The Fordham Ram

America’s Pastime is Still Great

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(Courtesy of Julia Comerford/The Fordham Ram)

(Courtesy of Julia Comerford/The Fordham Ram)

(Courtesy of Julia Comerford/The Fordham Ram)


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By Emmanuel Berbari

(Courtesy of Julia Comerford/The Fordham Ram)

For a league established in 1869, anointed by many as the greatest game in the world and continually perceived as America’s pasttime, there is certainly an overwhelming amount of confusion.

It’s no longer going to the game with your old man, eating a couple of hotdogs, bringing your scorebook and taking in nine innings, perhaps gaining a new appreciation with each time at the stadium.

There’s more to it. There are cries for help. There is frustration, pain and wonder.

Now, the game is not just supposedly “too long,” but it’s too “technologically-driven.” There are frequent debates about how players should be “valued,” but it’s too “analytically-based.” The game is too “boring,” but there are complaints as to the “impurity.”

Apparently, the statheads are “ruining the game,” but the purists do not truly “understand it.”

What happened to the excitement and intrigue? Why are there restaurants, charging stations and breastfeeding locations inside stadiums? How did we get here?
Let’s start at the top: “old age” vs. “new age.”

There either needs to be a mix or acceptance of both ends of the spectrum. Sure, batting average and runs batted in are not the most accurate ways to determine “value.”

Should both statistics be diminished? Absolutely not.

Now, there are stats such as Weighted Runs Created Plus, Wins Above Replacement, and On Base Plus Slugging Plus, Earned Runs Average Plus and Fielding Independent Pitching.

Pitching wins are definitely not the best way to measure pitching talent, but does the stat need to go away? Why go through the trouble? Why mess with the record books that meant so much to several generations of the game?

It’s much like politics. There’s a so-called “right” and “left”; the traditionalists and the advanced sabermetricians. Even when you’re in between, you get caught in an argument and “must” choose a side.

It’s ruining the game.

These heated debates detract enthusiasm and tire out the sport’s true core. For the outsiders, why would they want to hop aboard? The game appears to be filled with a bunch of whining fanatics.

We’re in a new age. That’s a fact.

If you’re streaming a game from your laptop to your television, there’s a strong chance you will know what happens in the game via Twitter before you see it on your screen.

If you do not want to sit through nine innings (or more), you can watch highlights on your phone during the game or after. You can track each pitch, and at-bat, on an app and learn more about it than you would have in-person. All of the information appears in an eyeblink.

That’s potentially the reason for these “declining ratings,” rather than a lack of interest.

The same goes for the stadiums. For these very reasons, people cannot sit through the game. Attention spans have run too short.

They’d rather converse on their phone with others, or consume food and beverages with the friends they haven’t seen in a while than go to a ballgame.

It’s no longer just a game. It’s a spectacle; more importantly, it’s entertainment.

Why should we waste time wanting the game of old when practically the same game is right in front of us, simply altered because of the assets at our disposal? It’s not just one side of the spectrum that needs to “get with the times.” It’s everyone.

There should not be disrespect for to those who were taught to appreciate the game in a certain manner.

Let those people watch the game how they want to watch it. If these analytics prove effective enough, it will become the norm for every young baseball fan to watch in a new light, thus officially changing the tides.

Technology is not going anywhere. Why dwell over it?

Society has changed, and so has the sport we all love.

Adapt or perish.

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America’s Pastime is Still Great