America’s Pastime is slowly dying, here’s how to fix it.

America’s Pastime is slowly dying, here’s how to fix it.

Baseball is declining in viewership and attendance, but it can be saved

Will Shepard, Staff Reporter
Originally published November 27, 2019

Cartoon by Peter Brown

Cartoon by Peter Brown

In 1986, during the first game of the World Series, 36 million people tuned in on their T.V. to watch. From all across the nation the tension was building, slowly mounting as the country sat down and opened up a beer to watch “America’s Pastime.”

And now? In 2019 the first game of the World Series between the Astros and the Nationals attracted 3.6 million viewers, just one tenth of the viewership that baseball used to command. This, when combined with the fact that baseball attendance has dropped six of the past seven years, solidifies the idea that baseball is slowly dying. 

Why has the sport which used to be at the forefront of American news and media coverage, which had millions of people rushing home from work every day to catch the games on at night, began its descent? 

If you were to ask someone they will most likely give you the same answer. “It’s boring.” I have heard that response hundreds of times whenever baseball is brought up. And quite frankly it is a lot of the time. So how do we make it not boring?

Embrace Drama

First off, Major League Baseball has to embrace drama. The NFL, just last season allowed for group or team celebrations. This is because the NFL realized that drama makes people want to watch. In football, when a team scores a touchdown they can now perform any number of special or unique celebrations and acts of showmanship to infuriate the other team and hype up their own fanbase.

These clips and celebrations will get shared endlessly on social media, thus generating new viewers and people interested in football. However, baseball seems opposed to celebrations and drama of any kind. 

The MLB constantly claims and shuts down any videos or content that contains baseball footage on YouTube. There are also endless articles and commentators that claim that bat flipping, the act of flipping your bat after you get a homerun, is disrespectful to the sport of baseball. 


Bat flipping is just the type of drama that baseball needs. Fans love players that are invested in the game, that trash-talk the other team and all of their actions are just a little bit extra to enrage the other pitcher. When the players appear more invested and show the pride for their team, so do the fans. I love it, and would tune in every night to see personal rivalries. 

Bat flips will get posted to social media, and create the type of hype that we see for football and basketball drama, drawing more people to the sport and the action.

Oversaturation Of The Market

The second problem in baseball, fundamentally changes the core of the game. There is too much baseball. Way to much. Each MLB team plays a total of 162 games per year. 

In the NBA and NHL that number is 82. In the NFL they play 16. If there is an interesting matchup in baseball there is no reason for me to watch it, because that same matchup will be on the day after it, and the day after that. 

In the NFL, when two superstar teams are playing, I know that these two teams most likely won’t cross paths again. This is the one matchup this year, the one time where they will face off on the field. In the MLB that just isn’t there. 

There is too much baseball, and in order to create the tension and hype that precedes each Sunday, when Patrick Mahomes takes the field against Tom Brady, baseball games must matter. Right now, with 162 games, they don’t.

I believe that baseball can change, and that it can return to its thriving past. Baseball can learn to thrive in the social media era, But it will take change from its management and fanbase to let this happen. Baseball must change, and quickly.