Ripken: I Don't Want Us To Get Carried Away And Lose Older Fans

Baseball wants to attract younger fans, yes, but it doesn't want to alienate older fans in the process

The DA Show
February 27, 2020 - 10:33 am

MLS has grown in popularity in recent years, and soccer is an increasingly popular sport among young people. In fact, MLS believes that soccer will eventually chase down baseball in the next 10 or 15 years and become the third most popular sport in America.

Is MLS right?

“Well, I think there’s enough people – and there should be enough interest – to have anything be a major sport,” former big leaguer and current MLB Network analyst Billy Ripken said on The DA Show. “It seems that football and basketball are one and two, so hockey and baseball are fighting out for the bronze medal and now soccer wants to come in and try to do that. But to me, there should be enough. The fan base that baseball has, yes, it’s more of the older variety and the commissioner’s office is trying to do new innovative things to maybe generate some interest for some younger fans. But I don’t want us to lose the older fans.”

Indeed, Ripken, the author of “State of Play: The Old School Guide to New School Baseball,” believes baseball can attract younger fans without alienating older ones.

“I don’t want us to get carried away and say, ‘We’re just going to start ignoring the 45-, 50-, and 60-year-olds,’” Ripken said. “That shouldn’t happen. But I think there’s enough room – and there should be enough interest out there – for all sports to do well.”

Also, when comparing MLS and MLB, there’s no denying who has the financial edge.

“Let’s face it: baseball is doing extremely well when you see the players getting the glue they’re getting,” Ripken said. “The reason why they’re getting the glue is because the owners can afford to do it. So if that’s the trend as far as the money goes in baseball, I’m not sure how someone like MLS is going to come in and topple that right away.”