COLUMN: America's past-time is just that
Published: Thursday, October 17, 2013
Updated: Thursday, October 17, 2013 13:10
“Take Me Out to the Ball Game” is a song many Americans both old and young know and associate with one of the most American sports — baseball. 174 years ago in the summer of 1839, Abner Doubleday invented the most iconically American game; a game that still has large crowds filling stadiums and getting children out of school in order to watch.
Baseball is Americana at its finest and is still a major sport played in this nation and a growing sport in many others.
However, the common belief is that the love and support for this sport is declining and the rise of football fans grows rapidly. I made it my mission to find out exactly what is going on with the top 30 baseball teams in comparison with the top 30 football teams. To my surprise — and my sports editors — my findings were interesting.
Going onto the ESPN’s website, I looked at the total home game attendance for the top 30 baseball teams and the top 30 football teams with the highest home game attendance total for the season.
Looking at the 2008 and 2012 seasons, I totalled them up for the MLB and the NFL. Taking the averages to my editor in chief, he was able to find that the percentage of attendance at homes games has increased or decreased.
Total attendance for the 2008 season for the MLB home games reached 78,591,116. In the 2012 season, the total home game attendance was 74,859,268. Crunching the numbers, we found out the total home game attendance dropped by 4.86 percent, a striking number.
Now to coincide with common opinion that the NFL home game attendance would have increased. However, according to my calculations, the totals were slightly different. For the 2008 season, the total home game attendance was 16,435,497 and in the 2012 season is was 16,404,022. This means that the attendance actually dropped .19 percent.
Many would say this is proof that baseball is going to be on life support in the near future. However, I would disagree. Contrary to popular belief, although baseball is losing fans at home games, football is not vastly increasing.
Since baseball is so ingrained within our culture and society, I highly doubt that baseball will not go extinct. Instead, I have concluded that baseball will go the way of boxing.
Boxing has been around for hundreds of years and ebbs and flows in popularity. Although boxing did not have the following it had in 1920, it still has fans and spectators and still broadcasts on major sports networks.
Baseball will so go the way of Mike Tyson rather than Old Yeller. There will always be somebody who can list off the winners of every World Series, there will always be somebody talking about American baseball legends like Jackie Robinson and “Shoeless” Joe Jackson.
Baseball is part of who we are as a nation and as a people. America and Baseball go hand-in-hand with apple pie and Marilyn Monroe. Although fads in dress, music and presidents change with time, baseball will be a constant within our society and culture for many years to come.
I have only been to one Major League Baseball game when I was five years old, but I still remember the feelings of excitement and of bonding with my family, and like with everyone else in the stadium, I say at the top of my lungs, “Buy me some peanuts and cracker jacks, I don't care if I ever get back.”
–Taylor Underwood is a sophomore double majoring in cultural anthropology and western history. He is currently publishing a study on the board game subculture at USU. Send any comments to tunderwoodUW21@gmail.com.