Attendance in Major League Baseball has been declining since 2013. This is happening while Home Runs and Strikeouts are at all time highs, but hits are near an all time low.
Are these things connected and part of a systemic issue?
Through May 31st, 440,561 fewer people have attended games vs 2018. For context that’s 26,700 fans per game. Attendance peaked in 2007, averaging 32,696 fans per game. 79,484,718 total.
*The numbers below are an average per team, per game*
There have been an average of 1.34 home runs per game. The record is 1.26 during 2017. It’s important to note that this is significantly more than any year during the so called steroid era. The average was 1.14 during the 1999 season when guys like John Jaha, Dean Palmer and Brian Giles were hitting 35+ homers.
2019 has as average of 8.75 Strikeouts per game, on pace to set another record. The last 3 years have been over the 8 mark. As recently as 2009, it was under 7.
Lastly, there have been an average of 8.46 hits per game. 2018 was 8.44. Prior to that, you have to go back to 1972 to find a season with fewer hits per game. For those who like stats, Wilbur Wood led the league that year with 376 innings pitched. Guys like Gaylord Perry, Nolan Ryan and Catfish Hunter were dominating and throwing 280+ innings.
So here we are. To summarize; attendance is dropping, home runs are increasing, guys are striking out more while getting fewer hits.
Maybe we should just read those backwards. Are all of those things leading to decreased attendance? Yes, says I.
As a lifelong baseball fan, I find it sickening to watch players go 1-4 with 3 strikeouts and a solo homer. Yet, we celebrate dingers. The old “chicks dig the long ball” mentality. True as that may be, it makes for really boring baseball. Guys like Derek Dietrich are on pace to hit 40+ homers while striking out 130 times. No offense to Derek, but he’s the definition of the problem. He’s been remarkably mediocre during his career. His sudden power surge will likely make him an all star and show him dancing around on TV during the home run derby.
So this poses the question to everyone out there; Does baseball have an identity issue? Does the game need to change from the bottom up, or is THIS the future?
Let’s hear your thoughts and perspective.