Reusse: As the building boom ends, baseball is left with issues

  • Article by: PATRICK REUSSE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 5, 2012 - 6:24 AM

The Grand Old Game faces serious generational challenges now that those new stadiums aren't so new anymore.

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mblaineApr. 4, 1210:13 PM

Another great piece, Mr. Reusse. I'll be in Baltimore for the Twins game on April 7.

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lindy_frank123Apr. 4, 1210:43 PM

Patrick you and I are cut from the same cloth...pinstrip and stirup socks. I love the game..and will watch it at any level. I miss the "frostee malts" and real hot dogs. I loved the met and the outdoor atmosphere and the bleachers and knot hole gangs. Think we seen our last dome? I sure hope so.

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cootoriginalApr. 4, 1210:56 PM

That's a long way to get to a Gizmo punch line.

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SqUaReD80Apr. 4, 1210:58 PM

Good article. It's been obvious for quite awhile that baseball is no longer "America's Game"... a distinction that now lies with football. Also, the rise in African American players in the NFl and NBA versus the dramatic decline of said demographic in baseball is not coincidence.

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BallFourApr. 4, 1211:19 PM

New stadiums are old news. Now it's big TV contracts that are the driver. That Minnesota came to the new stadium parade late is nothing new. It's not flyover country for nothing. Had the Twins gotten Target a decade ago when they should have, they could have been benefiting from the revenue stream for a long time. Instead, it was just recently that it was able to sign Mauer, Morneau, Baker, invest $14.3 million in Nishioka. Give $4 million in signing bonuses to teens Max Kepler and Miguel Sano. Double the big-league payroll from 2009 to 2011. Now, the Twins need to get some of that TV loot, instead of waiting a decade. Right now, there are 162 days of programming with big-league baseball, and it's not going to be recorded for later, with people skipping the commercials. This is one way advertisers can still reach people on TV. As for the game dying, people have been writing that for a century. You can look it up.

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tpatmahoApr. 4, 1211:21 PM

Yes, Pat, that's exactly what they want, to trap the fans in the ballpark and sell them $8 beers and $10 meatballs. Meanwhile, they go cheap on the players and raise ticket prices because they figure they have at least five years until the crowd starts to notice they're being suckered. I love baseball, but it's killing itself with greed at the same time that it gets slower and slower, with nibbling pitchers, 3-2 counts to every hitter, and 3-hour plus games.

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rshacklefordApr. 4, 1211:59 PM

"Huge attendance during the grand early seasons of these ballparks helped to cover up the fact baseball has serious generational problems. You can see more Twin Cities kids playing lacrosse in the spring than baseball." ---- What fun is it to stand around while on defense and wait around while on offense? Great fun for lazy overweight kids I guess. Today's kids recognize that baseball is a sport meant to cure insomnia. In lacrosse, you RUN. In soccer, you RUN (for 90 minutes too). In rugby, you RUN (and get to run into people without pads on).

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cjvirnigApr. 5, 12 1:18 AM

The lack of African Americans in MLB is not an indicator of the game's gradual demise. In fact, one could argue that along with soccer, baseball is the most diverse sport in the world. Nevertheless, of all the great things Bud Selig has done for the game during his tenure, adequately bolstering the RBI Program is not one of them. MLB needs to do a better job of marketing the game to inner city African American athletes. After all, the ability to make a living playing professional baseball is infinitely more attainable than it is playing pro basketball (where rosters are so small). Even if a kid never makes it to The Show, he can still earn up to six figures a year playing minor league ball. His odds of making it to the NBA are laughably slim. BJ and Justin Upton, Matt Kemp, and Torii Hunter are all guys who could just as easily have devoted their efforts to basketball or football. But why? Not only are your odds better of making a living as a pro baseball player, but your career, on average, will be far longer than in either of those other sports, thus raising your earnings potential. Granted, it's not quite this easy. Baseball may be a non-contact sport, but one could very easily argue it's more difficult to master at a professional level than any other sport on Earth. So not every kid could just give up football and decide to play baseball. I'm hopeful Selig's replacement, whoever that may be, will give the RBI Program the financial backing that it truly needs.

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crockrockApr. 5, 12 2:13 AM

I was so happy to find out my kid made the 9th grade baseball team until i found out that he was one of FIFTEEN that tried out!! 40 9th graders tried out for lacrosse! Baseball takes a certain amount of intelligence in order to excel.... i worry for the youth of this great land. Good thing fifty years from now Pat; you and I will be gone and won't have to see how far our grand old game has fallen!

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tom322Apr. 5, 12 2:31 AM

True, the number of African-American players who were in starting line-ups in 1965 was significant, however it's important to keep in mind that Major League Baseball was made up of 2/3 the number of teams that exist today. Players back then weren't spread out as far as they are now. The average number of African-American players per team does not necessarily answer whether there are fewer African-American players in Major League Baseball presently as compared to back then. A dedicated census over a period of time would help indicate whether that is the case and whether there may be a diminishing trend in the overall number.

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