2017 MLB All-Star Game: FanFest promotes baseball at the most basic level

2017 MLB All-Star Game: FanFest promotes baseball at the most basic level

MIAMI — One of the highlights of every All-Star Game is FanFest, the fan-centric exposition that trots out ballplayers present and past, new merchandise and interactive exhibits. This year’s edition took place at the Miami Beach Convention Center, and as usual you could find a steady stream of former ballplayers’ autographing and glad-handing and the full complement of swag tied to this year’s Midsummer Classic (including 2017 All-Star Game fidget spinners).

What was cool about this year’s model, however, was the particular emphasis on the basic constituents of the game itself …

As you can see, “Hit,” “Pitch” and “Catch” lead the way.

Commissioner Rob Manfred is of course tasked with nudging baseball’s fan demographic toward the younger side. As has been chronicled in the media ad nauseam, high-consumption baseball fans skew older, and millennials/post-millennials have shown demonstrably less enthusiasm for baseball than have older generations.

What gets lost in the hand-wringing is that there’s simply much more competition for leisure time these days, and pretty much every avocational pursuit has seen its “market share” winnowed down. In any context, though, baseball needs to lay the substructure for the future — i.e., that time when baseball’s current leading demo begins dying off, or at least sees its purchasing power decline.

To that end, Manfred and MLB have worked…