This Week in Baseball

-Taylor Ballinger, Matt Korte, Jeff Gangloff

Good morning, Nation. We’re back with our weekly installment of “This Week in Baseball”, where Taylor, Matt, and Jeff will highlight interesting and/or important stories happening throughout baseball. As always, hope you enjoy – and let us know what you’ve been reading by posting in the comment section below. And, for heaven’s sake, let’s get a win today!!

Marlins Players Fail to Show for Charity Event

Steven Wine, Yahoo Sports

Cheer up, Reds fans! Things could be worse. Sure, our fair club is mired in a six-game losing streak. And sure the rotation’s ERA over that span is a shade under a dozen. But, at least we’re not Marlins fans! They’re stuck in an eight-game losing streak, and to add insult to injury several players skipped out on a charity event after committing to attend. As the song from Monty Python’s Life of Brian and Spamalot goes, “always look on the bright side of life.”  (Ballinger)

MLB’s Key Quarter-Mark Questions

Anthony Castrovince, Sports on Earth

My take after I read articles like these: the Reds are in no-man’s land. Not quite good enough to merit mentioning as a potential contender, not quite bad enough to consider selling (at least, not yet). It’s tough to follow a team mired in mediocrity. The good news, though? The Reds have 120 games remaining to turn this thing around! (Ballinger)

Why Children Are Abandoning Baseball

Brian Costa, The Wall Street Journal

A few weeks ago, I highlighted an article that showed baseball’s historic start to the 2015 season, at least in regards to revenue and attendance for the first two weekends of the season.  This article highlights an issue that could threaten the long-term success of the game, especially when it comes to the quality of the players being developed in the United States. The article brings to light an alarming trend over the past decade of fewer and fewer young people participating in baseball, and the coinciding lack of funding to support youth leagues across the country.  Perhaps most telling is a stat that shows that since 2000, participants in youth baseball, ages 7-17 have declined by approximately 3 million players, from 8.8 million in 2000 to only 5.3 million in 2013.  If baseball wants to continue to develop not just American-born players for the future, but also countless fans who will be buying the tickets decades from now, it needs to address these issues and find a way to increase participation among the youth. (Korte)

What MLB Can Learn from Japan

Molly Knight, Sports on Earth

Hopefully you just read the preceding article I highlighted, pointing to the downward trending participation in youth baseball…perhaps a solution to help create more energy and excitement around MLB games for today’s modern sports fan can be found by looking a few thousand mile across the Pacific.  This article reflects on the writer’s recent trip to Japan and what a group of moderate sports fans took away as highlights of a Japanese league baseball game.  I mean, how can you argue with beer girls?  (Korte)

Ricky Henderson Tribute

To follow-up on Matt’s articles, here’s a Ricky Henderson highlight video. Check out the bat flip/home run trot at the 2:15 mark. It’s a thing of beauty. I’m unabashedly in favor of more celebration and showmanship in baseball. It’s a child’s game played by grown men, not a G8 Summit Meeting. If a player hits a home run, he should be able to flip his bat and stare down the pitcher. If a pitcher saves a game, he should be able to somersault toward his catcher. Baseball has taken itself far too seriously for far too long. Would this sort of showmanship bring in a more youthful audience? I don’t know…but I don’t believe it would hurt. Now, please don’t get trapped in the You Tube highlight rabbit hole for the next couple of hours. Not that I have experience with that or anything… (Ballinger)

10 bizarre baseball rules you won’t believe actually existed

Chris Landers,

Baseball has been around for a long time and has seen some incredibly strange rules come and go throughout the years. Chris Landers of examines some of the strangest, from catchers being able to stand behind home plate to the outlawing of the spitball and pitchers being grandfathered in who had been throwing it for years. (Gangloff)

10 Highest Beer Prices in Major League Baseball

Caroline Nolan, The Street

When it comes to baseball, nothing beats a day at the yard accompanied by a hot dog and an ice cold beer. However you, like me, have probably noticed a drastic price increase in beer at major league baseball stadiums over the past few years. The Street lists the ten highest prices in Major League Baseball and gives tips on how to escape the ballpark without completely breaking the bank. (Gangloff)