers “bounce a curveball” early in the count or throw too far inside or outside (risking a passed ball, which on any count could now mean a runner advancing).

    2: I’d like there to be a gameday-20 man roster for an entire season. Teams designate before every game which 20 (out of 30) players they will dress for the day, and teams can only dress 6 pitchers. So essentially the Major League team would go from 25 man rosters to 30 (off the 40 man).

    • hansman

      I REALLY like the first one. Adds a lot of excitement to the game and Tony Campana might actually have value and a decent OBP.

    • Brocktoon

      So it’s basically a 10 man pitching staff/24 man roster rule. Carrying a 30 man roster would stun development and/or force you to let prospects go because you have a bunch of get specialists sitting on your bench to play 10 games per season

      • Patrick W.

        Or it could keep around older fringe type players or AAAA guys (like a Darnell McDonald) who make league minimum. At least that’s how I would construct my roster. I see no reason you couldn’t have say 15 position players and 15 pitchers on your 30 man, or 16/14. Think about what it could do for a LOOGY or it could create a ROOGY. You also wouldn’t have to worry about using a 15 day disabled list for a guy who only needs to miss 6 days or so.

        • Brocktoon

          You can’t afford to even have LOOGYs when you have a 5 man pen

          If you can only dress 6 pitchers, the most pitchers you could have on your roster is 11. You’d have 19 position players on your active roster at all times.

        • Brocktoon

          Whoops sorry just re-read your comment thought you wanted 2( active players disregard my previous post

    • CubChymyst

      I do like the first one as well. Would make the game more interesting. Not sure if it will help shorten the game though, however, I don’t think it would length it much either. Also, I it would decrease the chance of another knuckle ball pitcher in the MLB.

  • Edwin

    Also, bring steroids back to the game, and then just do what the NFL does and ignore them.

    • Edwin

      I’m mostly kidding.

    • hansman

      It worked in the 90′s.

  • Brocktoon

    “Many of the qualities associated with baseball are less valued in today’s society than they were in 1986, qualities such as teamwork, humility, patience, pensiveness, perseverance, and strategizing. The qualities that have gained in cultural value are not associated with baseball, such as self-promotion, entrepreneurship, violence, action, noise and gambling.”

    You’re what’s wrong with baseball verducci

  • Edwin

    Maybe we just need better Baseball movies.

  • Brocktoon

    Goodness that was awful. The only idea he had that isn’t terrible is the bracketed hr derby

    • hansman

      What was awful. I think those changes could do a lot of good for the sport.

  • Teddy the cub

    Over the summer I work at a sports camp and I have to say basketball, specifically the NBA, is the overwhelmingly favorite sport of most of the kids. As someone said above, kids these days don’t have the patience of sitting on a couch for three + hours watching baseball. They’d much rather watch a fast-paced NBA game or shooting game. I don’t know how to fix the problem but I can see why a decline could be coming in the near future.

    • Funn Dave

      You’re right, but I don’t think that’s anything new. Basketball was my favorite sport as a kid; now it’s my least favorite of the three main sports. I think that rather than different generations preferring different sports, it’s more that kids in general prefer the pace of basketball, while adults are more patient.

    • cubsfan08

      What’s funny is I don’t find anything “fast paced” with Basketball. Walk the ball up the court. One guy dribbles, the others stand around. Foul. Time out. Foul. Timeout. I’m being dramatic I know but the only real fast paced sport out there is hockey. They have their own problems to deal with. The issue really is that when you are younger – you have better things to do than structure 3 hrs of your life around a sporting event. Even the biggest sports fans among us didn’t watch every game growing up. We were outside playing it or doing something else. Its when we get older that we truly enjoy “looking forward” to a game. That and the only other option is watching reality TV with our wives….

  • dw8

    What’s missed often in these “promote the stars” arguments is that the very structure of the game baseball prevents offensive stars from dominating attention because baseball is a “turn-based” game.

    Lebron James touches the ball in almost every offensive possession. Mike Trout accounts for 10-15 percent of his teams chances at scoring.

    Even starting pitchers who control action when they pitch only pitch every 5th day.

  • Spoda17

    Fantasy Football is what saved football. The game of baseball is not the problem, it’s that society has changed, and will continue to change. Baseball does have to keep up with the customer, but we are a fast-food society and we want everything now/fast paced.

    I am not concerned about baseball’s fan base. Baseball fans tend to become bigger baseball fans as they get older. A 25 year old may casually like baseball at 25, but at 40 become a more interactive baseball fan. Football and Basketball are faster paced, which younger people look for; blame it on a shorter attention span or whatever.

    I agree with what someone already posted. Competitive balance would help a ton. Even I get tired of seeing he same damn teams in the playoffs. Common sense that if the playoffs were different each year more people would be interested.

