Mr. Frank is right that baseball is dying, but all his reasons are wrong.
The only people who complain about long games are the sportswriters, who get free tickets, free parking and free food and drink in the press box. The fan, who has to pay for all of these, figures he's made a big investment and likely would conclude that he got more for his money in a 2�-hour game than in a 1�-hour quickie in which probably not much happened.
The people most bored by statistics are the people who don't know any. Somehow they make a virtue out of this ignorance, claiming they're interested only in how the game is played. Trouble is, they usually don't know much about that either.
If Mr. Frank knew his statistics, he'd know that the Gashouse Gang's appeal, which he immortalizes, was somehow lost on the citizenry of St. Louis. In the six seasons cited by the author the Cardinals averaged 385,401 fans per season. That works out to 5,000 per game.
And of course we know it was a statistic—Babe Ruth's 60 home runs—that saved American League attendance last year as Maris and Mantle packed 'em in around the loop in their assault on the magic figure.
Baseball is dying for the same reason cricket is dying—they're both dull.
Frank rages about Rocky Colavito's antics at the plate. Isn't this the same thing he loved in Rabbit Maranville? Or is today's color bad and yesterday's good?
Monday night, August 20, the very much alive Reds were playing the league-leading Dodgers in the final game of a crucial four-game series in Cincinnati.
In the bottom of the 10th, with the score still tied at 3 all, one out and runners at second and third, Vada Pinson was passed intentionally to load the bases and set up the double play. The capacity crowd was hushed as Frank Robinson brought his bat and 111 RBIs to the plate. Four pitches later a tense crowd roared its approval as Robby's drive cleared the scoreboard.
It is moments like these, Mr. Frank, that will keep robots out of baseball for many years.