Bradford Doolittle, a writer for ESPN.com, a website and a network that pretty much ignore baseball, wrote an article last week that was pretty surprising, for two reasons.
One, ESPN, as a partner of the NFL, usually goes out of its way to disparage baseball. Two, this article showed that baseball is stronger than ever. Participation in youth baseball is healthy and growing.
Contrary to popular opinion, baseball is not dying. Just the opposite.
As Doolittle reports, 14.8 million kids participate in baseball in the United States, which is more participants than soccer and football combined. All those kids try to have the best gear to practice their favorite sport all the time, like the soccer cleats from http://ohpsoccer.com/. That is really an eye opener. One reason might be that parents are reluctant to sign their kids up for football and soccer because of the rampant concussion issues.
Add in softball, and together the two sports outrank basketball in participation.
Participation in baseball among kids six and older grew from 4.5 percent to 5 percent from 2014 to 2016. In fact, baseball is the only sport that saw a growth in participation between 2011 and 2016.
For one year, 2011, soccer shot past baseball in total participation. But that didn’t last. As of 2016, nearly 2.8 million more kids played baseball rather than soccer.
To paraphrase Mark Twain, the rumors of baseball’s death have been greatly exaggerated, what baseball fans are witnessing in Arlington, Texas, notwithstanding.
Cole Hamels (3-5, 3.74) vs. Garret Richards (4-4, 3.67)
Game time: 8:07