In the wake of the most exciting and engrossing World Series in recent memory, perhaps it's a bit churlish to ask whether Major League Baseball might be in trouble. But I'm asking anyway.

Don't get me wrong. I'm a serious baseball nut, always searching for the game's life lessons, and have been a fan of Washington's teams (including the hapless Senators) since my boyhood in the 1960s. I'm ecstatic about the Nationals' Game 7 victory, which ended decades of frustration and vindicated the team caps I've spent years being laughed at for wearing.

But my delight is dampened by grim reality. Not to rain on anybody's parade, but the question of the sport's future isn't a joke. The baseball fan is, as advertisers like to say, aging up. According to a 2017 study in Sports Business Journal, the average baseball television viewer is 57 years old — seven years older than the average pro football fan and 15 years older than the average pro basketball fan. And the figure for the baseball fan has been climbing steadily, while the age of the National Basketball Association watcher has barely changed.