Is America’s pastime becoming America’s naptime?

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Deemed as one of the staples of Americana, alongside hot dogs and apple pie, one would expect more excitement to come from people when the World Series of major league baseball comes around.

With the MLS season coming to a close and NFL season on its way, much representation has been seen for soccer and football teams. The same cannot be said for baseball. Throughout the season in spring and summer, and even with the World Series in the fall, the baseball season has completely slipped under the radar. As someone who grew up with an adoration for baseball, it’s sad to see such a beloved sport falter in popularity.

I am not alone in thinking the U.S.’s love for baseball has become more distant. When asking people, the general consensus was that baseball was out, and football was in.

“Football has definitely stolen the spotlight from baseball,” says Sally Link, head cashier at Sprouts, “I mean you’ve probably seen it by now. The traffic in the store is greatly affected by whether or not there’s a Seahawks game. The same cannot be said for baseball at all. It wasn’t always like this either […] the love for the sport has just seemed to have suddenly dropped off.”

There seem to be two major reasons as to why baseball has become less and less popular, one reason being more local, the other general.

The Mariners, our local baseball team, are not great. Being now the only team to never make it to a World Series, people seem to not have a lot of faith in our team. The ill performance of the Mariners is exacerbated by the fact that our other teams are very successful. The Sounders recently won the MLS cup, and the Seahawks are having an incredible season and have been making the playoffs consistently for the past several years now.

The second issue is with the sport itself. Many find baseball to be slow and uninteresting. Without a doubt baseball has less than average stimulation in terms of action, and so many people are less than content with sitting down and watching baseball for three or four hours.

“People say that it’s slow and it’s boring,” explained EdCC student Tanner Angel. “That’s what like, everyone tells me.”

To me baseball is very much a sport where most people who are interested in it are so because they played it at some point. Much of what makes baseball interesting is the strategy involved, which can be difficult to notice without prior experience. Deciding when or if to put a pitcher in, what pitch to throw, and changing of positioning are all technical things one must think about at all times from the defensive side. Many of these unfortunately go unnoticed, as is the case with any sport, however there is not a large amount of action to compensate for this.

Unfortunately, baseball can be difficult to find space to play. Sports such as soccer boom in popularity in many countries due to its ability to be played almost anywhere. As long as there’s an open space, a ball, and something to make goal posts, people can play a game of soccer. Soccer has the added bonus of being able to be played indoors during inclement weather, and advantaged baseball doesn’t have in our rainy state, unless you want to rent a batting cage.

Baseball, on the other hand, needs equipment and a lot more space. People need bats, balls, gloves, and bases, as well as a big enough field to play on. While games such as stickball exist, they are nowhere near as popular as the likes of soccer due to the lack of similarity to the original sport.

Baseball has still has grown in popularity in certain countries. The sport has been popular in Japan since the turn of the decade. However, by far the most prominent area of growth is Latin America, particularly in the Caribbean. Baseball is taken very seriously in this region, and many pro players have come out of the area.

Pros grew up believing they could make it big and succeed in life, many came from impoverished areas and saw baseball as a way to make it out of poverty In particular, leagues take place in the winter, with competitive spirit matching the likes of the MLB. Despite a large number of pros coming from these leagues, they see almost no media coverage. The games had in these leagues are incredibly entertaining to watch, because both the players and fans are incredibly engaged. The players are playing at the tip top of their game, and often American players will come down looking for easy competition and get completely stuffed out. Likewise, the fans are focused on the game, being regarded as having some of the best knowledge of the sport out of any region’s fans.

Although baseball is seeing a drop of popularity in the United States, attention has moved South and taken over Latin America. Even so, baseball can be very interesting when taking note of the intricacies of it, and I would hope that America’s pastime would not be forgotten by time.