As Major League Baseball and the MLBPA continue to negotiate return-to-play proposals, Taylor Twellman can’t help but look at both sides with disgust.
“You and I could probably spend five hours on the pathetic-ness of both the Major League Baseball Players Association and the owners,” Twellman said on The DA Show. “It’s tone deaf. . . . There’s over 25 million people unemployed in our country right now and you want to tell the paying customer, as a billionaire, that you’re losing money? It’s just tone deaf from both sides. It’s completely tone deaf. Whatever bed they make for themselves, they deserve it because they still believe that they lead the charge within their sport and this community, and the numbers tell me something completely different.”
Twellman’s grandfather, it is worth noting, won two World Series titles with the New York Yankees. Twellman could have played professional baseball but chose soccer instead.
“I’m a baseball family, and yet every single uncle that I have, even my mom, they’re done,” Twellman said. “They’re done. They’re done with it. That’s the generation that baseball holds their hat on. I think [they] are playing with fire with this, and I think they’re really, really going to take a massive hit when this is all said and done.”
Is it possible that soccer could eventually overtake baseball in popularity in the United States? In a word, yes.
“If you look at the demographic and the number of soccer [leagues], they’re already doing better,” Twellman said. They’re already doing better ratings. But when you talk to any sales department, including CBS and including Turner, ESPN and Fox, it sales way faster to corporations than baseball – except the World Series. The World Series is completely different. It’s an anomaly by itself. But when you look at regular season soccer television ratings compared to Wednesday Night Baseball on ESPN, they’re almost identical, if not slightly better on soccer’s side. The problem will be for baseball is the local stuff. That’s the real issue.
“You and I have both seen what Atlanta United have done,” Twellman continued. “They are literally all over the city. Are the Braves? Not really. And the Braves are a legitimate team. The fact that Atlanta, Georgia, [is] in the heartbeat of college football and they’ve got Atlanta Falcons season-ticket holders trading in tickets for Atlanta United, the trend is coming.”
But wait, hasn’t soccer been “the sport of the future” for 30 or 40 years? Yes, Twellman says, but now it’s different.
“The difference is the 30-and-under crowd in the United States of America, they want nothing to do with baseball,” he said. “Nothing. They want nothing to do with it. And they could tell you anything you want to know about certain soccer teams around the world or certain soccer leagues around the world, and that’s because the exposure to this sport over the last 10 years has been at its utmost high.”