Monday, October 04, 2010

Baseball's Resurgence.

Attendance at Major League Baseball games was down for the third straight year; slightly (0.5%) when comparing this year to last. The raw data can be found in the links within this story. Minnesota had a great year, the Mets were a huge disappointment.

Inevitably, this will lead to commentary about the decline of baseball, but what's really going on is this: baseball has bottomed and is at the beginning of a talent renaissance. By 2016 or 2017, that renaissance will be filling stadiums across the nation.

Why? Because professional football has peaked. The level of play in the National Football League has never been better. The coaching has never been as sophisticated or ingenious. The players themselves are much bigger, much faster, much stronger and much more athletic than they have ever been.

And that's the problem. Last weekend Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler suffered a concussion and Philadelphia Eagles QB Michael Vick was injured. There are 20 players who suffer concussions every week and another twenty who suffer injuries that either end their seasons or dramatically reduce their range of motion or ability to compete.

All this carnage has not gone unnoticed. Concussions are not only an immediate and serious health issue, they're potentially catastrophic for players. We're not talking bad knees for the rest of your life. We're talking brain damage.

The parents of highly talented high school athletes are watching this and reading the latest medical information carefully. And at some point there will be a tipping point, when a majority of those parents say to their sons: "You know what, son, you should concentrate on baseball or basketball, football is too dangerous." That moment is almost upon us now, if it hasn't happened already.