Baseball deemed nation’s second favorite sport

by Staff Writer Mike Ezekiel

America is all about baseball, hotdogs and apple pie. Or is it?

Baseball, long deemed America’s pastime is no longer considered the country’s favorite sport, according to recent studies.

In 1985, there was a one-point difference between the percentage of American adults who followed at least one sport and considered pro football (24 percent) or baseball (23 percent) to be their favorite.

Now, pro football holds a 16-point edge as it is the top pick at 32 percent, and baseball is second at 16 percent, according to a Harris poll conducted in January 2015.

Decrease in support of baseball has raised the question, “Is baseball still America’s pastime?”

UNA baseball head coach Mike Keehn said he blames the media for the decline in baseball.

“I think the biggest thing is the media has changed a lot in our society and in sports,” Keehn said. “We have a lot of people in authority and a voice that has an opinion on the way the game should be played.”

Keehn said he believes baseball is a beautiful sport that has been ruined by altercations.

“I think the media hinders (baseball),” he said. “It’s always negative. We are obsessed with how long baseball games last. They complain about low scoring, so we need more scoring. It’s like this game everyone is trying to manipulate when they don’t understand the game.”

Sophomore Amy Carraway said she acknowledges the decreased interest of baseball, but still considers baseball to be America’s pastime.

“I think baseball has always been unique to America,” she said. “(Baseball) reminds me of Coca-Cola, candy bars, apple pie and the American dream. I think baseball will always be our pastime, even though we may have more football fans in America.”

Senior Skyler Stewart, who played football for the Lions in 2013, said he believes football is now more popular.

“I do not think baseball is America’s pastime anymore,” Stewart said. “People will watch the Super Bowl. People don’t watch the World Series like they used to. I remember watching it as a child and as I got older, I grew apart from it.”

Keehn said baseball is now an international sport, while football is considered an American sport.

“In basketball you have a lot of European players and in baseball, you have everybody,” he said.

Keehn said baseball takes more skill than any of the other sports.

“Baseball is by far the highest skilled sport of any of them out there,” he said. “Whether people like it or not, it is. The ability to move a runner over or the ability to hit a ball is tremendously difficult.”

Keehn’s appreciation for the art of baseball is shared by some, but arguably, most sports fans are interested in the spectacle of a basketball or football game over the chess-game feel of a baseball game.

“We have such a high emphasis on football,” Keehn said. “It’s basically been ingrained in everybody that football is the greatest sport. Some have chosen we need to have football 365 days a year. And to me, the media has gone in that direction.”

Opening night for the MLB is April 5 when the St. Louis Cardinals face the Chicago Cubs at 7 p.m.

Opening Day for the other 28 teams starts April 6.