Baseball is Becoming the New Boxing

Marky Billson
4 min readJul 5, 2019

I’d love to watch it! If it’s available.

Once upon a time boxing was as big of a sport as any in this country.

A title fight was the equivalent of a Super Bowl today. When Billy Conn fought Joe Louis the Pittsburgh Pirates halted their game in the fifth inning for an hour so the fans could listen to the fight on the public address system at the ballpark.

Sunday Night Football? Here’s your grandfather, the Friday Night Fights.

Then boxing decided to become pay-per-view. When was the last time you were able to watch a title fight without really having to pay for it?

Boxing made themselves less accessible. Going out and to pay to watch on closed circuit became less and less desirable when there were alternatives that required you only be entertained by a beer commercial at home to watch them.

Don’t discount the idea that even today when even cord cutters have access to television programming not offered on the big four networks the National Football League is so popular because the vast majority of their games are shown on outlets that can still be picked up with an antenna. It’s old fashioned and behind the times, sure, but it insures everyone can watch it.

You can’t say that about boxing, which is why it no longer seems to count.

Quick- tell us who the World Heavyweight Champion is. Any of ’em.

It’s happening to baseball.

Last night I was prepared to watch two baseball games. First to see if the Pittsburgh Pirates could pull off a four game sweep of the Chicago Cubs in an exciting series that had seen Josh Bell hit three home runs in a game, Adam Frazier collect nine hits two games including one with a record-tying four doubles, and a walk-off victory.

Instead the Bucs were routed 11–3, but there was still plenty of storylines. Joe West having to restrain Cubs manager Joe Maddon, who lost it on the field complaining about the Pirates throwing high and tight to Chicago’s hitters. The Cubs moving back to a first place tie with Milwaukee. Pirates starter Jordan Lyles consistently challenging hitters with high fastballs that resulted in seven strikeouts in four innings but also three Cubs home runs.

Whatever happened to “keep the ball down” is a most healthy debate for baseball to…