The game of baseball was and still is referred to as ‘America`s pastime.’ The game was a gateway for many great players like Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Willie Mays, Jackie Robinson, Ted Williams, Hank Aaron, Cy Young, Lou Gehrig, and many more legends. Fans would come from all over to watch them play as they would fill up ballparks from city to city, watching their favorite teams and players leave their mark on the game for generations to come.
Baseball has not changed much since its first recorded game during June 19, 1846 in Hoboken, New jersey. Very few rules have changed. Like the fact that a game was decided based on who scored 21 runs first under the “Knickerbocker” rules that were in place until 1872. Games were capable of lasting all night under the system. Today, we are accustomed to a game of 9 innings in which each team has a total of 27 outs to score as many runs as they can. The team with the most runs wins. Pitchers used to also pitch the entire game and bat. There were no designated hitters and it was rare to see a pitcher like Cy Young come out of a game. Today, there are multitudes of pitchers like mid-relievers, long- relievers, starters, set up men, and closers. It is also common to see a designated hitter at bat in place of a pitcher from time to time, especially in the American League. These are among the few changes baseball has undergone in its existence. For the most part, baseball is played much like it used to be. While there may not be many changes in the game since its start, the one change I have in question is, “Is baseball still America`s pastime?”
Some of you may have an answer for the question. I encourage you to share your thoughts. Here are mine: As a Cincinnati Reds fan, I have found myself constantly watching the currently NL Central Division leaders who are experiencing a great year to date with a record of 38-27. I enjoy watching them on television during most nights of the week and try to go to games when I can. However, while watching the Reds and the teams
they play on television, I am seeing a lot of empty seats during the games. Despite having a 1st place lead in their division the Reds are ranked in the lower half of the league in attendance, ranking at 19th with an average of 27,312 fans per game (source:mlb.com). This ranking supports up my initial thought on having empty seats. If a division leader like the Reds, who have a history of success and a great fan base cannot fill their seats then how can the game be phrased ‘America`s Pastime’ if Americans will not come and support their teams play like they used to? Open for thoughts!