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Is Baseball’s Attendance Problem A Result Of Overall Mediocrity? The Argument Is Plausible

How Low Attendance Rates Are Affecting The MLB We noted here last week the general decline in baseball’s attendance from last year’s sorry numbers. We cited a bevy of...

How Low Attendance Rates Are Affecting The MLB

We noted here last week the general decline in baseball’s attendance from last year’s sorry numbers.

We cited a bevy of bad teams enmeshed in rebuilding – some seemingly forever – and how cities with a strong baseball tradition, such as Baltimore and Cincinnati, no longer can count on a loyal fan base to drive attendance over 10,000 on most dates.

Bill Madden of the New York Daily News had a few thoughts on the attendance issue and they’re good ones. We’ll share:

Madden first cites “the overall quality of play” and that there are “only a few really good teams in baseball, a whole lot of mediocre teams, and way too many bad to awful teams that have no chance of making the postseason.”

By Madden’s reckoning, at even at this early juncture, the Baltimore Orioles, Miami Marlins, Kansas City Royals, Detroit Tigers, Cincinnati Reds, Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Angels, San Francisco Giants and Texas Rangers have no chance at the playoffs. That’s nine of 30.

He then adds in the mediocrities – the Oakland A’s, the Pittsburgh Pirates, Toronto Blue Jays, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Milwaukee Brewers – who are “sufficiently flawed” and could easily miss out on October play. Now we’re at 14, not far from half of Major League Baseball’s franchises.

So 16 teams are competing for eight total spots in the postseason and we’re in the second week of May. It’s a long haul to Game 162 – a long, boring one if your team cannot contend, either by intent to “tank” and rebuild or because it was too cheap to acquire quality players.

There are other things wrong with baseball – pace of play, ever-changing strike zones, endless pitching changes – but Madden makes a strong point about what we see on the field.

Of course, not every team can be good. But none seem great and too few seem to be good.

In a world of short attention spans and competition for the entertainment dollar, baseball has been, and continues to fall short of rival leagues.

 
 
Post By: Larry Weisman, a longtime sportswriter for USA TODAY, blogs for Twistity.com. Follow him on Twitter @MrLarryWeisman

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