Major League Baseball Has Its Own Mortgage Crisis

Dave MillerContributor ISeptember 30, 2008

The playoffs are upon us.

It is now time for everyone to write those columns explaining why their favorite teams will crush the opposition.

It is now time to think back to your childhood and how you grew up in this moment, watching, or listening to the greats of history shine on the October stage.

Names like Ruth, Berra, Ford, Koufax, and Robinson. Mays, Gibson, Lolich, and Rose.  Carter, Brett, Schilling, and of course, Reggie.

It is time to grab a brew, sit down on your couch, with your kid next to you, and share the greatest game in the midst of its annual run to the Fall Classic.

More than any other sport, baseball is a product of history. Shared history that is passed on from generation to generation.

To sit with someone that was able to see Ruth play is a gift. To share that moment with your son or daughter is a blessing.

Yet today, baseball seems to be leaving those moments behind. A shared bond between generations is no longer as important as money to the decision makers in Major League Baseball.

It all started with Charlie Finley, former owner of the Kansas City/Oakland A’s. Finley was the owner that proposed playing World Series games at night to increase audiences and drive up ratings.

Sadly, it worked—in the short run. 

Ratings increased, money was rolling in, and everyone was happy. 

Except the average fan.

Nighttime baseball, while holding some advantages, also had one big inherent weakness—it cut kids out of the mix.

Baseball now is televised at a time when families are putting their children to bed. As the length of games stretches past midnight, it is increasingly difficult to justify keeping kids up at night when there was a full day of school coming tomorrow. 

Baseball mortgaged their future with night baseball and we are now seeing the results.

Drive around most small cities in America today and the kids outside play soccer, not baseball. 

The bond has been broken.  The sacred bond between sports generations that for the most part only existed in baseball. 

The inheritance has not been passed on, because it has been lost.

Turn on the news and they will drone on and on about the financial crisis hitting Wall Street.

Major League Baseball has a crisis of its own—a steadily eroding fanbase, stemming from the inability of kids to grow up watching a World Series.