Are line drives for losers? Is baseball boring?
"(My friends say) that baseball is really boring," said Jordan Montes, 14, who is attending Spartans Baseball Camp at the University of Tampa.
Being on perfect diamond in the middle of summer, coached by a former pro ballplayer, learning the ins and outs of line drives and double plays... that's "boring?" Apparently to some.
"There are 63 people in my seventh grade class, and only one other, aside from me and my brother, plays baseball," said Matthew Ceresoli, a camp attendee.
Kids at Spartans baseball camp at UT say their friends seem turned off by baseball's scientific nature.
"You have to be really good to play, and if you're not good, you tend to not like it," said camp attendee Anthony Ceresoli.
The Sports and Fitness Industry Association says that participation in many sports is falling, but their numbers show that participation in baseball is falling at twice the rate of basketball and soccer.
They say 15.5 million Americans played ball in 2008, compared to 13.2 in 2013.
"When I was younger, me and my buddies would play stickball in the backyard all the time. I'm not seeing that as much anymore," said Taylor Wrenn, a former minor league player and coach at Spartans Baseball Camp.
Yet elite leagues and camps are still attracting players. Enrollment at Spartans has been steady for years.
Coaches here are concerned about recreational players, the kid who plays on Sunday. He says rec leagues are losing out on players to soccer and basketball.
Indeed, a local Little League tells us their fall ball has shrunk by 20 percent in five years.
"With technology, the way society is advancing, society is much faster paced," said coach Mark Johnson.
At Spartans, coaches speed up drills and vary activities to keep kids interested.
They still believe the thrill of hitting a round ball with a round bat, squarely, is unmatched.
"America is baseball," said camp attendee Matt Veronesi. "Why are we going away from our sport that we created?"
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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