Posts Tagged ‘SABR Not Attracting Young People’

SABR Not Attracting Young People

July 1, 2017

Who am I?
(a) Civil War Sec. of War Edwin Stanton?
(b) SABR Member John Doe?
(c) Yankee Reliever Mike Stanton?


My dear St. Thomas fellow writer friend, Rob Sangster, sent me this link to an article that appeared yesterday in the July 30, 2017 New York Times. It was called “Baseball’s Analytics Society Sees a Problem: Avg. Age, Members” and the writer was fellow named Filip Bondy. It proved to be yet another valid take on news that goes way beyond baseball – and that is, that younger Americans, and I would add Millennial age people to the foreground of that growing face of change, are no longer interested in many cultural pursuits that still captivate their aging grandparents.

SABR, indeed, is a perfect demographic example of the issue.

SABR (THE SOCIETY FOR AMERICAN BASEBALL RESEARCH) was the brainchild of L. Robert Davids, who on August 10, 1971, gathered 15 other baseball researchers at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, to form the organization. The 2017 annual SABR convention, in fact, is now underway through tomorrow,  June 28-July 2), and that’s undoubtedly inspired the timely Times piece. I’m guessing the convention may have hosted 8-10% of its total 5800 person membership in New York and that most attendees were older than the just-under-60 average age – and that most were male – and that all possessed at least one ready-to-wear cap and/or jersey from his favorite team and that he had gray hair with a probable gray beard to match.

Going to a small group SABR discussion in July, especially if the AC is not working, can invite fantasized memories of what it must have been like to attend a Lincoln cabinet meeting at the White House during the summers of 1862, 1863, 0r 1864. I recall going to a SABR meeting in Houston on summer night, some time in the past four years, and sitting near a fellow whose face and facial hair reminded me so much of Lincoln’s Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton, that I just couldn’t resist dropping a harmless goodbye line on him at meeting’s end.

“Goodnight, friend! – And please say hello to the President for me when you get home! – Will you please?'”

I then explained what I said and he got it. He even knew who Edwin Stanton was. And he probably also knew that Stanton had never had a time at bat in any early 19th century base ball game either. I should have checked him out for his depth of peripheral knowledge about the early history of the game. Maybe next time. When Lincoln doesn’t need him home so much and will allow him to borrow the SABR time warp passage key.

Hope you get where I’m going with this seems to be – meandering set of observations. The SABR mind leaves no stone unturned. Although some younger people might argue the nuance of irony that “the SABR mind leaves no thought unstoned” as their own sober review of us.

In case you’re wondering, I am neither stoned now – nor do I ever get stoned. I simply enjoy a playful mind at a time in my life in which I’ve come to realize certain truths. To me, it is more important that our children survive in ways that are important to them than it is to keep alive commitments that are important to us. As long as they can grow in their capacities for giving others, including those who come after them in age, the right to be different from them too, things should work out for our kids. And for baseball too.

Baseball will always be bigger than SABR, no matter how many ways some of our members create to measure the game’s productivity. SABR was never placed here as the answer to what’s missing from baseball. Maybe nothing is missing. Maybe all some people are doing is what egos always try to do. That is – to put their own marks on the face of the game. The game doesn’t need to be shorter. And it probably will not get much longer. We need to stop and simply ask ourselves: What is it I get out of baseball that fills my life so sweetly? Or completely? Or Whatever?

Give any subject the right question – and chances go way up that you may find the truth in ways that were never before available.

Along that line, we have made some terrific progress in the way we frame fresh starts over the past sixty years. When I finished undergraduate school in 1960, for example, it was all about going for the answers in life that would guarantee a complete journey to the land of “happily ever after.”

So much for that one.

There now seem to be more of us who’ve come to realize over time, through our own sometimes painful experience, that it’s more important to get the right questions about living in peace and love today, each day, moment to moment, in the here and now, one breath of life at a time.

Give it a try. Ask the questions of yourself. For yourself: If I am spending this much of my life engaged in so many ways with baseball, what am I getting out of it? Really?

And then maybe it will begin to make sense why many of the much younger population feels little attraction to SABR. They are not us. They have their own needs. And they may need baseball differently than we do.

Here’s the referenced link that sparked this modest epistle:


Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle