Pitchers and catchers report for spring training Tuesday, Feb. 15 — that is if players and owners can agree on several key issues by Valentine’s Day. But there are those who might say, Why bother?
Once America’s pastime, baseball now lags behind football, basketball and even college basketball in the most important statistics – viewership (down 50 percent since 2003), advertising dollars and children’s participation (down 26 percent since 2008). Two former Westchester County college baseball standouts, Kevin Gallagher (Pace University) and Pat Geoghegan (Mercy College), want to change that.
They are teaming with former Boston Red Sox infielder Jeff Frye to “Save the Game.”
Using Gallagher’s book, “Teach Your Kid to Hit … So They Don’t Quit” as a template, the “Save the Game” movement is seeking one million signatures to petition changes to Major League Baseball. Among them would be more contact hitting to keep the ball in play, instead of hitters just swinging for the fences, and greater efforts to engage youngsters from Little League through high school and college.
As Gallagher observes: “There are only 2.46 home runs hit per game. In a three-hour game, you’re only getting a home run every hour. In between home runs is what is killing baseball. There is no action. We have to restore the game to the way it was historically played.”
Maybe the trio can also petition team owners to keep ticket costs down so that taking a family of four to “the old ball game” doesn’t require a second mortgage on the house.
A national Save the Game Day will be announced this month. For more, including to sign the petition, visit savethegameus.com.