Jul 16, 2014, 11:33 AM EDT
God, it was such a good week here in Minneapolis. A fun All-Star Game. Big stars. Streets, seats, bars and train cars filled with excited baseball fans. The nation’s attention turned, as always, to the Midsummer Classic.
But, sadly, none of us were aware that this was actually a wake, not a celebration. Because [altogether now], baseball is dying, you guys:
Major League Baseball has never been better — at least that’s what somebody will tell you and sell you.Except it’s untrue . . . Baseball is losing its luster. As ticket prices get higher, interest goes lower. As options on television expand, baseball’s grip on the American public gets ever more slippery.
Seventeen of the game’s 30 teams have poorer attendance than a year ago at this time. World Series television ratings get more disappointing year after year.
Household-name players — I mean popular and scandal-free ones like Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter — have come to the ends of their careers, with no clear heir-apparents.
Is there a star player of today you’d go out of your way to see?
Those are your All-Star starting pitchers. Would you recognize either one if you saw him coming toward you on the street?
This is just pure old-man/back-in-my-day-ism. If you can’t look around baseball and not see who the big young stars are, you’re just not paying attention. Mike Trout, Andrew McCutchen, Miguel Cabrera, Evan Longoria, Felix Hernandez, Freddie Freeman, Bryce Harper, Giancarlo Stanton, Jose Fernandez, David Wright, Matt Harvey, Carlos Gomez, Adam Wainwright, Matt Carpenter, Arolidis Chapman, Yoenis Cespedes, Yasiel Puig, Clayton Kershaw, Buster Posey, Paul Goldschmidt, Troy Tulowitzki, Anthony Rizzo, Starlin Castro, Jose Altuve and any number of other amazing players may be somewhat hard to make out immediately if they’re wearing a suit and tie, but I feel like not at least giving one of them a nod as, perhaps, an exciting player says far more about Mr. Downey than it says about the state of baseball.
Ultimately, though, Downey’s criticism boils down to (a) World Series TV ratings; and (b) the fact that there is not another Derek Jeter waiting in the wings. We’ve talked so much about TV ratings in the past here that I won’t rehash it. As for the Jeter thing: I’m curious as to how many people thought Derek Jeter was going to be Derek Jeter back in 1994 or 1995.
Oh well. Now I’m getting angry and that could lead to me being disrespectful. But I won’t do that. This is a funeral, after all, and no one should make a scene at a funeral.
- Frank Wren fired as Braves GM, John Hart to take over on an interim basis 41
- AND DOWN THE STRETCH THEY COME! Sizing up the final week of the regular season 36
- Must-Click Link: Derek Jeter opens up. Seriously, he really does. 42
- And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights 57
- Must-click link: Tommy Harper and the Red Sox’ racist past 56
- Settling the Score: Saturday’s results 34
- Matt Garza ejected after hitting Andrew McCutchen a second time 34
- Tigers hang on for second straight win against Royals 8
- Geddy Lee’s baseball obsession makes it really hard for me to hate Rush (123)
- It certainly looks like Barry Bonds’ criminal conviction is going to be overturned (105)
- Ron Washington claims he resigned because he cheated on his wife (103)
- Umpire ejects jackwagon fan heckling Bryce Harper in Atlanta last night (85)
- And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights (83)