    • Voice of Reason

      spoda17:

      I’ve got news for you. Professional football is in trouble! The future is not good. In fact, it’s better for baseball!

      Parents aren’t putting their kids into football programs anymore. Participation is way down. Parents don’t want to subject their kids to the physical abuse.

      And, soon high schools will start eliminating football programs across the country. Insurance to play football will make it prohibitive.

      That will have an effect on the college game and the pro game, without question.

      I’m not saying professional football is going away… it’s future, however, is challenged!

      • Spoda17

        I never said football was not, or in, trouble. Football is more popular than baseball right now, and fantasy football is a big reason.

        I agree, with the flood of lawsuits coming, football has a challenging future. But, that wasn’t anything I put in my post. I said I am not worried about baseball; you may want to give it another read.

      • Akabari

        Everything you said was anecdata. Football will set another record year this year.
        Notre Dame just announced $400 MILLION in Football stadium renovations to add more seats, and that’s college. Football is hardly suffering.
        Tell anyone in Texas people don’t play football anymore. Or Alabama. Or Nebraska. Or anywhere besides the coasts, basically.
        All these lawsuits have done is forced rule changes that we see result in higher point games and new offensive records (Drew Brees and Peyton Manning). And you know what?
        People eat that up. And they watch more.
        The game will adapt. The game will not die.

    • Edwin

      I think one of the problems in baseball is due to how long it can take to build a team into a winner, and how quickly a team’s window can close.

    • mjhurdle

      im not sure that “competitive balance” matters much. MLB already has more parity than America’s favorite sport, the NFL.
      The NFL has no problems with their lack of balance, so Im not sure that increasing MLB’s balance even more would solve much.

      Jason Stark does yearly articles reviewing parity between the MLB and NFL.
      http://espn.go.com/mlb/blog/_/name/stark_jayson/id/8908029/mlb-more-parity-nfl

    • Funn Dave

      Yes.

  • ClevelandCubsFan

    The Summer Game is brilliant. The ratings (if not concessions) could be incredible. And I for one love the neutral site WS idea. Another thought on that could be that a Game 7 or 9 (if there is one) returns to the neutral site. I dig the idea of 9 games with no breaks. That. Is. Baseball. It would likely force 4 man rotations at least. But I’d be OK with 7 back to back. Moving the LCS to 5 games to force more final game fervor makes sense, and it would let us move the play in round to 3 So the whole playoffs could be 3/5/5/7. But if we go back to back, 3/5/7/9 would be doable and mathematically pleasing.

    Also, I like the one out per pitcher minimum idea. Chamgea bullpen strategy a LOT. But I think it would tend toward a premium on high quality arms and might even kill the save.

  • Edwin

    I don’t know if I’m as big a fan of the Summer Game. I don’t think baseball lends itself well to a One Exciting Game type of event. That’s part of the current problem. Otherwise Sunday Night Baseball would be much more popular than it currently is.

  • http://BN Sacko

    Charlie Finley said back in the day, to have only 3 balls 2 strikes rule.
    Or was it 3 and 3 not sure?

  • Akabari

    So I do marketing consulting for enterprise brands, several of which are professional sports teams here in the USA, across the country.
    And the data doesn’t lie. The only sport with an average older fan than baseball is golf. And its only by a year or two.
    We can blame the slow pace of the game, and the fact that pitching is dominant again (consider how many young fans there were in the 90s), and that certainly plays a role.
    But exposure is a big problem for baseball. RSNs, while great for the teams, are TERRIBLE at attracting new fans. Saturday has always been the worst day for TV ratings, and that is the day baseball gets national exposure. Young people don’t see the game anymore (and yes I say this with a heaping scoop of self-realization having turned 24 years old less than a week ago). There a million different screens vying for your attention (and 2/3rd of the video game consoles this year (Microsoft and Nintendo)) won’t even have a real baseball game because no one wants to buy the rights. Because they know younger people don’t care.
    I turn on my tablet, I can watch anything on Netflix, or more likely Youtube. Instant gratification. Free. If I want to watch baseball I have to ask my parents to spend $25/month just to try and get interested?
    Or I can just sit down on a lazy day, turn on one of 2 channels in the daytime, or a third at night, and watch what everybody else is watching. Same thing. Nearly free. Instant gratification.
    It’s a combination of a lot of factors, but baseball has NOT done itself any favors in the last 20 years the way they try to communicate to youth. Some teams are better at it than other. But the league as a whole is just not good at it.

  • DarthHater

    I suggest playing the game on skateboards. That would attract the more desirable demographic groups.

    • Brocktoon

      Also, Poochie should have access to a time machine.

  • Chuck Wrigley

    Another possible rule change: allow each team to have a Designated Runner, who could be substituted for a normal runner (for a limited number of times per game, maybe three) without having to remove the normal runner from the game. In addition to adding suspense and excitement to the game, these presumably-small, fast, risk taking heros would become major scoring threats and might become closely followed nationally. This would add greater emphasis on speed and daring, without diminishing the emphases on hitting skill/strength or defensive ability.

  • TSB

    My 20-something daughter loves baseball, while my 30 old son could care less. I’m OK with the latter, but if he ever became a fan of that girley man game of soccer, he is disowned from the will!

  • GoCubsGo

    One word: BASEketball.

    • DarthHater

      [img]http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5497/12224931394_9c3991e234.jpg[/img]

      • GoCubsGo

        Great flick. The opening of that movie is just so spot on it’s disturbing.

        “The Minneapolis Lakers moved to Los Angeles, where there are no lakes. The Oilers moved to Tennessee, where there is no oil. The Jazz moved to Salt Lake City, where they don’t allow music. The Oakland Raiders moved to L.A. and then back to Oakland. No one in Los Angeles seemed to notice.”

  • Senor Cub

    Using 1986 as a relevant time to point out how much the sport has suffered in TV ratings just doesn’t work!!! In 1986 our TV at home was black and white and I believe it was 13 inches or 19 inches, my sister had a color 25 one at her house. Our channel choices were basic TV and Channel 9 was always on when the Cubs played. There just simply wasn’t anything else on TV that the family cared to watch. Given the limited options, by default you would have a higher number of viewers. Fast forward to 1995 with Cable, I bet those numbers also dropped. 2005, I bet those numbers were even smaller. I don’t have to look at 2015 to know that those numbers will continue to drop with the limitless amount of other options on TV. So yeah, at some point only the purist will watch the sport. I think it falls on us to teach the younger ones behind us the beauty of the sport.

    I also remember when Ice Skating was the only thing on TV, and guess what we did in my house, we watched Ice Skating. We didn’t watch it because we loved the sport, it was simply the best of the worst shows on tv at that given moment. So we watched!

  • MightyBear

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Baseball needs a salary cap and a salary minimum. You can’t have the Yankees, Dodgers, Angels, and Red Sox in the playoffs every year because they can spend more than anyone else. You can’t have the Marlins and Astros trotting out a AAA team and expect their fan base to get excited every year. You want to get young kids in Kansas City excited about baseball? Get them challenging for the playoffs once in awhile. Football and basketball and now even hockey are popular because you don’t have teams that perpetually make the playoffs and teams that are perpetually bad. Teams have ups and downs because they have cap space to add players and they draft higher adding premier talent. Baseball tap dances around those ideas with a luxury tax and compensation picks.

    • Edwin

      Salary caps aren’t about competative balance, they’re about keeping labor costs down. They might help promote competative balance, but I think there are better ways to promote competative balance than with a salary cap.

      • hansman

        The best way to promote competative balance would be to collect every team’s revenue, divvy up 90% of that to all teams and then split the remaining 10% according to W/L record.

        You’d still have some cheap owners. (There have been quite a few teams, recently, that have had payrolls below the revenue sharing levels)

        • bbmoney

          I’d rather have a salary cap.

          And I don’t want a salary cap.

        • Brocktoon

          The marlins would have a 12 million dollar payroll in perpetuity

          • Brocktoon

            And the Yankees might declare bankruptcy within 5 years

    • Voice of Reason

      mightbear:

      A salary cap doesn’t mean success for everyone! There are still teams in the NFL that lose every year! And, there are competitive teams every year. That speaks more to the organization and it’s infrastructure.

      Just because a team spends doesn’t mean they will be successful! Top ten spending teams in 2013:

      New York Yankees — $228,995,945
      Los Angeles Dodgers — $216,302,909
      Philadelphia — $159,578,214
      Boston — $158,967,286
      Detroit — $149,046,844
      San Francisco — $142,180,333
      Los Angeles Angels — $142,165,250
      Texas — $127,197,575
      Chicago White Sox — $124,065,277
      Toronto — $118,244,039

      On the other side, the teams that spent the least:

      Minnesota — $75,562,500
      Colorado — $75,449,071
      San Diego — $71,689,900
      Oakland — $68,577,000
      Pittsburgh — $66,289,524
      Tampa Bay — $57,030,272
      Miami — $39,621,900
      Houston — $24,328,538

      Oakland, Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay did well without spending much!

      AND, Kansas City is no where to be found.

    • hansman

      Baseball does have a salary minimum. It’s somewhere around $600K.

    • Brocktoon

      In the last 4 years, those 4 teams that “make the plyayoffs every year” have gone 5 for 16 on playoff berths

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