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05-31-2013, 10:51 AM
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Most of the new stadiums also played on boomer nostalgia with their designs which has helped drive baseball popularity for about 20 years now. That "old time baseball" look was a huge marketing success. But 1997's middle-aged NPR-listening guy who loved baseball as sort of a quirky reminder of "old-time" America with main street stores and all that is now approaching retirement and life as a senior citizen.

I think all this talk about inner-city baseball and programs to encourage it etc., I think it's a pseudo debate. If kids were interested in playing it, they'd be playing it. They aren't playing it because they aren't interested. Could that marketing push toward nostalgia have turned off youngsters?

Perhaps, but perhaps one can also question why baseball ought to be more popular than basketball or soccer for that matter in the first place. As a MLB executive I might think it should for obvious reasons but why would it be surprising that out of 100 kids given a choice between different activities only a relatively low number of them would pick baseball.

I think baseball's decline is the story of a one-time (near) monopoly that is regressing simply due to the appearance and popularization of alternatives.

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