“Baseball is dying” is dying, you guys


On Monday we began the week with a classic Baseball is Dying story. Today, from the Wall Street Journal, a “well, maybe baseball isn’t dying” story. It’s supported with polls and data which suggest that, while football is still the most popular game, the gap isn’t as big as often portrayed, it may be shrinking and that baseball is actually not dying, you guys:

By most of these measures, the NFL comes out ahead—perhaps arguably in some instances. But as the figures show, baseball is far from dead. Attendance is steady, revenue is strong, and fans spend substantial amounts of time on the game—statistics that don’t always get emphasized in the news media’s narrative about the Old Ball Game.

“Baseball is still very popular,” says Sean Forman, president of Sports Reference, a website devoted to sports statistics. “It’s just popular in a different way than football is.”

Narratives are funny like that. If you start with one and work from there, looking for data to support it, you’re always going to find what you’re looking for. If you start with data and use it to draw objective conclusions, you’re going to wind up wherever the data takes you.