The Ripple Effects: 4 Entities Significantly Impacted By The Decline Of Youth Baseball Participants

Despite a slight upward trend of sign ups from 2015-2016, youth baseball continues to sustain record low numbers over the past 15 years. According to an annual study conducted by the Sports & Fitness Industry Association in 2015, organized youth baseball witnessed a significant decline in registrations from 5.54 million youth baseball participants in 2007 to by 1.34 million in 2015. In other words, youth baseball lost 1.2 million youth players ranging from ages 6-12 years old. This equates to a 21.7% reduction of youth baseball players over this span of 8 years. The steady drop in youth players impacts more than just the non-profit organizations. This loss generates a negative trickledown effect for many entities financially, economically, and socially. Below are 5 entities whom are currently experiencing negative impacts stemming from the loss of youth baseball participants.

1. SPORTING GOODS INDUSTRY: With the growing number of consumers buying sports their equipment conveniently online coupled with the decrease in youth sports participants in general, it’s no wonder why retailers like Sports Chalet and Sports Authority went out of business. If the number of organized sports registrations continue to decline, the market will keep shrinking thus severely impacting all the entities down the supply ladder. Less youth baseball players means less revenue streams which will squeeze out the privately-owned companies first before the entire market collapses. In fact, a collapse of youth sports isn’t as farfetched as one might think. If the past 16 year a downward trend continues for youth baseball, how can anyone expect Little League, Pony or the other non-profit youth baseball organizations to survive another 16-30 years? Twenty years ago, no one ever thought Blockbuster or Circuit City would close their doors forever. The birth of online shopping has revolutionized how people purchase the products they desire and these companies simply couldn’t adapt. The sad truth is most everything in our lives goes throw an evolution process that sometimes can cause severe repercussions. Youth baseball is currently heading down the same path and unless the trend is purposefully broken, activities like video games will continue to consume more and more of our youth’s attention.

2. FAMILY OWNED BATTING CAGES: Although we couldn’t retrieve hard statistics regarding the current profitability of the batting cage industry, the disappearance of these facilities occur weekly. Within the past 3 years, at least 5 privately owned and operated batting cage businesses within a 20-mile radius of my residence have closed their doors permanently.

With the introduction of smart phones and tablets giving kids mobile access to video games that are designed to extract the maximum amount of attention of our youth along with the increasing number of kids choosing to focus on 1 singular sport year around, how does any business affiliated with youth baseball plan to adapt and survive? Especially considering the sport of baseball requires a significant financial sacrifice more than most sports, it makes since why mom and pop batting cage business continue to close.

3. OUR YOUTH: As a parent/coach, I believe youth sports is the best tool families can utilize to help prepare their child for the everyday battles and struggles we face as adults. No matter what situations we face as we get older, those who are the most prepared, organized, and dedicated will win most of the everyday battles they confront throughout life. Youth baseball in particular helps demonstrate the success that ensues we utilize a strong work ethic. While schooling and education definitely prepares children best for adulthood, youth baseball can help emphasize the importance of:

  • Teamwork
  • Practicing
  • Respect and Sportsmanship
  • Discipline
  • Coping with loss
  • Overcoming adversity
  • Never quitting

4. MLB:  Although it may not affect Major League Baseball now, the growing number of kids disconnecting from our national pastime will one day heavily impact the professional level. Remember, there was once a point in time when the best athletes in the country flocked to the to the MLB. In order for a sport to be successful, it is imperative to create and market superstars. With less children interested in baseball, the future pool of potential MLB stars shrinks. A recent 2015 Bloomberg news article stated that Major League Baseball in conjunction with the MLB Players’ Association have agreed that on donate $30 million over the course of 3 years through 2018 to help fund youth amateur baseball programs. This generous contribution is geared specifically geared towards compensating these programs for steadily loss of youth participants.

On May 18th, 2017, contributor Ken Rosenthal wrote a piece entitled “STUDY SHOWS YOUTH BASEBALL PARTICIPATION ON THE RISE” which details the slow and steady increase of youth participants in organized baseball. Within this article, he states that youth baseball has generated a 6.5% proportional increase of registrations the past five years. Despite the recent subtle spike of participants, youth baseball organizations still have an uphill battle in regaining the registration figures of just 15 years ago. Hopefully in the near future, this upward trend of youth baseball signups continue to progress before we lose the traditions that make youth sports such an important tool for a child’s development.  

Expecting Something For Nothing: How the Participation Trophy Symbolizes The Millennial Stereotype

Throughout the history of civilized culture, the most efficient method for categorizing diverse groups of people has consistently been the utilization of labels. Slapping specific members of society with a label eliminates many potentially problematic sociological and communicative obstacles. A sufficient labeling system provides a series of references that are universally understood and accepted amongst all the groups involved. Unfortunately when using labels to characterize others, we tend to generate stereotypes within these labeled groups. No matter how accurately they might portray a group of people, stereotypes by definition are generalizations and assumptions at best. Some stereotypes can definitively expose some accurate character traits among a portion of individuals within a group while other stereotypes don’t describe even a small section of a group yet continue to dwell within our culture to appallingly defame and discriminate that group.

When regarding the millennial generation (which I belong), society has almost unanimously branded them with some unfavorable stereotypes that admittedly, I agree with to a certain extent. One of the most popular millennial stereotypes involves their unreasonable expectation of acquiring quick wealth without putting forth hard work.    

A significant portion of millennials possess a strong sense of self entitlement.  

