Is money affecting youth baseball?
Added by Gregg Snyder on January 14, 2010.
This is a follow up to my article earlier this week about Little League baseball. It made me start thinking about why kids are dropping out of baseball or just simply not joining at all. Baseball was once a game that anyone could play. It was a kids game, America’s pastime. So what happened? Why are the number of participants dropping?
I am sure there are many kids like the previous article mentions that feel overwhelmed when they need to advance to the next level because of their age. The new program Little League has developed should help those kids out greatly, I firmly believe in that.
However, I think that will only help the children that are already participating in baseball programs. What about the other children? The children that can’t afford to join leagues and teams. In many areas, signing up your child for sports is very expensive. Now, having your child outside and a part of a team should be thought of as priceless, but I can see why some people just simply can not afford it.
Gone are the days of simple aluminum bats or simple cleats and gloves. Prices of everything have gone up. Its not cheap getting your son or daughter the equipment needed to participate in the sport of baseball. Thats not to mention the league fees that most towns and cities charge. Those league fees are so high because now a days umpires get paid pretty well, insurance costs are rising, and field maintenance in many areas is difficult. Add in travel teams and training spots, thats even more money. Baseball has become a money game and it’s starting at an early age.
Many children are choosing to play soccer as an alternative to baseball. Many parents are fine with that. Soccer is most likely a lot less expensive. There are still league sign up fees, but there is less equipment. Get your child some cleats and shin guards and they are all set to run around kicking a ball. What child doesnt think that is fun?
Major League Baseball is spending a lot of money developing players in countries outside the United States. Why not make sure American baseball stays on top? Yes there is a ton of talent in other countries such as Dominican Republic, Japan, and Mexico. There is also a lot of talent in the United States. Why cant Major League Baseball spend some money in the US to promote the sport? Granted, most areas of the US have more money than many foreign countries but MLB should still help them promote thier sport. After all, it is called America’s Pastime.
Little League baseball needs to figure something out. The new program they are starting certainly will help some kinds, but what about the others? It is a shame to see so many children staying away from the game of baseball. This sport is so amazing that every child should at least experience the game.