Still our national pastime?

Story by Zack Katz, Staff Writer

Given the amount of media and other ways we have to stay occupied in 2012, I think it’s becoming harder to claim baseball as the single ‘American pastime’ —especially given it’s only the third most popular sport in our country.

Clearly, football is the most popular American sport in the 21st century.

Sixty-four percent of Americans spend their Sundays watching football, while a Gallup poll reported that less than half of Americans are actually baseball fans.

It’s obvious Americans have become less interested in the sport we once considered our favorite, but I don’t think there’s a clear reason as to why.

With the example of football’s following, I don’t know that we can safely say sports in general have become less popular. I’m sure that an argument could be made for gains in popularity because of how accessible they are through the media — but I feel that’s causing more apathetic sports fans, not only in baseball.

What motivation do I have to sit through an entire baseball game if I can just watch the highlights on ESPN, or even just Google the results?

At the rate our interests and media usage are developing, I think we’ll soon be able to consider Call of Duty the American pastime, given that one in eight households in our country own a copy.

I think others might attribute the decline in baseball’s popularity to the amount of lockouts that have happened in the MLB — since the 1980s, the league has struggled through six strikes.

But the length of it’s season could also be a part of the problem.

Baseball seems to have a much lower priority than football, only because baseball teams play 146 more games per year than football teams.

We have much less to look forward to in baseball than football – I can’t realistically see the amount of Wisconsin football fans we see crowding around yelling at Packer games as a baseball game.

Football might be a better option for a 21st century pastime simply because of how successfully it’s televised. This year’s World Series had the lowest ratings ever, while the Super Bowl continued to be the most watched show in history.

If we were to reevaluate our pastime, would it necessarily have to be a physical sport? After all, South Korea’s national sport is Star Craft 2.

I would argue no. It just seems as though baseball was named our country’s pastime in a time when there weren’t many other options beyond sports.

By these lines of thinking, I think South Korea is a nice example of how we classify entertainment is changing — as a country, people found a cheap, practical way to stay entertained and connected with one another.

Regardless of whether or not we consider baseball, football, or even something like a video game our national pastime in the 21st century, I think the activity should be a contemporary reflection of American culture.