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America's favorite pastime is still going strong

By Ryan Gibbons
On February 23, 2016

 WRIGLEY FIELD - Devoted Chicago Cubs fans were ecstatic to see their team win the playoff series last October.

It's everyone's favorite time of the year again: the middle of February. Football just came to an end; college basketball is heating up with the end of the regular season near, and the weather is beginning to rise quicker than Johnny Manziel's BAC on a Saturday night. However, the most important event in the middle of February is the beginning of baseball season. For the professionals, the players begin to report for Spring Training to get ready for the long season ahead. For the Cubs fans, they hope 'Next Year' is finally this year. Now, I'm sure many of you might be thinking that baseball isn't America's favorite pastime anymore, but is that really true? 

While it is true that nationally the viewership has taken a hit, baseball has become a big time regional success. Part of the reason for the hit nationally is the fact games are broadcast too often and two of the teams with the largest fan bases, the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox, haven't been their typical powerhouse selves. Due to the ever-evolving technology and services, so many more channels are widely available to people that make it easier to watch a majority of their local teams' 162 games.

"There was an average of 148 games, or over 90 percent, aired during the regular season on regional sports networks," said Maury Brown in Forbes. 

Another reason people believe that baseball is a dying sport is because "young people just don't play it much anymore." This is just wrong. According to the head offices of Little League, approximately 2 million children play youth baseball, and that number has held steady for the last five years. (Maury Brown, Forbes) Whereas the "king" of sports, football, has seen a large decline in youth participation. Outside The Lines reports a loss of 23,612 in two years.

Lastly, people believe that baseball is dying out as a popular sport because there is no revenue from fans or other sources coming in. This is the easiest claim to refute. Baseball players have the largest contracts for sports players, and they have only been growing larger. According to Cots, 13 of the 30 largest contracts in baseball history have been contracted in the last three years. This due in large part to the increasing revenue teams are bringing in from TV contracts. But people don't watch baseball anymore, right? Of course, the largest TV contract went to the New York Yankees for $7.7 billion, or an annual income of $385 million. 

In conclusion, baseball isn't dying; it is merely evolving with the world and new generation of technology and people. Baseball is just as big, and maybe bigger than ever before, but it may take the Cubs breaking the curse for the world to finally see it. 

 

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