“EXPLAINING WHY CHILDREN ARE ABANDONING BASEBALL”. Brian Costa had an article in the Wall Street Journal (May 21) with the headline “Why Children Are Abandoning Baseball”. The decline is not reflected in the “travel teams” for the best players. The US Specialty Sports Association, which organizes travel baseball games, says that it now has 1.3 million participants, more than double what it had ten years ago. (The association has rankings here for the ten best teams in the United States in the category “Baseball Boys 4 and Under”).
The decline is reflected in figures for all participants. Costa reports a decline in total participation from 2002 to 2013 of more than 40%, to a total of 5.3 million. The decline to an extent feeds on itself. Costa goes to Newbergh, New York, where there are now only enough players in the 9 to 12 age group to field two teams, so that all their games are with each other. Costa quotes some one who has worked in youth baseball for a long time: “if you play the same team three times a week, then what interest do you have in playing ball?”