Mo’ne Davis has been the most talked about baseball player on the planet over the past month at the 2014 Little League World Series. The 13-year-old right-hander has been dominating opposing Little Leaguers, making her the lead story on nearly every sports media platform. However, Davis’ emergence doesn’t help MLB; it actually hurts it.
What does it say about MLB’s standing in America today that a 13-year-old girl, who is just entering the eighth grade this summer, has been the most discussed baseball player today, surpassing stars like Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim outfielder Mike Trout, Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper and even Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen? It says that MLB is declining even faster than we realized.
This year’s Little League World Series, helped mostly by the attention surrounding Davis, has actually drawn more viewers than most nationally televised Major League games. This past Sunday, Davis’ Pennsylvania team drew more viewers than Sunday Night Baseball. In Chicago alone, a team that has no superstars that move the needle like Davis does, the LLWS tripled the viewership over the Chicago White Sox, drawing a 3.5 on Monday Night compared to the White Sox’s 1.0.
Don’t get me wrong; Davis’ emergence has been good for the sport overall, but it won’t help spike MLB’s popularity anytime soon.
Her appeal to the national scene became so apparent yesterday that fans lined up to watch her pitch at 7:30 a.m., more than 12 hours ahead of her scheduled start time. Not even a pitcher like Washington Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg or Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw could attract that type of following. Even new MLB commissioner Rob Manfred was on hand last night to throw out the first pitch rather than attending one of his own games.
Last night, Davis struck out six in three innings of work, but she allowed three runs as Philadelphia lost to Las Vegas 8-1.
I have appreciated what Davis has done over the past month, but the beneficiary of Davis’ success is everyone except MLB.
Brian Kalchik is a Detroit Lions writer for RantSports.com. He also adds to the site’s MLB, NCAA Football, Fantasy and NFL content. Follow him on Twitter, like him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google+.