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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – It’s in the air, starting weeks before the opener. Each year more Phillies paraphernalia is sold, it’s harder to get tickets and the team looks better than ever.

Boys come with their families and although they cheer, fewer boys are playing baseball. From 2000 to 2009, the most recent figures available show that the number of kids 7 to 17 playing fell 24% and despite concerns about concussions, youth football has soared 21% and lacrosse has doubled in the last decade.

Since 1989, baseball has spent more than $50 million renovating fields and creating leagues especially in urban areas where kids have lost interest. At the high school level however, over 15,000 boys have continued to play; but the sport ranks number 3 among all boys’ sports.

While there is no research regarding the decline, parents say the game is too slow for today’s kids and they don’t want to see kids on the bench.

As more Americans play soccer than baseball, The Wall Street Journal reports that outfields are being converted to parks and multisport facilities.

Reported By Dr. Marciene Mattleman, KYW Newsradio

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