Chase Utley’s Six Hits Last Night Help Explain Why Baseball Is Becoming a Second-Tier Sport

Chase Utley had six hits yesterday in a 14-inning loss to the Orioles. He was 6-for-7 with two doubles. He, unbelievably, became the third player this week to get six hits in one game (Wilmer Flores on Sunday and C.J. Cron on Saturday). But with those three included, it’s only happened 23 times since 2000 and 51 times since 1970. Utley became the first Dodger since 2002 and only third player in team history to get six hits in a game (by comparison, the Phillies have one… in 1953).

He became the third-oldest player in MLB history to do it, bested by only Cal Ripken in 1999 and Ty Cobb in 1925. But perhaps the most impressive part of Utley’s game was that his whole team wasn’t ripping the pitching apart. He’s the first player since 2013 to have six hits in a game where his team scored six or fewer runs, and only the second since 2003 (when Nomar Garciaparra did it in a 6-5 loss against the Phils).

It is inexplicable that he was the third player to do it in less than a week, and it’s almost as inexplicable that Utley, at age 37, whose career was written off just one year ago – literally one year ago today, Ryan Lawrence – is still performing the way he is, in this case with an impressive six-hit performance. And yet, it’s almost as if Major League Baseball doesn’t want you to see it.

A quick YouTube search for “Chase Utley” over the last 24 hours yields NO results. None. Six hits by a player in a big market, and there’s not one video of it on YouTube. In the NBA, there are a slew of fan-edited videos when a stretch-five approaches a double-double with a few blocks on a Tuesday night in Milwaukee. Chase Utley records six hits in LA and it’s crickets chirping in 1s and 0s.

On MLB’s site, where they’ve always placed a high priority on their proprietary video, there is video of Utley’s six-hit performance, but it’s not embeddable on other sites. You have to click this link and then probably watch an ad to view it.

MLB has a problem. They are clueless as to how to promote their stars, or even individuality. On Monday, Bryce Harper wasn’t allowed to use his patriotic bat, or wear his Stars-and-Stripes cleats. Compare this to the NBA, where even mid-level stars have shoe deals, wear (league-sanctioned) sweatbands, accessories, and other assorted flair. They have personality. The NFL can tamp this down – and they do – because they’re assholes the sport is so damn popular. But MLB has a problem– it needs to embrace individual achievement, and cater to accomplishments that lend themselves to social sharing. A quick six-hit montage is almost a no-brainer in this regard.

Perhaps due to years of draconian rules with regard to posting videos on YouTube, they’ve driven away anyone who might want to create and share highlights. They’ve sacrificed their long-term prospects for petty short-term clicks (revenue?) and some vague concept of the sanctity of the sport, which is the very thing driving people away from it.

Of course, people are still flocking to this beautiful t-shirt. Get one.

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45 Responses

  1. baseball is more cerebral than any other sport. fans know this. baseball fans are more relaxed. they go to the game to relax. it’s like going on a picnic and a baseball game breaks out.
    if it’s a dying game than so be it. but it’s been”dying” for decades.

  2. Baseball is boring as shit. Especially the regular season. This isn’t anything new. People don’t get excited over stats. That’s want fantasy is for. They get excited for action. Hits are down. Contact is being taken out of the sport. What do you expect?

  3. This site has become borderline ridiculous with the sports topics that are discussed. It’s become so silly I’m out of here.

    Good luck. This site needs it.

  4. OMG BASEBALL IS DYING!!!

    Baseball has been dying for 100 years, yet revenues are higher than they ever were…

        1. No I didn’t. Sports are the last thing keeping cable TV around. Deals ballooned over the last 10 years, for baseball it was probably a bubble. Attendance is flat, World Series ratings are abysmal. Interest among younger fans is extremely low. They have a problem. I didn’t say the sport was going to shut down.

      1. You’re wrong again.

        Baseball is becoming a regional sport, or has become. The national TV appeal of the sport is definitely weak and its audience is problematically old, but that’s a different issue. The local TV deals are strong. The local ratings are really strong, stronger than the NBA on the whole. Attendance is, on average, 2nd only to football. One might argue it’s because the stadiums are bigger. Well, why do you think that is? Because those seats can be filled, while in the NBA/NHL they cannot.

        The 2018 free agency period is going to blow what happened this offseason in the NBA away by 100 miles. Bryce Harper, Andrew McCutchen, Jose Fernandez and Manny Machado,. are going to easily rake in over $1 billion on their own. And that’s not including all the other big names — the Phillies will surely be in the middle of all of this. GET READY! BIG BLOGGING STRETCH!!

        To summarize, there is extreme interest in baseball on a regional and local level. Beyond that, it’s quite limited. But remember, the NBA is set up for dynasty’s and set up for the best players to win. It’s the nature and structure of the sport and league. Baseball does not have this. The 2 MVPs last year did not play for playoff teams. Mike Trout is on a terrible team. LeBron James will never be on a terrible team. There’s nothing MLB can do about this.

        Complaining about 5 year old YouTube bans and equipment restrictions has nothing to do with anything except for Darren Ravell-like dorks such as yourself that think they know what they’re talking about. I know you won’t respond to this because you’re at Mommy and Daddy’s shore house living the white suburban life, but remember — I’m smarter than you.

