There are signs Major League Baseball is seeing a bit of resurgence in popularity.
Fans are responding positively to some changes in the game in an attempt to speed the game up a bit in a world where action is king. But the big news in MLB is that the young stars of the game are getting noticed and stealing attention from the veteran stars.
Major League Baseball has announced the most popular selling jerseys for the first half of the season, and six of the top 10 players are under the age of 27. In fact, the No. 2 selling jersey has the name of rookie Kris Bryant of the Chicago Cubs, and he is the highest ranked rookie ever in terms of jersey sales since the league started tracking that information.
The statistics came from sales at mlb.com online shop from Opening Day to the All-Star Game.
Pitcher Madison Bumgarner of the San Francisco Giants topped the list, followed by Bryant, Buster Posey of the Giants, Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals, Hunter Pence of the Giants, Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels, Matt Harvey of the New York Mets, David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox and Anthony Rizzo of the Cubs.
Bumgarner, Bryant, Harper, Trout, Harvey and Rizzo are all under the age of 27.
The three Giants on the list make sense because the Giants have had so much success in terms of World Series titles in the past few years. Ortiz has been popular forever, and Kershaw has been one of the most outstanding pitchers in the game for several years now.
But the young Cubs, and stars like Harper and Trout prove the game is turning a corner. A new generation of star players are getting noticed in the easiest way to monitor, and that’s in jersey sales.
One name not included in the top 20 this year is Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees, who retired at the end of the last year. Jeter was always one of the most popular names for jersey sales throughout his lengthy career.
Bumgarner made the list of top 20 jerseys for the first time and shot to the top following his outstanding performance in last year’s World Series.
Looking at the top 20 jersey sales, the Dodgers, Mets, Angels, Nationals and Red Sox joined the Cubs with two players on the list. The Giants were the only team to place three names on the popular jersey list.
Making the second 10 on the list were Dustin Pedroia of the Red Sox, Yadier Molina of the St. Louis Cardinals, Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers, Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners, Todd Frazier of the Cincinnati Reds, Andrew McCutchen of the Pittsburgh Pirates, David Wright of the Mets, Albert Pujols of the Angels, Max Scherzer of the Nationals and Adrian Gonzalez of the Dodgers.
For the month of June, the National Football League said New York Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. had the top-selling jersey, followed by rookie Marcus Mariotta of the Tennessee Titans (who has not yet played a down and just this week signed his rookie contract), and Tom Brady of the New England Patriots. Quarterbacks Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers, Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers, Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks, and upcoming rookie Jameis Winston of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers made the top 10.
In the National Basketball Association, jersey sales for Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors outpaced Cleveland’s LeBron James jerseys in sales at NBAStore.com from April through June. Derrick Rose of Chicago was third, Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers was fourth and Curry’s teammate Klay Thompson was fifth.
There are a lot of young names on all of the lists, an indication that there is a changing of the guard (or quarterback, or pitcher) in those three sports and the popularity of the games and the merchandise remains high.
Now if they could only do something about the strike zone in baseball, defining a catch in football and traveling rules in basketball, all would be good.