KC Royals: NFL Injury Concerns Could Be Boon for Baseball


Baseball, seemingly more than any other sport, has its future viability questioned. Critics of the game consider it to be slow paced and old fashioned, incapable of appealing to the younger demographic. These same critics point to the popularity of the National Football League, a sport that is seemingly immune to its own inability to get out of its way, as an example of why baseball is in trouble.

However, the long term health of Major League Baseball may be better than that of the National Football League. While football’s popularity has surpassed that of baseball over the past few seasons, that may change in the future, especially among injury concerns. The KC Royals play a sport that doesn’t have many fearsome collisions, which may prove to be a distinct advantage going forward.

Instead of focusing on how Major league Baseball is dying, a dinosaur in the world of sports, let us focus on football. A closer look at the long term health of that sport should be given, especially as players like Chris Borland are walking away early in their careers due to concerns over their long term health. Those concerns about injury, and concussions in particular, are certainly something to consider when evaluating the NFL going forward.

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As we, as a society, are understanding more about the effects that concussions and brain injuries can have, such moves may continue. It may be increasingly difficult to find players who want to play football, out of concern for their long term health. Those that do may play through college for the scholarships, and for a couple of years at the professional level for the payout, but walk away after a couple of seasons.

Yes, right now Borland is an isolated case. However, let us not forget that Jake Locker also walked away from the NFL this offseason at age 26. Patrick Willis retired early, seemingly at the height of his career, at age 30. While players int he NFL do not typically have careers approaching the length that baseball players do, these three players getting out of the sport early may just be the tip of the iceberg.

Ironically, these players leaving the NFL, and the concerns over injuries in football, may end up helping Major League Baseball in the long term. Players may now gravitate towards baseball not just because they were cut from the football or basketball teams like Lorenzo Cain, but because the sport is safer and there is a lot more money to be had. The better athletes, instead of being steered towards football, may well end up becoming baseball players, resulting in a more exciting game or true athletes.

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That is not to say that Major League Baseball is safe or without flaws. The pace of the game certainly needs to be addressed. Games start far too late, and at times, it takes forever between pitches with pickoff moves and the random rituals some of these players have between pitches (yes, I’m looking at you David Ortiz). Yet, baseball is a much safer game than football, which may be a major point in its favor.

Last year, Mark Cuban expressed his concerns over the long term viability of the NFL, to the laughter and mocking of most of the world. While he figured that oversaturation would cause the NFL’s inevitable downfall, Cuban may have been right in his belief. Perhaps, instead of people being tired of being bombarded by the NFL at every moment, the damage to the sport will come from those injury concerns and by players leaving early.

Major League Baseball is a sport deeply rooted in tradition. It is a sport where the legends of the past are truly alive and woven into the fabric of the game. It is also a sport that is considered by some to be a thing of the past, the former pastime of America. Well, that former pastime may well turn out to have new life, and may find itself once again atop the list as America’s Game once again.

It is far too early to write off the National Football League and to declare it a dying sport. However, the long expected demise of Major League Baseball appears to be equally premature. That may especially be the case if younger players continue to walk away from the NFL.