5 Reasons That Baseball's Popularity Is Reaching All-Time Heights

Robert KnapelCorrespondent IJune 26, 2012

5 Reasons That Baseball's Popularity Is Reaching All-Time Heights

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    Baseball is America's pastime, and fans cannot wait to get out to the ballpark to go and see games. Many teams have seen their attendance numbers increase over the past few seasons.

    According to a press release by the MLB, attendance numbers are looking fantastic this year (via Craig Calcaterra of NBC Sports). They are up 8.1 percent thus far.

    There are a number of reasons why the game is more popular than ever.

    Spending a summer night at the ballpark is always an experience, and it is good to see that more and more people are taking advantage of that opportunity.

Interleague Play

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    One of the catalysts that has been driving increased attendance numbers this season has been interleague play.

    Attendance has been 15.8 percent higher at interleague games this year, according to Craig Calcaterra of NBC Sports.

    The reasons for this are fairly simple.

    Fans get the opportunity to see players that they normally have the ability to watch only on television.

    Secondly—and arguably more importantly—there are a number of intra-city rivalries, such as Mets/Yankees and White Sox/Cubs, which draw incredibly well.

Close Division Races

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    Entering play on June 26, no second-place team was more than four-and-a-half games out of first place.

    The team that is that far out is the Los Angeles Angels, and they are a team that has an immense amount of talent.

    Eighteen teams are either in first place or within five games of first place. With a lot of baseball left to play, any of these teams could reach the playoffs.

    Fans are more likely to come to the ballpark when their teams are playing well.

Elite Young Talent

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    Players such as Bryce Harper and Mike Trout get fans excited. People want to see them whenever they play against their own favorite teams.

    Of course these two are not the only players that fans want to go out and see.

    Starting pitchers such as Clayton Kershaw and Justin Verlander can help draw crowds, as well. There are so many players—Matt Kemp, Troy Tulowitzki and David Wright, just to name a few—that are big draws in the majors right now.

    Because of this, on any given day, there are a number of can't-miss games.

Twitter

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    It is so easy to stay connected to the game of baseball now. It has expanded beyond just fantasy baseball, which has a huge following on its own.

    Twitter has allowed fans to connect with their favorite players, teams and coaches. This allows fans to get closer to the game.

    Nick Swisher has over 1.5 million Twitter followers, and David Price constantly interacts with his fans on Twitter.

    This connection is certainly helping to bring people to ballparks.

Baseball Is Cleaning Up Its Image

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    There are still players in the MLB that have been caught using steroids or other performance-enhancing drugs, but the MLB has done a great job of trying to clean up the game. This helps keep the fans who appreciate the integrity of the game coming back over and over again.

    Gone are the days when many of the top players—such as Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire—were guys that had taken performance enhancers.

    Now, the game's top players have cleaner images, even in light of Ryan Braun's offseason saga.

    The important thing is that the MLB has made a major effort to clean up the game, and it has seemingly worked.