Major League Baseball Needs a Competent Video Game Series to Represent America's Pastime

League Championship Series - New York Yankees v Houston Astros - Game Six
League Championship Series - New York Yankees v Houston Astros - Game Six / Tim Warner/Getty Images

I love baseball, I always have.

From Little League to going to Mets games as a kid, to still watching and being a fan today. And as much as I love baseball, I do recognize that the game has trouble enticing new fans. While attendance numbers and ratings since 2010 have been higher on average than past decades, Major League Baseball is seeing a decline in average attendance, and an increase in the average age of attendees and television viewers.

To combat this, the MLB has added several new features to make the game a more inviting experience, such as more attractions at ballparks and the implementation of pitch clocks and mound visit limits to speed up the game. However, the MLB has one obvious strategy it still choose to ignore; a single, annual, Major League Baseball video game.

Video Courtesy Vox Media

MLB the Show for PlayStation is an excellent series, rivaling even Madden and NBA 2K in it's diverse game modes, including Road to the Show, which allows you to migrate your custom player file into each new installment, non-PS4 players are left in the dust. While RBI Baseball for Xbox and Nintendo Switch does carry the MLB licensing, with full rosters of real Major League teams, they are incredibly bare bones, with each installment consistently getting negative reviews.

If MLB the Show could expand to other consoles or replace RBI baseball, then younger audiences could find a new appreciation for America's pastime. It sounds simple, but for many children and teenagers, playing sports video games is a great way to introduce themselves to teams, players, and leagues around the world.

While most Americans know their local basketball, football, baseball, and hockey teams, how many would become soccer fans if it weren't for the success of FIFA? According to a survey conducted by EA Sports in 2014, 34% of FIFA players became fans of professional soccer after playing the game, with 50% of players, fans and non-fans included, expressed an increased interest in the game after playing.

Even the NBA, which has done a great job at marketing itself since the mid-1980s, has seen an increase in popularity since the success of 2K, allowing the league to reach the homes of those around the world who may not be able to watch everyday, but still follow players and teams as they play the game.

While it's not the only solution to baseball's lack of outreach to younger viewers, there's no doubt that a solid, annual, multi-platform MLB video game release would help bring renewed interest in the league.

Image Courtesy Getty Images