America’s Pastime?

Mets star David Wright looks disappointed as he stands on the field during Game 5. (Left). Royals catcher Salvador Perez celebrates with his World Series MVP trophy. (Right). Image created by Mike Cipolla
Mets star David Wright looks disappointed as he stands on the field during Game 5. (Left). Royals catcher Salvador Perez celebrates with his World Series MVP trophy. (Right).
Image created by Mike Cipolla

by Mike Cipolla

After a long 162 game season, the World Series started on October 27 and ended on November 1. The World Series is a best of 7 series that determines who is the champion of the baseball world.

This season two teams tried to end their long drought of winning the championship. Representing the American League was the Kansas City Royals who had not won the World Series since 1985. For the National League it was the New York Mets who last won in 1986. The Royals made it to the World Series last season but lost, and the Mets had the worst record of this year’s qualifying teams in the NL.

The Royals have some of the best young players in the league including Eric Hosmer and ace pitcher Johnny Cueto. The Mets are lead by multiple-time All-Star and 757 legend David Wright as well as power hitter Daniel Murphy. So the stage was set.

But the real question is, did anyone pay any attention to it?     

Baseball has always been known as ‘America’s pastime’ but it does not have the same popularity it used to on the national level. But baseball is not dying. Baseball is still the most participated in youth sport with over two million kids playing Little League each year. Meanwhile the Pop Warner football participation numbers have gone down largely due to the dangers of the game. According to Forbes magazine there are more kids involved in bowling than in football, yet there is hardly any attention paid to pro bowling. Young people want to play baseball and there is definitely a big interest in it.

However, popularity of a sport at the professional level is not decided by participation of youth athletes. The “decline” of baseball in America is largely determined by poor television ratings; with its high TV rating, football has now taken over as the number one sport in America.

Baseball is much different than both football and basketball. People do not find it exciting to watch for three hours on TV. That is understandable. The game has less action than the others and generally takes longer. For example, Game 1 of the World Series ended in a Royals victory after five hours and 14 innings. Of course, more people will tune into the Super Bowl rather than a five hour World Series game. TV ratings should not dictate an overall interest in a sport as some sports seem made for TV and baseball is not one of them.

Senior Jackson Smith, an avid baseball fan and Bishop Sullivan baseball player, still believes his favorite sport is ‘America’s pastime’ and always will be.

“I think it is still ‘America’s pastime’ because just about everyone has had some experience with baseball and there’s nothing more American than hot dogs and a ballgame,” said Mr. Smith

‘There is nothing more American than a baseball game.’ That statement could not be more true. Baseball is much more than a game. It’s a summer night or afternoon at a Norfolk Tides game. It’s the smell of hot dogs and popcorn as you walk in the stadium. It’s fireworks after the game on the 4th of July. It’s standing and singing during the 7th inning stretch. It’s catching a foul ball or getting a player’s autograph as a kid. Baseball is many things but above all it is America’s game.

The 2015 World Series ended on November 1 with a 7-2 Royals victory in the 12th inning. The Royals won the series in five games and it was their first title since 1985. The MVP was Royals catcher Salvador Perez. Winning the World Series was the fulfillment of a lifelong dream for every player on the Kansas City Royals. All these players started playing baseball for some reason. Some players grew up watching baseball, some were Little League stars, and others were born and raised in different countries. They all love baseball and came together to achieve a World Series championship.

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