Being 100% guilty of this stereotype years ago, this does apply to more than a few millennials and it’s easy to understand how. Truthfully speaking, my generation has never experienced any global threatening hardships that previous generations suffered through. American millennials have never:

  • Fought in a world war
  • Dealt with a deadly plague
  • Needed to escape a tyrannical government
  • Needed elementary schools to teach gas mask protocol for nuclear war preparation

Despite living through a number of horrifically tragic events such as 9/11 or school shootings, millennials have yet to encounter the types of catastrophes that have pushed older generations to the brink worldwide chaos. As a whole, no other generation of human beings have benefited more from the hard work and sacrifices of their elders like the millennial generation has. Despite all the political drama that continues to pollute our way of life today, we live during a fascinating time period in history bearing witness to unprecedented medical and technological advancements.

When a thriving free country like the United States goes through a long stretch of peace and prosperity, the fearful anxieties of war, deadly illnesses, and evil governments slowly subside with the passing of time. Having said that, it’s easy to see a shift in American family culture the past 70 years. During the 1940’s-1950’s, family values and patriotism enriched the moral fiber of our society primarily because that generation disregarded racial, political, and sociocultural differences to unite against the largest global threat ever in Nazi Germany. At some point between then and now, a cultural mutation swept across America that introduced a notion in which every person special and every child is a winner no matter what. In theory this concept is beautiful however it completely contradicts the nature of the real world. Unfortunately for some millennials, this “everyone’s a winner” philosophy has evolved into a preconceived sense of entitlement in which they believe success and wealth is owed to them rather than earned.         

Nothing symbolizes the “everyone's a winner” ideology more than the participation trophy. Call me old school, but receiving awards and trophies should only apply to those achieve goals through extra practice and hard work. As wonderful as it sounds for every child to take home a trophy at the end of the year party, this undoubtedly conveys a message which devalues the incentive to work hard. Instilling a strong work ethic within a child can never start too young. A solid work ethic requires continuous reinforcement throughout childhood and consistent maintenance as adults. The sooner children understand the concept that hard work equals success, the better. 

Going back to millennials, we mentioned their most popular stereotype was expecting something for nothing. Well go figure, the debut of the participation trophy came in the late 1980’s to early 1990’s which happens to directly coincide with the birth of the millennial generation. Is it a coincidence that the most self-entitled generation of Americans ever were the first beneficiaries of the participation trophy? If a generation of children grow within a society that hands out special rewards to everyone no matter what, it makes perfect sense that some of these kids become self-entitled as adults. Children don’t need to take home a trophy to feel special. The love and support of friends and family light up a child’s life much brighter than an oversized paperweight can.

I’m not sure exactly which youth sports team initiated the participation trophy movement, but I’m almost certain that team either lost the championship the year before or lost every game. The underlying reason why the majority of society would rather hand out trophies to everyone is simply because that guarantees no child feels left out or sad. That philosophy is fine up to a certain age however, a transition must occur where a trophy symbolizes the rewards of hard work. If a child feels sad if they don’t get one, channel that sadness into motivation and worker harder in the off season. Unfortunately for some millennials who were given a trophies all their lives, the game of life doesn’t hand out anything for just participating.

Welcoming the USA Bat Standard: 5 Ways How To Go About Choosing A 2018 Youth Baseball Bat

View all of the 2018 USA youth baseball bats here!

The 2018 class of USA Baseball youth participants will be the first group of youth baseball players to swing a bat that abides by the USA Bat Standard. If you are looking for a breakdown of the USA Bat Standard itself, please follow the link provided. This particular blog post focuses different critical thinking points youth baseball families should mull over when purchasing a 2018 youth baseball bat. Choosing the right youth baseball bat goes beyond simply walking into your local sporting goods or department store and grabbing the bat with the coolest graphics. Baseball families not only need to consider the measurements of their youth player, but also the performance variance from the old youth bats to the new 2018 youth bats that display the USABAT stamp. The following are five key viewpoints to ponder when buying a 2018 youth baseball bat for your youth slugger. 


One major setback the USA Bat Standard will give youth baseball players is not knowing what to expect. For the 2018 season, players should focus more on purchasing a baseball bat that feels comfy and provides more fluidity in a batter’s swing more than power. Until the youth baseball community has time to experience the new USA Bat Standard, buying the most popular bat may not work out for every youth player. Ensuring a comfortable grip and confident swing should be #1 priority.    


On 9/1/2017, all the new 2018 youth baseball bats featuring the USA Bat stamp will become available for purchase. As eager as it may be, we suggest parents use more patience when deciding on the timing of your purchase. As stated earlier, the best strategy is to hold off on picking a bat and use the trial and error of others to your advantage. See how other youth players respond to certain bats and read reviews online before investing any money.


Remember, USA Baseball adopted the USA Bat Standard with the intention of achieving the same effects the BBCOR has made on collegiate and high school baseball. All USA Baseball affiliated organizations such as Little League, Pony, or Dixie expect to see a significant drop in offensive production and injuries. With these expectations, it’s easy to assume the USABAT Standard will diminish the amount of pop from 2018 baseball bats to some degree.


When purchasing a 2018 youth bat, make a special notation of the unique return policies of each baseball bat manufacturer. Most companies have at least a 30-day trial period allotted to every sale. This is a great way for your youth player to get a good feel for the new 2018 youth bats coming in. As long as you don’t take the bat to the cages, these companies will most likely always accept any return. This is a fantastic method to systemically find the best baseball bat for your child.  


Our entire purpose is to help the youth baseball families affected by the USA Bat Standard adapt to the new performance standard as quickly as possible and find the perfect baseball bat for your youth player. We hope our website is your one stop shop for all news and information relevant to 2018 youth baseball bats  

View all of the 2018 USA youth baseball bats here!