The first professional baseball team was established in 1869. Two weeks later someone probably wrote a column about how baseball was dying, on its way out and utterly utterly doomed.
From then until the present day, scribes have proclaimed baseball to be a dead sport walking. Here’s the latest, from the pages of the Kansas City Star. It’s possible it’s a reader submission — I’m not sure — but it’s given the newspaper’s imprimatur, so I consider it fair game.
As usual, it uses national television ratings as the metric, completely ignoring that baseball is primarily consumed on the local level, not the national level. As usual, it treats baseball different than the NFL and the NBA, noting that each of those leagues has had labor chaos, but then somehow using that as a sword against baseball, warning Bud Selig that he had best be wary in the face of the upcoming collective bargaining sessions with the player’s union. As if baseball’s labor house isn’t leaps and bounds better than that in the other sports.
What is it that gives people such joy in tearing into baseball like this? In proclaiming its death despite the league’s overall financial health and near-historic attendance levels? I don’t expect everyone to come to praise baseball, but I never cease to be amazed at the impulse to bury it.