Baseball, Beer, and Hotdogs: Is America’s Favorite Pastime Past Its Prime?
Baseball may be seen as a man’s game, but it has always been a favorite of female sports fans in America. The sport has even been referred to as “America’s Pastime” since the mid-1850s. The popularity of the game can be seen by the fact that over thirty million people routinely watched the World Series during the late ’80s and early ’90s. There’s some worry though, that the popularity of the sport may be waning in the new century. Understanding what drew moms and girlfriends to baseball in the first place is important to understanding its popularity, but some baseball fans are asking, “is the sport in the bottom of the ninth?”
What’s so Special about Baseball?
To the die hard fan, there’s no way to deflate their love of this test of wits and athleticism. There may be those out there who say that baseball is just a boring game, but the handsome, cool player will always be someone’s heart throb. While the sport may not appear to be as loud and heart-pounding as something like NASCAR or football, it does have a hi-energy appeal to it. One commentator pointed out that baseball was meant to be savored rather than gulped. Fans are able to reflect on the occurrences of the game between pitches, innings and team changes on the field, and there’s no denying the heart stop thrill of a slide into base just under a roping throw.
For many people, baseball is all about the experience. Simply going to a game, buying a hotdog and a bubbly beer, sitting back with one’s friends and watching a strict competition of skill can feel exhilarating. The experience of merely watching the game and the athletes in person, and being immersed in the atmosphere, is enough to keep many people coming back. But, it may be that this doesn’t appeal to quite as many people as it once did.
Is it the Top of the Ninth for Baseball?
For statistics and baseball fans everywhere, it appears as if the sport’s appeal has dropped off. The viewership for Major League Baseball’s (MLB) World Series hasn’t come anywhere near the levels of the early nineties for years. In fact, the very last World Series, played in 2012, had the lowest numbers since viewership records for the game began to be tabulated. Could it be that the game’s critics are right about it being boring? Not for many, but there are definitely a few factors in play.
Is Player Misbehavior a Factor?
There have been far too many controversies involving major league sports and the players involved in the games. This is no different in baseball. Yovani Gallardo, for instance, was just recently arrested for driving under the influence. While some fans may overlook this, many will not. What’s even worse is the fact that advertisers don’t want to be associated with incidents like this, so they’ll often pull their advertising dollars from a team. As aptly described by one prominent Tampa DUI lawyer, “If you are successfully convicted of driving under the influence, your entire life could be spent dealing with the consequences.” The detrimental publicity could end up bringing financial undoing to an organization.
Players, however, aren’t the only factor. Fans can actually cause issues as well. In one incident, an intoxicated patron fell on a woman in the New York Mets baseball stadium and seriously injured her. This led to a lawsuit against the Mets organization for over-serving a patron. Luckily, most fans can enjoy a few beers without getting involved in messes such as this.
Fans who are looking to keep the game enjoyable should limit their alcohol consumption if they have to drive. A DUI, as Yovani Gallardo can now attest to, is no laughing matter. Fans that are charged with the crime can get a DUI defense attorney that may be able to help them avoid license suspension, fines and even jail time; but avoiding this scenario altogether by moderating one’s drinking at the game can help those who still love baseball continue enjoying the game without any hard feelings.
It’s extremely unlikely that we’ll ever see a day when the MLB isn’t a force in American culture, but how big of a force it will stay remains up in the air. Between player misbehavior, over-serving patrons and negative effects towards advertisers, it’s possible the sport may never regain the majesty that it once carried, and be able to make it to home plate in the hearts of as many viewers as it once held.
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