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Perspectives: THANKS (for nothing) MLB

by Paul Semendinger

December 12, 2021


I know there are those that say that the lockout is coming at a good time for baseball. They say that people don’t care about baseball in December and that not much happens this time of year.

They are wrong and wrong again.

I’ve been running this blog for over four years. I see trends and note them over time. I have a very real sense of when baseball fans are interested in the game. I live this on a daily basis.

When the Yankees are playing great baseball, we tend to get a lot of page views.

When the Yankees are exciting, we tend to get tons of page views.

When the Yankees make big trades or big signings, or there is a controversy of some sort, we see a big uptick in page views.

On and on and etc…

Those are typical and expected fluctuations that a site like this would expect.

What most people wouldn’t expect is that rather than being a month when people don’t care about baseball, at least as far as this site is concerned, December is actually when readers visit this site the most.

Our best month for page views in 2018 was December.

Our best month for page views in 2019 was December.

Last year, 2020, December was our second most viewed month.

Baseball fans care about baseball year-round. Year-round. That’s just a fact.

These trends have stayed steady through format changes on the blog that have changed the way the site looks and is read.

But this year, the year of the lockout, our typical page views is down over past Decembers by more than 50%. This drop took place the moment baseball closed its doors.

This is what the people running Major League Baseball do not understand. At all. People are disappointed. They are angry. And many (a great many) are moving on to other things. The people who run baseball believe they can take the game away from the fans and that they fans will stay loyal and just come back. They are wrong. Very wrong.

What they did in shutting down the game was send a very loud and very clear message not to the players, but to the fans. They said, “We don’t care about you.” They also said, “We take you for granted.” These statements are both very true. VERY TRUE.

When the lockout first came, I posted an article here stating that we’d probably be cutting back to three articles on most days. That’s only happened once. Because of the creativity and hard work of our writers, we’re still producing a ton of content. We have put a minimum our four posts a day every day this month but one. We continue to work hard because we care about the game and its history. And we love the Yankees.

The larger population though cares a lot less about the game. But even the ones who care, care a lot less.

A sport like baseball is held in a public trust. We, as fans, support the sport in untold amounts of ways – including financially. By locking us out, the commissioner and the owners told us they don’t care about this trust. They told us that they don’t care about us. They don’t care about you. And they don’t care about me.

The owners think they locked out the players, but they really locked out the fans. The players will eventually come back. They have to. It’s their job. But mark my words, the fans won’t. They just won’t. It’s going to be a long time before Major League Baseball is able to rebuild its good will. And trust. It’s going to be a long time before many fans care again.

If they ever will.

Because many will not. Ever again.

I have warned that baseball is on unsteady ground. The fans won’t rush back to the game. People are moving on. And they already have.

Fans understand what is fair and what is just. They see a sport that’s a mess in so many ways. There have been so many things in recent years, including cheating scandals, a vast uptick in betting, and now the revelation that the sport used two different types of baseballs last year that make casual fans doubt the very integrity of the game.

Last year baseball “reorganized” the minor leagues taking teams away from communities nationwide.

It seems that all the people who run the game talk about is how bad the game is. We’re told the games are too long and too boring. Rules that have been part of the game since the start are tampered with. Many fans don’t even recognize the game from even a few years ago. One of baseball’s greatest features was its ties to its long history. Babe Ruth and Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle and Thurman Munson wouldn’t understand 7-inning double headers, imaginary runners in extra innings, pitchers having to be used for three batters at a minimum, and more. They would wonder what sport they’re watching.

The people running the sport are ruining the sport.

A now this lockout. This doesn’t endear the sport to the fans. At all. This just makes the fans move away and find other ways to occupy their time. And once the fans generate new interests, they don’t always come back. This is a truism of life. Once we move on to other things, we don’t necessarily go back to the activities that used to occupy our time. Baseball will learn this lesson in profound ways when the seats remain empty and the jersey sales plummet to all-time lows. (I know of many would-be fans that have not purchased baseball items to give as gifts for the holidays. And why would they?)

Thanks baseball owners, for taking such joy from me and from countless others. Your selfishness in this time especially, is very ugly. Our actions reveal our true character. Our actions demonstrate if we care.

In many many ways, Major League Baseball does not care about the fans. They demonstrate this often. With the lockout they made this abundantly clear.

This used to be a great month to be a fan.

Not this year.

What you all might find is that it might never be… again.

The caretakers of the game couldn’t care less right now. They think they’re winning.

But they’re losing.

And each day this goes on, they lose a little more.

Well done MLB.

Thanks… for nothing.


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