Hall of Famer Bob Lemon once said, "Baseball was made for kids, grown ups only screw it up."
The rabbit hole of baseball quotes is endless, you'll find the lighthearted ones like Earl Wilson saying that baseball is a nervous breakdown separated into 9 innings, and the hard hitting ones, like Babe Ruth's famous "never let the fear of striking out hold you back." But over the last few years, the newest piece of baseball lexicon is the phrase "Let the Kids Play." What Let the Kids Play means is basically, "screw the unwritten rules, let's have fun," but now it's going to grow to mean much more than that.
Us baseball fans, now need to be united in one cause, nothing to do with what team we cheer for, yet. No matter who you root for, you love the game. I attribute so many things in my life, so many pieces of my character to my baseball fandom, and we CAN NOT let that die. As the population of people who watch baseball grows older, more of the same questions continue to be asked, and I've asked it on my show, "Is Baseball Dying?"
The game isn't dying, but it's been fading away from what it was for a while. People who don't watch baseball seem to have a lack of respect for it, which has attached a stigma to young people who watch and play baseball, which needs to go away. I can today say that if baseball continues to be ruined by Manfred and the owners, and the public perception doesn't change, our game will fade into obscurity and eventually die.
So what can we do to save it? The easy answer is to Let the Kids Play, but there's more to it. How can a sport that pays multiple individual men upwards of $30 million dollars per year to play it, be dying, one might say. Because there are so many people earning so little. Minor League Baseball, so long the backbone of our nation's pastime, is being killed by Rob Manfred and the owners. Interest in small towns around the country will die, then interest in big towns will die, and then before you know it, there are no more people having a catch in Central Park.
Baseball is a more expensive sport to play than basketball or soccer, and the higher-ups in baseball have done nothing to combat it. This is shown in the statistics. Many low-income households can't afford to play baseball or hockey, and this is reflected in the low number of people from low-income American backgrounds, especially African-Americans, in baseball and hockey today.
Obviously baseball is thriving in many places around the world, but we are the home of baseball, and baseball dying here would lead to its' eventual death around the world. Baseball is America's PASTime, and it will forever be that, but that doesn't mean that it will live forever. You never know how much you love something until you lose it, and I hope to god that our baseball community will appreciate the game for the game more so than ever before.
Us baseball fans need to stop caring what other people, people who don't watch baseball, say about baseball. As a wise man once said, "it's okay if you think baseball is boring, it's kind of a smart person's sport." That playful joke is something that we need to take to heart. Baseball won't lose its' diehards, like me and you, but it's about convincing people that baseball is more than a game, it's the lifeblood of our country. To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln "A nation divided without baseball, can't stand," our game won't die unless we kill it.
Lawrence Ritter once said "The best part of baseball today is its yesterdays," and sadly, that's true. We've been bringing baseball into the 21st century with all of our advanced stats, but ultimately, that's not what's going to save baseball.
There is only ONE WAY that we can save baseball.
The burden is on us. Remember how you felt when you first picked up a baseball bat, that feeling when you first went to a ballgame, the feeling when you first played a ballgame. The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat. I don't understand how, if you grow up on baseball, you wouldn't like it. In the movie Moneyball, Brad Pitt, who played Oakland Athletics GM Billy Beane said,
How can you not be romantic about baseball
The feeling of baseball is one that can not be beat, and we need to instill that love for the game that we have, into the future generations
TEACH YOUR KIDS TO LOVE THE GAME THE WAY YOU DO. SHOW THEM THE HISTORY, GIVE THEM THE OPPORTUNITY TO EXPERIENCE THE BEST FEELINGS IN BASEBALL. TEACH THEM THE TRADITIONS, SING THEM "TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALL GAME," RECITE TO THEM THE SHOT HEARD 'ROUND THE WORLD. INSTILL IN THEM A PASSION FOR THE GAME, PLAYING, WATCHING, AND LEARNING, THAT WILL KEEP BASEBALL ALIVE.
The burden of the future of the game that we love is set squarely on the shoulders of our generation, let's not blow it like a bad bullpen.