Posts Tagged ‘The Incredibly Shrinking Fan’

The Incredibly Shrinking Fan

May 29, 2018

Baseball As I Knew It Then.

Susan Jacoby is the author of “Why Baseball Matters”, recently published by Yale University Press. Because of a tout from my youthfully old St. Thomas High School compadre and writer friend Rob Sangster, it is also now the next book up on my reading list as a source that seems to offer some intelligent, far-reaching thoughts on how changes in our culture may be playing a major role in the younger generation’s future interest in actively following the game of baseball as it is presently played.

Here’s the link:

Now for the scary satirical fun part. ….

Question: Whoa! — As Jacoby reports, baseball is a ten billion dollar a year industry in 2018. What does baseball do if the fans suddenly go away? — Yikes!

Answer: The answer here may be a gradient one, depending on how many fans leave the game and how quickly they disappear. Let’s play with those possibilities.

Hypothetical Gradient Gate Loss Reactions by Baseball Over The Next 5 Years:

(a) 10% MLB Gate Loss by end of 2019: MLB Reaction: MLB Passes on Gate Loss revenues to season ticket holders; installs pitch clock and runner at 2nd base at start of each extra inning game.

(b) Another 15% MLB Gate Loss by end of 2020:  MLB Reaction: MLB tries to pass on new Gate Loss revenues to season ticket holders, but there aren’t enough left after the first year’s penalty to matter. So, MLB simply raises rates on ballpark and television advertising.

(c) Another 25% MLB Gate Loss by end of 2021. Annual gate is now down 50% since the end of 2018. In a move of haste and desperation, MLB reduces its support personnel payroll in all phases to 50% of what it was in 2018 and rules that complete games will now be shortened to six innings and player salaries reduced to 2/3 of what they were, pending approval by the Players Union. 🙂 Game tickets are reduced to 50% what they cost prior to the big gate dive, but fans are reminded that they are now paying a bargain half price for two-thirds of what used to stand as a full game.

(d) Another 40% MLB Gate Loss from 2018 by the end of 2022. MLB makes only one minor change and that’s at the concessions level. Marijuana, recreational and medicinal, is now made available to fans at all 30 MLB ballparks on game day.

(e) By the end of 2023, attendance had bottomed out to nothing. Baseball fans didn’t want Marijuana, and those that did, like those who like hot dogs, could find a better price elsewhere. MLB offered no further changes, but they did send out a survey request to “fans” that reached the public by way of both newspapers and the Internet.

It read simply, clearly, and succinctly:

“Please tell us what you want baseball to be and we will make it happen, even if you want us to remove bats, balls, or gloves from the game. We want that ten billion bucks a year back that we were used to banking back in 2018 and we will do whatever it takes to make that happen again. If you like, Commissioner Manfred is even willing to schedule himself as the dumping pool subject at all 30 MLB parks during the 2024 season —  just so each of you has a chance to show off your own pitching skills.”

(If only the problem were this simple to solve.)



Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle