Catch this with Carly: America’s pastime strikes out

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When the sport of baseball was introduced, Americans couldn’t get enough. The baseball craze began in the 1850s, quickly gaining speed as the most popular sport in America. This trend continued through the next one hundred years and beyond.  After becoming a professional sport in the early 1900s, the game plummeted into a period of low-scoring games and lack of home runs known as the “dead-ball era.” This period ended when the “Golden Age of Baseball” began in 1920. Lasting until approximately 1960, this era was characterized by star players like Lou Gehrig, Ted Williams, and Babe Ruth. During this time, the entire nation was captivated by the sport. Millions of fans tuned in to listen to games on the radio, and later to watch games in black-and-white on newly-invented televisions. Everybody seemed to be in agreement that baseball was the national pastime.

Yet here we are, nearly half a century after the Golden Age of Baseball, and frankly, people no longer care about the once massively popular sport. That isn’t to say we have all completely lost interest in baseball; a number of talented baseball and softball players still attend our school and some students might still support MLB teams they grew up watching and hearing about. However, the majority of disagreements heard in the halls between sports-watching students aren’t about their favorite baseball teams. They’re about something entirely different that now captivates people of all ages across America: football. Most of us who enjoy watching and participating in sports aren’t interested in when spring training is or what teams made it to the World Series. We’re more interested in Sunday/Monday Night Football, college football Saturdays, and the Super Bowl. Since 1985, the percentage of U.S. adults who follow pro-football has risen from 24 percent to 32 percent, while the number of adults who follow baseball has fallen from 23 percent to 16 percent, according to Business Insider.

This shift of national interest from baseball to football can be attributed to a number of different causes. The first, and arguably most important, is the inconvenient timing of baseball games. Baseball games are typically scheduled during the workweek in the evenings, whereas most football games are scheduled on weekend afternoons and nights. The majority of people are not able to watch baseball games when they air because they have to wake up early in the morning to go to school or work.

In addition to bad scheduling, baseball games are simply too long to keep up with. The average length of a baseball game is two hours and 56 minutes. While this is shorter than the average NFL game, it is more plausible for fans to watch one NFL game of this length per week than to watch baseball games of the same length every night, as they would have to do to keep up with their favorite team. There are also exceptions to the average. I once attended a playoff baseball game that lasted five hours and did not end until one a.m. Since we all lead busy lives and need an average of eight hours of sleep per night, people are much more likely to keep up with football instead of baseball.

There is also the argument that baseball is just simply boring. In football, there is constant action that keeps games exciting and entertaining to watch, while in baseball, home runs are the only opportunity for excitement.

When it comes to sports, everyone can find a way to relate to football. Whether it’s the town they grew up in or the college they attended, even non-sports fans feel included in supporting those teams and feel a sense of pride when football season rolls around. The traditions built by football, from tailgating to deeply-rooted rivalries and even to Friday night high school games, far outweigh outdated baseball traditions like the first-pitch and singing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”

So while some may cling to baseball as the national pastime because of pure history, it’s important to remember that’s exactly what it is: history. Our nation and its traditions evolve, and we should evolve with them. While the sport of baseball is still around, its spirit has left the diamond and moved to the football field. It’s time to leave “America’s Pastime” in the past, and accept that football is the new national sport.