By CASEY MUSE JR.
It’s that time of year again. Prepare for hot dogs, home run balls and mediocre renditions of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”
The Major League Baseball season is back, with opening day occurring April 3.
For many fans across the country, opening day is an unofficial holiday. Skipping obligations to spend a day at the ballpark could be considered tradition.
Each fan base senses a fresh start with new opportunities.
Yes, the beginning is always the best part but how many people actually hang in there the whole season?
In comparison to other professional leagues, MLB plays almost double the number of games. They also do it in the same, if not a shorter time span.
The MLB plays a 162-game regular season over approximately 183 calendar days.
The National Hockey League and the National Basketball Association both play 82-game regular seasons over roughly 180 calendar days.
The National Football League uses a different schedule, with 16 regular-season games over about 120 calendar days.
Many baseball fans believe there are too many games and the games are too long.
The average MLB game currently lasts two hours, 52 minutes. Granted, these are improved numbers thanks to recent rule changes.
Just two years ago, the average game lasted well over three hours. The small progress isn’t enough for some.
It seems most who pay attention have taken a side.
Many “old school” followers view baseball as more than just the game. They say the involvement and interaction builds the experience.
How could you not love the excessive concession foods or get excited at the thought of catching a home run ball?
The newer generation doesn’t exhibit the same kind of devotion. The MLB has suffered a steady decline in both television ratings and in-person attendance, according to numbers from businessjournalism.org and other sources.
There must be some kind of halfway meeting point. Quicken the game without sacrificing tradition. More experimentation with rule changes is a good start.
As everyone looks for the league to make more progress during another year, we are left with a familiar generational gap in one of the most popular sports in the country.
Baseball does not have the same appeal it once did. We are left wondering, will the game ever recapture its greatness?