“Baseball is dying” is dying, you guys

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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.

Donaldson ejected for kicking dirt on plate after home run

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
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Minnesota’s Josh Donaldson managed to get ejected while hitting a home run.

Donaldson barked at plate umpire Dan Bellino for the second time in the sixth inning of a 4-3 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Thursday.

With the score 2-2, Bellino called a strike when the 2015 AL MVP checked his swing on a 2-0 pitch from Reynaldo Lopez.

Manager Rocco Baldelli came out to speak with Bellino, and Donaldson homered down the left-field line on the next offering. After rounding the bases, Donaldson kicked dirt at home plate as he crossed it.

Bellino ejected him immediately, and Donaldson, realizing he had missed home plate, returned to the plate to touch it and then argued as he kicked more dirt on it.

Donaldson also had argued with Bellino on a 1-1 breaking ball in the first inning that appeared to be high but was called a strike, leading to a strikeout.

“We need Josh on the field, out there playing, and at third base,” Baldelli said. “That’s when we’re at our best. And so that’s really the end of it. I think we can move past it at his point, and go from here.”