Is Baseball America's National Past Time?

At one point, baseball reigned supreme as America’s National pastime. Just 50 Years ago, the baseball world looked forward to the all New York World Series. Whether it was the Giants against the Dodgers, or the Dodgers vs. the Yankees, either way, Baseball is what the public loved and followed all season long.

            Nowadays, once the Football season starts all attention is turned to predictions on who will win the Super Bowl, who will win the Opener and how the recently selected draft picks will perform this season. Sure, 1998 helped out baseball’s rating with the McGuire / Sosa slugfest, just as the Mantle / Maris chase did in the 1960’s, but even with that boost of interest in the game, we have never been able to truly call baseball, America’s National Pastime.

            Another condition, which has substantially lowered the fan’s interest in the game, is the great jump in technology in recent years. We hear stories of little boys in the 1950’s collecting baseball cards and putting them on their wheel spikes, from our elders. Nowadays, boys choose to collect Sega game cartridges, rather then a Ken Griffey Jr. rookie card.

The Internet is a big part of the lack of interest as well. In the past, you could either listen to the radio if the game was in your area, or wait for a special edition paper to be printed. Now, you can just go online and get up to the minute scores in seconds. We can even watch the game on Simulcast at ESPN’s website, or better yet, download our favorite announcer calling the game 3,000 miles away and listen to his voice over our computer speakers. Rather then Bob Shepard announcing the batters approaching the plate live at Yankee Stadium, we choose to go to Sears and buy a palm pilot so we can told when our favorite team scored, while going fishing! 

            Another condition is the slowness of the game. A football game takes about 2 hours, and there is much more play action during that time then during a baseball game, which by that time is in the 7th inning stretch. Hockey’s Gretsky and Mario Lemiue have given fans a reason to watch hockey over baseball. Which would you rather see, “The Great One,” scoring a hat trick in under 19 seconds, or McGuire hitting a Homerun after 7 fouled off pitches.

            Sports fans today see more of a profession in basketball then in any other sport. They may play sandlot games during the summer occasionally, but that is only because the courts are all filled up. A Pro Basketball plat is what every young boy wants to become when he grows up. The game that fans of all ages used to flock to, in order to get autographs from the greats, like Ruth, DiMaggio, and Mantle, are now more interested in getting Michael Jordan, Shaq, and Kobe Bryant’s autograph.

            As the years changed so did the interest in sports teams. The kids of the 1950’s followed baseball, the kids of 200 follow basketball, the next generation of fans may be more interested hockey or football for all we know. Only time can tell-but one thing is for sure, baseball is no longer the “in” sport this half century.