HOT BLAST: Baseball's appeal (of lack of it) to young Americans
Oct 31, 2013 | 1234 views |  0 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A boy slides in the mud during a rain delay of a youth baseball tournament last year in Oxford. (File/The Anniston Star)
A boy slides in the mud during a rain delay of a youth baseball tournament last year in Oxford. (File/The Anniston Star)
If you've ever been at one of Calhoun County's larger youth baseball complexes during the spring or summer -- such as the one in Oxford -- you might disagree that baseball no longer holds kids' interest as it once did.

However, the numbers don't lie. Baseball interest, in both participation and TV viewership, isn't what it once was (though this year's World Series TV ratings were significantly higher than the last few years').

The Atlantic magazine has published a splendid story about baseball in America. It discussed baseball's historical beginnings, how it came to be America's pastime, and how for some Americans -- especially black Americans -- the sport, by and large, is no longer at the top of the list. Fathers' influence on children is particularly important in baseball, the magazine writes.

The Atlantic wrote, "As they were in the 19th century, adult men are still at the root of the problem. For all their lamentations about baseball’s declining appeal to young boys, modern dads are often unwilling or unable to instill the craft of baseball. In the most blighted urban areas, where baseball has seen the sharpest decline, dads are sometimes absent altogether. When they don’t spend the time, when they don’t instill the essential skills, the craft of baseball—the essence of the modern game—languishes. After all, it was not designed for everyone’s enjoyment, but for the recreation of those whose prospects in life depended on diligent effort, patient learning, and the acquisition of difficult skills."

All that may be true, but come spring time, I expect the Little League fields all across Calhoun County will again be full of teams of all ages.

-- Phillip Tutor
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