If I’m in my office alone, then the computer is streaming the audio feed for ESPN. One of my favorite (and least favorite) hosts is Colin Cowherd. Cowherd is a bit full of himself, but he is a legitimately sharp guy. While I might not always agree with him, he’s right an awful lot of the time and has some excellent ideas.
Cowherd is a huge NFL fan, and he really doesn’t make much time for baseball. I admit, the NFL puts out a great product. The weekly game schedule gives the perfect amount of time for buildup and then digestion of the game. Also, every game is important during the regular season. You can’t say the same thing for baseball. Is baseball so bad? No, but it’s not as well suited to the marketing machine of ESPN.
Cowherd loves to talk ratings. Apparently the All-Star game had a lower rating than the Pro Bowl this year. That is shocking. Baseball’s All-Star game is easily the best of all the big all-star exhibition games in sports. The Pro Bowl is a joke. Not even the players want to play. Apparently attendance is also down for most MLB teams this year. Baseball has problems. It’s had problems for a while and they are well publicized. Juiced athletes, imbalanced teams, diluted product, etc.
I don’t have any data, but I’ve heard anecdotal comments about the best high school athletes going into basketball and football over baseball. Kids don’t play baseball these days. They are fans of other sports. If kids aren’t fans of baseball, they’re not going to collect cards.
I was at a show a couple weekends ago. There were barely any kids there. Look at cards these days. They aren’t designed for kids. Now there is only one baseball card company left – Topps. I don’t think that Topps is going anywhere soon, but the hobby does not seem too healthy. Historically, Topps hasn’t been the most creative company.
What will collecting look like in 10 years? I see a lot more people leaving baseball card collecting than entering it.