        1. It’s cute that someone who started his website because the Phillies were good doesn’t understand the business of baseball

        2. You just accidentally described the sport’s problem. Good job. And I’m not complaining about the YouTube ban, you’re actually seeing the direct result of it. It killed any organic interest in the sport. It took Joe Bautista’s bat flip and a brawl to get social media even remotely interested in baseball the way it is almost every night in the NBA and every week in the NFL.

          1. Except it’s not a problem. Baseball does not need and has very rarely in it’s history ever had a national audience on a nightly basis. A national audience is not what sustains the sport. I am sure there were plenty of Dodgers’ blogs talking about Utley, but the fact that a national audience is not watching and discussing a 3 hour game until 1 in the morning on the east coast makes absolutely no difference to the sport. It is really not at all difficult to comprehend. Baseball in it’s model is very different from all of the other sports you mention.

      2. So TV deals are bigger than ever, but you can’t find a video on YouTube so baseball is dying?

        1. Every baseball clip ever is on YouTube. From the start of YouTube up until 2010ish, you couldn’t. It was a stupid decision on MLB’s part, but it did NOTHING to contribute to the decline of the sport’s national TV ratings or following.

          1. It didn’t help. Baseball has done nothing to embrace its stars – Jimmy Rollins and Bryce Harper have said this – part of that – embracing stars – is to allow people to spread and share their accomplishments. There is an entire online community built around the NBA and hockey because those leagues embraced new media. Baseball was sending cease and desists and shutting down accounts over petty issues that did way more harm than good. It’s not the sole reason why they’re struggling, but it absolutely contributed to it. They are getting better, but it doesn’t do anything to change the fact that if Utley played in the NBA there would be countless YouTube videos, social media buzz about it. That’s a direct indication that baseball doesn’t have that sort of low level support that basketball and football do. So yes, I’d very much argue their horrible policies contributed to decreased interest. The general public probably couldn’t name one player on the Royals last year. Compare that to the Thunder, Broncos, Warriors, Cavs, Panthers.

  5. Weird thing – they let the Venezuelan players wear yellow-red-blue cleats for their Independence Day.

  6. It kills me that I can’t stomach watching baseball anymore – I just can’t. No – I’m not some cuckold bandwagon fan either. I had season tickets from 1997-2009 – Names like fucking Travis Lee, Rick White, Bruce Chen – just a roster full of no-bodys and dicksmacks.

    I don’t know what happened, but I can’t watch the game anymore. There’s no personality similar to what kyle mentioned. Not to say those older phillies teams had personality, but the game feels like it’s lacking something that every other major sport has and I can’t put my finger on it.

    1. This is the first time Travis Lee has ever been mentioned on the Internet.

    2. From 2000-2004, the Phillies were contenders, but No-Trade-Wades bungling fucked it up. Bowa complained and he got run out of town by Wade and Monty. Now, they’ve just flat-out sucked for 5 straight years, with no end in sight.

  7. The only problem here is that you had to do a little work and actually write a few words. So sorry that MLB refuses to make your job easier by allowing you to insert links to their protected product.

    1. It’s their problem, not mine. The fact that it was harder to find is the actual problem at point of the post. If you type “Ben Simmons” into YouTube there are countless highlights, from individuals, of his SUMMER LEAGUE game. There’s a problem with that.

  8. check out the URL for the Utley vid… Chase Butley… they said butt… huh huh huh huh huhhhhhhh huh

  9. “The general public probably couldn’t name one player on the Royals last year. Compare that to the Thunder, Broncos, Warriors, Cavs, Panthers.”

    This is the real problem. 99% of fans have no clue who’s on any of the teams outside of their local markets.

    1. I know hosmer because the former fox attention wh0re weather girl fucks him

    2. Let’s see. Lifelong Phillies fan, no rooting interest in the Royals.
      Gordon, Cain and Rios in the OF. Moustakas, Hosmer on the corners. Alcides Escobar and Omar Infante up the middle. Sal Perez at the plate. Pitchers included Ventura, Guthrie, Cueto, Hochevar, Chris Young.
      How did I, a member of the general public, do, Kyle? Wrong again.
      *drops mic*

  10. This is a pointless contrived post. Third rate, rather than your usual second rate. On a much more positive note, Riley Martin week has made my life wonderful!

  11. What do you expect from the MLB? Their stupid rules wouldn’t allow the Nationals to wear Navy baseball caps after the 2013 DC shooting. Their policy in regards to uniforms is ridiculous. They want everything the players wear to be sold on MLB.com or the stadium gift shop.

    1. Uhh, I think that every pro sport has uniform regulations, not just baseball, clown.

  12. You’re absolutely right, Kyle. Instead of taking down videos, they should be going after chumps who profit off unauthorized merchandise.

  13. I can pick 5 baseball players who haven’t played for the Phillies out of a lineup: Trout (Only because he’s local), Harper, McCutcheon, Kershaw, and Stanton. That seems to be a problem no? Hell I couldn’t pick most of these Phillies out of a lineup. They do need to get better at marketing their players. At some point MLB won’t be able to makeup $ shortfalls by just charging more

  14. That’s more hits in one night than that big piece of fucking monkey shit KKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK machine has had in the last six weeks. PHUCK OFF

  15. Oh look, Kyle is bitching that there isn’t free content to repurpose as Blogspam. Cheap pos.

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