The 2018 World Series Was Good for the Red Sox—And Bad for Baseball
“Major League Baseball has long been losing its grip on the title of America’s pastime,” Hayley Glatter wrote after the Red Sox won the 114th World Series. The game, she argued, is too long, lacks star power, and has been cannibalized by its crushing quest for metrics.
As a die-hard baseball fan, I think this is a great article. Baseball is genuinely at war with itself to keep the elements that its casual appreciators enjoy without sacrificing what its die-hard fans enjoy—at some point, it may just need to pick a side. I think it should probably pick the casual side: There are more casual fans, and diehards like me are just committed enough to grin and bear it.
But anyone who’s trying to get into the Red Sox specifically and struggles to because of the team’s “lack of a transcendent star” is defining “transcendent star” as someone who is as talented and famous as LeBron James, Michael Jordan, and maybe Tom Brady, if I’m feeling generous. If Mookie Betts isn’t meeting your criteria, I feel they are unreasonable criteria. He’s probably the second-best player in baseball, he’s charming, and he’s young, with his best possibly still ahead. Mike Trout would meet the criteria as well if he weren’t such a dud of a personality. Francisco Lindor is another strong candidate, though the smaller market won’t help him. Aaron Judge is a striking dude who smashes dingers.