Cali Ann Kershaw throws out a ceremonial first pitch to her dad Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers as brother Charley Kershaw sits on the mound before the game against the Minnesota Twins at Dodger Stadium on July 26, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.
Cali Ann Kershaw throws out a ceremonial first pitch to her dad Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers as brother Charley Kershaw sits on the mound before the game against the Minnesota Twins at Dodger Stadium on July 26, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. - 
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Although Major League Baseball saw lower ticket sales last year, the number of everyday players is rising. According to a study by the Sports & Fitness Industry Association, participation is up 21 percent from 2014 to 2018. The study looked broadly at all players, from kids playing in their backyards to rookies playing in college. Part of the credit comes from the MLB’s Play Ball program, which pairs kids across the country with bats and baseballs, and encourages games. The program came about in part from the league’s desire to get more kids interested in the sport, hoping they turn into MLB fans. Rachel Bachman is a senior sports reporter for the Wall Street Journal. She told Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal how this might even boost ticket sales for the league.

Click the audio player above to hear the full interview.

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Follow Kai Ryssdal at @kairyssdal