Will Big League Baseball Survive?
Globalization, the End of Television, Youth Sports, and the Future of Major League Baseball
Publication: Oct 16
Publication: Oct 16
Publication: Oct 16
5.5 x 8.25
A cogent analysis of the future of big league baseball in the context of a changing media, economic, and social environmentRead Chapter 1 (pdf).
Major League Baseball is a beloved American institution that has been a product of the economic, social, and media structures that have evolved in the United States over the last century. In his shrewd analysis, Will Big League Baseball Survive?, Lincoln Mitchell asks whether the sport will continue in its current form as a huge, lucrative global business that offers a monopoly in North America—and whether those structures are sustainable.
Mitchell places baseball in the context of the larger, evolving American and global entertainment sector. He examines how both changes directly related to baseball—including youth sports and the increased globalization of the game—as well as broader societal trends such as developments in media consumption and celebrity culture will impact big league baseball over the next few decades.
His book ultimately proposes several possible scenarios for what big league baseball might look like. Will it become more global, smaller, or remain the same, or will it transform into some kind of hybrid of the three?
" Columnists and pundits love to write Major League Baseball’s obituary, even as the league sets new records for revenue and attendance. Lincoln Mitchell confronts this paradox with a deep and provocative examination of the game’s past, present, and future. Will Big League Baseball Survive? is a book that all serious fans should read—and the league’s commissioner, perhaps, most of all."
—Sam Miller, co-author of The Only Rule Is It Has to Work: Our Wild Experiment Building a New Kind of Baseball Team
"In response to the provocative title of Lincoln Mitchell’s provocative book, we can confidently say, as Mitchell does (spoiler alert): Yes, it almost certainly will. But Mitchell’s aim here isn’t really to answer that question. His goal is far more interesting; by looking at how Major League Baseball has arrived at its current level of popularity and making some educated guesses about the future, Mitchell lays out compelling scenarios for what MLB’s future might hold. Winston Churchill said it’s a mistake to try to look too far ahead, but in Will Big League Baseball Survive? Mitchell looks just far enough to make his book essential reading."
—Rob Neyer, author of Rob Neyer’s Big Book of Baseball Legends: The Truth, the Lies, and Everything Else
" Mitchell meanders around the question his book's title poses.... delving into (the) industry's past, present, and future, but for the most part factoids, human interest stories, and homilies dominate the prose as he lays at the lap of the commissioner, franchises, and fans the challenges posed by globalization, changing demographics, and technological change.... For the middle-aged fan, this is a pleasurable read at the beach or on a plane.... Summing Up: Recommended."
"As Major League Baseball continues to evolve Lincoln Mitchell has constructed a revealing assessment of the past and possible future of big league baseball. The slight reiteration of key points serves to complement a range of assertions and also assists to disentangle a number of conundrums big league baseball faces. The combination of examining baseball history, sociology, and economics all contribute well to an enlightening read guaranteed to upskill even the biggest aficionados of the game."
"Mitchell provides a compelling discussion of how Major League Baseball arrived at its current popularity and how the game of baseball might not last long as the lucrative global business it is today, especially given the unsustainable structure that is currently in place.... (T)he book is a good review of the wide range of trends and possibilities that can be usefully studied in trends courses, particularly baseball courses. As such, it is well suited for undergraduate and graduate courses on sport sociology, sport communication, and sport media, and may be an excellent resource for academics in sport management who require a synopsis of current trends in sport globalization."
—Journal of Sports Management
"Mitchell’s provocative book is not one of the lazy baseball takes that periodically circulates around the internet postulating now, finally, baseball is dead, and we can all become a nation of soccer and lacrosse players. Mitchell is a rabid fan and a serious academic, and he takes a concise, fascinating dive into the history of baseball as an organized league and posits what may come next." — Medium
Table of Contents
Preface: The Future of Big League Baseball
1. The Selig Years
2. Lefty, Josh, the Barnstormers, and Branch
3. Gia, Bert, and Masanori
4. The Eternal and Ever-Changing Game
5. John Rocker and Russ Hodges
6. Dirty Kurt and Bam Bam
7. Joaquin Andujar