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5 Reasons Why MLB is Being Held Back

5 Reasons Why MLB is Being Held Back

Baseball
Kim Klement -- USA TODAY Sports

Although Major League Baseball has retained its popularity over the years, there is no doubt the game has suffered because of influences both on and off the field. Let's take a look at five areas where baseball is experiencing problems.

5. Top Teams Underperforming

Texas Rangers
Jim Cowsert -- USA TODAY Sports

5. Top Teams Underperforming

Texas Rangers
Jim Cowsert -- USA TODAY Sports

With teams like the Texas Rangers and Boston Red Sox underperforming in large markets, it hurts Major League Baseball's nationwide popularity. Familiar faces like the Baltimore Orioles and Detroit Tigers are doing well, but when the Red Sox and New York Yankees scuffle, it can affect ratings for the sport overall.

4. The Men in Blue

Umpires
Jake Roth -- USA TODAY Sports

4. The Men in Blue

Umpires
Jake Roth -- USA TODAY Sports

Because Major League Baseball umpires have not done their job on the field, we now have instant replay. It takes a while to decide plays, which slows down the overall speed of the game and lets out those with short attention spans. Umpires making themselves the show in some cases have turned off fans who came to see the players, not the ones acting as officials.

3. Pitching delays

Mat Latos
Steve Mitchell -- USA TODAY Sports

3. Pitching delays

Mat Latos
Steve Mitchell -- USA TODAY Sports

Taking time on the hill by throwing to first to try and hold a runner or calling time to talk to your catcher slows down the pace of the game overall. Could MLB institute a "pitch clock" to speed up play or would that upset fans who don't want to see their game changed?

2. Demographic Issues

Female Reds fan
Steve Mitchell -- USA TODAY Sports

2. Demographic Issues

Female Reds fan
Steve Mitchell -- USA TODAY Sports

Although MLB has experienced an upswing in social media presence on sites like Facebook and Twitter, younger viewers have not latched onto the game in numbers like the past. Other sports like football, basketball, hockey and soccer have their attention. And while chicks dig the long ball, how many of them follow the lead of big fans like Alyssa Milano and come to games?

1. The Lure of Summer

NFL parade
Kirby Lee -- USA TODAY Sports

1. The Lure of Summer

NFL parade
Kirby Lee -- USA TODAY Sports

Parades, vacations, visits to the lake ... Heck, even everyday life can get in the way. Although MLB has made it easier to check on games by phone and satellite radio, there are more ways to turn attention away than ever before. It's hard to compete with a family vacation.