More than any other sport, baseball is passed down from generation to generation. It is a game rich in history, tradition, and legendary players. It’s a game about shared experiences. This is a major part of why baseball is so ingrained in the nation’s consciousness.
For all of the talk about how the younger generation will not gravitate to baseball due to the pace and the desire for instant gratification, attendance has remained at all-time highs. Why is this? Because baseball is the ultimate bonding experience.
I happen to be the father to 2 and a half year old twins. My daughter, Liz, is obsessed with Elmo. My son, Dave, enjoys destroying things and making loud noises. Occasionally, I could get them to watch a sporting event, but it was never for very long.
Then, I was given the opportunity to write for this blog. Naturally, I began watching more Rays games, as I got the MLB Extra Innings package. Before long, Liz became hooked. When the game would come on, she would begin saying ‘Tampa! Tampa!’ over and over again, before sitting next to me on the couch, watching until bedtime. My son got into the Rays shortly thereafter, and now Rays games have become a bonding time for the three of us.
Even though the twins are too young to understand the finer points of the game, they understand when a member of the Rays hits a home run, dancing around and being excited. And they were ecstatic to see their first Rays shirts come in. While the Rays may not draw well in Tampa, they have gained a couple of young fans up in Massachusetts.
Perhaps someday, should they have children of their own, they will pass down the history and tradition of baseball. And they will learn the same thing that I have over the past few months – what makes baseball truly great are the shared experiences and the opportunities to bond with the next generation.