How Did MLB Become One of America’s Favourite Pastimes?

Baseball is often considered America’s sport; it has been popular across the country for centuries and continues to be a huge part of the cultural identity of its population.

Different variations of the game have been played since the 18th century across different parts of the country.

Each area had its own take on the sport but eventually, the New York version won out and influenced what would be the blueprint for what Major League Baseball (MLB) is today.

Origins

By the 1890s baseball was considered a crude sport, focused on rule-bending with raucous crowds cheering for mayhem and violence, while the teams themselves were managed by corrupt owners.

In the early 1900s, a man named Ban Johnson created the American League to rival the established National League which had been running for 25 years.

He placed teams across the biggest cities in the country and poached some of the biggest stars of the sport. He began to promote a cleaner version of baseball, which would also appeal to women and children.

The game grew more attention from all areas of society which helped it become the truly popular sport it is today. The changes in the style of play also helped with increasing the appeal.

For generations, there was no outfield fence, and the game was played with more attention to short hits and incremental scoring. Fans were left gripped as to how their team were performing and there was little time between hits with so much riding on how they would approach it.

The introduction of enclosed ball parks brought a new style of play and the ‘sluggers’ brought attention with the opportunity to literally hit the ball out of the park. The way the game was played had changed, but the appeal remained, and the fans continued to flock.

Growth

As baseball grew, gambling grew with it. Bally’s Corporation is the MBL’s official sports betting partner, with a multi-year deal worked out back in March of 2021. Other authorized gaming operators for the League include players such as DraftKings, FanDuel and even MGM Resorts.

This has given punters a huge variety of options to choose from and the competition to give them the best deal is fierce. Baseball fans can get plenty of offers now, for example, you can find the New York Yankee sportsbook promos on this page. The offers are plentiful, and the rewards are bountiful.

As baseball grew, prior to the internet or even radio and television in the home, it was all taken in the stands. With the sport so well set up for in play betting, it was available from the early days in the stands, odds were offered with each ball and wagers were on gut and feeling.

Gambling was and still is seen as a way to make more from your understanding of the game as well as your gut feelings. Its appeal helped in building the sport to what it is today, with the extra entertainment factor to the sport which has helped bring more people in as the generations passed.

The stars of the game also played a huge part, the likes of Babe Ruth became a household name in the early to mid-1900s with his homerun hitting ability. His stardom on and off the field are considered to have saved baseball from waning interest and disillusionment from the Black Sox Scandal of 1919, where eight members of the Chicago White Sox were found to have been bribed to lose the 1919 World Series to the Cincinnati Reds.

After Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio brought more glitz and glamour to the sport. As a key member of the New York Yankees for around 15 years, he was a legend on the field. Even those who had limited interest in baseball before became interested in him and the game following his relationship with Marilyn Monroe after his retirement from Baseball.

DiMaggio changed the way people viewed the sport with his entertaining styles, his athleticism as well as his devotion to other causes such as the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital Foundation.

From the stars and the sport itself, a new form of entertainment swept the nation, fantasy baseball.

Daniel Okrent is credited with creating the game based on a make-believe team made up of real players and their real statistics throughout a season.

He took the idea to some friends in New York City and along with 10 others created the first fantasy baseball league auction and the game was officially invented.

Today fantasy baseball is a way for fans to create their leagues between friends and draft players on a rotation basis to select a full squad and compete against each other.

The stats each player accumulates in a real-life game have fantasy point values which go towards the game and competition in Fantasy Baseball.

In 2017 it was stated that 59.3 million people played fantasy sports online and 39% of those played fantasy baseball.

It has kept the interest in the sport alive and continues to push new boundaries in sports entertainment. The sport cannot stand still and expect its legacy to continue to grow.

The world is continually changing, and MLB has ensured that it continues to monitor and understand its followers to ensure that it too moves with the times and remains America’s game.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email
Share on print

Read More

Scroll to Top