In an earlier blog, I mentioned a survey in the latest issue of Baseball America. It's an interesting survey, which asks about the popularity of baseball compared to other sports. Here are my thoughts...
Yes, Baseball is my favorite sport. I like baseball because it is relaxing. I can count on baseball everyday of the summer. I can listen to games while I work around the house. I can take my son to baseball games and we both enjoy it without having to put up with a large, drunk, obnoxious crowd (NFL anyone?).
My next favorite sport is NFL football, probably just because that's the other major league sport in my town (KC). Football is a great sport for TV. For over 12 years, I've had season tickets to the Chiefs, but over the last few years I've found it less enjoyable to go to the games. With tailgating, it can be an 8 hour affair. Without tailgating, you get to the stadium and have to park way far away (and pay $20 to do so). Then you walk to the stadium and wait in a mob to get in the gates. Then, almost without fail, drunk loudmouth fans will be around you. My son is 10 years old, and I still do not feel comfortable sharing this experience with him.
I don't believe MLB needs to do anything to make it more appealing. The biggest mistake MLB can make is to try to make baseball more like football or basketball. I'm afraid that baseball will get desperate to remain a popular sport and will start tinkering with rules to try to make it "less boring." The "boring"-ness of the game is what is so appealing.
This reminds me of the steroid debates that are raging this year. I keep hearing the argument that "fans want to see more homeruns." I disagree. The beauty of the game is the strategy, the gracefulness, the chess-match moves that managers make throughout the game. It isn't a game for huge brutes. I would argue that it's more exciting seeing a runner try to go first to third on a base hit than seeing a bulked up monster trot around the bases.