The Arm, by Jeff Passan, is a well-researched and chronicled look at the abundance of UCL tears and Tommy John surgeries in recent years. Passan provides a wide array of possible causes with no clear, decisive thesis of why the injury is so widespread. Overuse? Year round showcases like Perfect Game? High Pitch counts? Bad mechanics? After 342 pages, he does not offer a concrete answer for the epidemic because, at this point, no one really knows.
According to the Sports Industry and Fitness Association, during 2008-2013, baseball participation rates declined by 2.3 million, or 14.5%. Similar data has been reported by Little League baseball, which claims that participation fell 6.8% from 2008-2012. These reports do not bode well for the future of America’s pastime or any other baseball-related business. In recent years, various theories have emerged for why kids are not grabbing their mitts and heading off to baseball diamonds. Currently, Major League Baseball is studying methods for speeding up the game to foster more quickly-paced games. However, there are a multitude of diverse, comprehensive reasons for baseball’s slide which are not being fully addressed.