Baseball, specifically MLB, is still dealing with the aftermath of the Steroid Era: during the nineties and early 2000s, people loved to see Barry Bonds, Manny Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez, Jose Canseco, and others hit bombs and reach enormous season totals.
The same happened with Bonds three years later.
Now, those players are being punished by voters for their involvement with steroids.
The steroid controversy hit baseball’s popularity in recent years.
The Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal also hurt the league’s reputation.
The current Commissioner, Rob Manfred, has been heavily criticized for many things, and that has also affected the sport in the eyes of fans.
The Worst Side Of Owners
In the last couple of seasons, additionally, baseball fans have seen the worst of the negotiations between MLB owners and players.
First, there was the ugly dispute over the conditions to play the pandemic 2020 season.
Months of negotiations, fruitless meetings and talks were required for both parties to agree on revised rules and a late start, in July, after a brief “summer camp”.
Now, the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) expired on December 1, and the two sides haven’t been able to negotiate a new one.
It’s mid-January, and there has been no traction in talks.
If the two parties can’t come to an agreement by the next few weeks, regular season games could be lost and the season will, again, start later than it should.
The owners, specifically, simply refuse to share any money with players and ignore many of the game’s issues.
These situations are piling up, tiring the viewer, as all he/she wants to do is sit back and watch baseball.
In the minds of many people, the NFL and the NBA had already passed MLB in popularity shortly after their respective mergers, in the sixties and seventies.
Of course, popularity is, for the most part, subjective, but that was the general consensus until the home run era arrived and captivated fans.
But the 2020 and the still-pending 2022 campaigns have left a sour taste in fans’ mouths.
Fans Can’t Like What They Can’t See
They want to watch games, and all they get is daily news about what owners offered the players, and how it’s a pathetic offer that had to be rejected.
Well, we guess that’s better than no news at all, which is what fans had to endure during the entire month of December: yes, there were no offers, no economic packages, and no news for more than five weeks.
Fans are getting tired of the fight for MLB’s revenue share: even players have started to express their frustration and their desire for the two sides just to reach an agreement and play ball.
— Christian Yelich (@ChristianYelich) January 11, 2022
So, is MLB in real danger of falling too far behind the NBA and the NFL in popularity?
Of course: not only there is no guarantee that there will be games played this season, but also, because of the lockout, the official website has really cut off player news.
Going to the official page will take you to highlights of retired players, news about managerial and coaching additions, and other related content.
No player content, though.
That surely won’t help MLB’s popularity.
— Chris Illescas (@picoci226) January 13, 2022
Not at all.