The Cover 4 will feature a number of writers to cover a variety of topics. This article is by our very own Long Island Sound, Sports Activist.
It can easily be seen throughout sports and pop culture in America that the NFL, NBA, and soccer are on the rise, and the once glorified sport of baseball is on the decline. No one finds this more unfortunate and painful to present than yours truly, but the days of Peter Gammons and Timmy K are now gone.
As a preface, society in general has become faster and faster over the last decade. Information cannot come quicker. First, the email. Next, the text message. Now, the capability to do both on a phone. Need to scan? Oh, there is an app for that. Any project from construction to video game development cannot be produced fast enough because owners want their new toy to sell to consumers. With all of the enhancements and societal shifts, baseball has happened to stand pat with regards to technology while providing a slower product.
Taking the sports on the rise individually, developments can be seen in each aspect that generate its current prominence.
The most watched and followed sport right now is the NFL. Some may ask why? “South Park” portrayed it best by every child in America can be diagnosed with ADD by a doctor, but the fact is we have a very limited attention span as humans. Each NFL team only plays 16 games, ultimately resulting in every game being important. Each Sunday (Thursday and Monday now) there is an underlying story other than winning and division standings. For example, the Colts played the Titans last week. Was that the Game of the Week for CBS? No, but people wanted to watch Andrew Luck develop. Is Chris Johnson done, and is Jake Locker a NFL quarterback? How did that game turn-out? Each and every game on the schedule presents an underlying story that is watchable. Also, the sky rocketing of fantasy football has only driven popularity; making neutral office workers tune in for work place bragging rights. Plus, when was the last time you watched a Marlins vs. Astros game? 2003, when the Killer Bs took on Beckett, Burnett, and Dontrelle? Exactly. ALMOST A DECADE AGO.
Next, the NBA has fallen into its greatest player class since the days of Magic and Bird. Jordan carried the league through all of the 90s to hand it off to Shaq, Kobe, and the Spurs. Beginning with Kobe and now LeBron, the NBA has aligned itself into mega-powers across the corners of the nation. From Miami, LA, NY/Brooklyn, and OKC, the NBA has founded powerhouses throughout the country with competitive markets in-between much like an equally balanced Risk board. Also, the underprivileged, athletic youth in America tend to take on basketball because of the minimal price to play. All you need is a ball and hoop. A great amount of young athletes are now taking to the NFL and NBA, which diminishes the actual athletic talent pool from baseball. It can be argued the MLB actually has Triple A teams in the majors. The Houston Astros are a minor league team with a hill in centerfield.
Lastly, this may come as a surprise to some but soccer is on the rise in the US. The common argument with soccer is that team USA is not globally competitive. While this statement has been true of past teams, USA has arguably become a better team in the recent decade. It may come as a surprise to some but a large portion of the recent successes of Soccer in America can be attributed to the EA Sports FIFA video game series. The FIFA series has gained steam in the past five to six years; gaining a large followership across the country. Concurrently, playing the game increases fans knowledge of the game and players, while conveying the intricate skill of the sport.
Soccer is 90 minutes (+/- 5) with a 20 minute half. One can leave their house in 110 minutes guaranteed (not a cup game in this situation). We all know the common exchange, “When are you heading over?” Typical reply, “After the game!” If that game is Red Sox vs Yankees, that could be 2.5 hours if ’07 Beckett shows up or 4.5 hours is Dice-K and Phil Hughes get after it; that just does not work for us anymore. Today, everything we download has a defined “time remaining”. Twitter has 140 characters; short and sweet. We are a right now culture that is phasing out the leisurely “watch a ball game” because we have things to do with limited time. Additionally, the advancement of technology has made information and knowledge transfer faster, but the amount of information demanded has increased with it and those expectations are burdensome.
Overall, it hurts to admit, but baseball is behind the times of right now. Growing up playing and loving baseball, the product that is presented on a day-to-day basis does not suffice with 162 games defining a regular season. To quote Colin Cowherd, “Baseball is like the stubborn Grandfather who still doesn’t have internet, it’s not cute anymore; just old.”
Long Island Sound
The Cover 4 Featured Sports Analysis