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Seton Hall Sports Poll on Umpires, Homers, Goodell and Trump on the Stand/Kneel Issue and Youth Football Safety  

Umpire observing Baseball ScoreboardBalls and Strikes Via Computer? Baseball Fans Shout 'Keep the Umpire'

One Third Think Undetected Drugs Are Driving All Those Homers

In a week in which a record number of home runs were hit in a single World Series game… and post-season coverage provides continuous use of the strike zone boundaries for each pitch… fans are clear that they want umpires - and not a computer - calling balls and strikes… but also suspicious of the use of performing enhancing drugs driving all those homers.

These were among the findings in the latest Seton Hall Sports Poll, conducted across the nation among 715 adults, on landlines and cellphones. The baseball data is based on the 62% of respondents that follow baseball and has a margin of error of 4.8%.

Perhaps driven by the umpire calls when the strike zone box is up, (or perhaps just by being traditionalists), a strong 75% preferred that the umpire make the ball-strike calls, with only 11% opting for computer calls. (14% had no opinion).

"Either fans are leaning toward the more traditional way of doing things or they simply don't want to give up their God-given right to bash the umpire for missing ball and strike calls," said Rick Gentle, director of the poll, which is sponsored by The Sharkey Institute as part of the university's Stillman School of Business."

On the matter of home runs, of which a record number were hit this season in the Major Leagues, respondents were asked to say "yes" or "no" to a variety of factors.

Reasons for Record Number of Home Runs:

  Yes No
A more lively ball 29 40
Undetected use of PEDS 31 46
Improved batting techniques 62 20
Hitters more focused on HRs 55 24
Bad pitching 28 48

"While performance enhancing drugs are not among the top reasons, the fact that nearly 1 in 3 fans think it's still part of the game should be alarming to the Commissioner's Office," noted Gentile.

"Obviously the balls are juiced," Houston pitcher Dallas Keuchel told USA Today, today. "I think they're juiced 100%."

On pace-of-play, another much discussed issue among baseball people, fans were pretty evenly divided, favoring by 43%-40% a rule restricting in-inning mound meetings… but stayed traditional on limiting in-inning pitching changes, voting "no" by 57%-26%.

"The latter would be a major rule change which would need approval of the player's union as well as the Commissioner's Office, and clearly among fans, there is no desire to go there," said Gentile.

The Poll also asked, "how often would you say you watch an entire live post-season baseball game," with 45% saying "occasionally," 26% saying "often" and 17% saying "never".

Americans Throw Penalty Flags at Both Goodell and Trump for Their Positions on the Stand/Kneel Issue

By a 47% to 42% margin, Americans believe that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell should have ordered the league's players to stand during the national anthem.

By a wider margin - 55% v. 37% - people said it was inappropriate for President Trump to request that people sign a petition saying that the players stand.

These were among the findings of the latest Seton Hall Sports Poll, conducted across the nation among 715 adults, on landlines and cellphones. The poll has a margin of error of 3.7%.

"The president's base, which polls consistently show to be in the 35% area, seems to support him at every turn without wavering, and that extends to his war of words with the NFL," said Rick Gentle, director of the poll. "The 37% support on this question is consistent with that."

"But clearly," added Gentile, "Goodell's position lacks strong public support. "This is a tough issue for people who love football, love the flag, and still respect freedom of expression."

Matters of Health and Safety in Youth Football Addressed: 82% Say 'Advise Parents on Risk of Football'

The Poll also asked a number of questions related to the safety of youth football. Asked if football organizing groups should have medical personnel advise parents about the dangers of playing organized football before their child signs up to play, a huge 82% said yes, with only 11% saying no.

Asked if they thought youth football leagues through high school are taking adequate steps to improve the safety of the game, 49% said yes, and only 22% said no.

Respondents were also asked at what age he or she would allow a child to play football, 39% said ages 7-11, 27% said ages 12-15, and only 9% said age 16 and over. 20% responded "never."

"It is significant that one in five - 20% - say 'never' for the sport considered the most popular one in America," noted Gentile.

The Official Seton Hall Sports Poll podcast discussing these topics (and yesterday's release on baseball questions) with Seth Everett and Rick Gentile can be found at.

Listen to the official Seton Hall Sports Poll podcast as Seth Everett interviews Rick Gentile.

Categories: Business , Nation and World

For more information, please contact:

  • Richard Gentile
  • (973) 313-6201
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