Young rising stars breathe life into America’s pastime
Baseball is struggling to keep kids interest and is at risk of losing these fans to other sports. Young athletes are taking their talents to sports such as football and basketball, leaving America’s pastime in the dust. While baseball still remains strong in America, it has a disconnection with younger fans.
In today’s ADHD society, kids would rather play fast paced, physical games like football and basketball where every moment counts versus baseball where thinking ahead and anticipation are vital. Bussinessjournalism. org statistics show that ratings and viewership of both Fox MLB Saturday and “Sunday Night Baseball” on ESPN have been on steady declines for over a decade now. Fox MLB Saturday went from averaging 3,377,000 viewers per game in 2001 to only 2,500,000 by 2012. The ratings also dropped, from 2.6 in 2001 to 1.7 in 2012. Baseball has enough fans to thrive now, but in another decade or two that could all change. The game of baseball must address its disconnection with young fans or risk losing the next generation.
This is why this youth movement in baseball is so important. This past year’s All-Star game featured 20 players age 25 or younger. In the 85 years the All- Star game has been played, the game has never seen this much young stars filling its rosters. This rise in young talent can only be positive. Young stars will prove to be marketable to a younger audience and will become the new faces of baseball. With Jeter retired and other aging stars facing retirement, baseball needs stars like twenty-two year old Washington Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper and twenty-three year old Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim centerfielder Mike Trout to represent the game.
A new wave of blossoming stars could spark interest in adolescent fans. This new push for young talent is sweeping the league. Baseball’s newest representatives will serve as role models for kids to admire and look up too. The National Football League (NFL) and National Basketball Association (NBA) are leagues dominated by recognizable superstars, so baseball gaining its own generation of superstars is crucial for America’s pastime to survive.
These young players are already making an impact too. According to ESPN.com article written by Senior Editor Jayson Stark in July, eleven of the league’s 30 teams are being led in Wins Above Replacement (WAR) by a player 25 or younger, as of the All-Star break in July. Harper, Trout , twenty-three year old Yasiel Puig of the Los Angeles Dodgers and twenty-five year old Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins are already some of the biggest names in baseball. Despite being several years away from their primes these players have been dominating the league since their rookie years and show no signs of slowing down. Not only are young players commanding rosters right now, but there are still quite a few prospects in the farm systems who are loaded with potential. Twenty three year old Chicago Cubs’ third baseman Kris Bryant was an All- Star in his rookie year and still has only shown a fraction of the talent he capable of.
This new generation of stars is exactly what a today’s generation needs to become lifelong fans of baseball. Whether they want to or not, this generation of ball players has the potential to save baseball. Baseball may be fine now, but this youth movement is breathing much needed life into an aging game.