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Friday, February 20, 2015

Dragging Baseball Into The 21st Century

     New Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred has already started to make some changes. Rules will be enforced in order to speed up the pace of play, including hitters having to keep one foot in the batters box. It won't do much. But it is nice to see the new commish at least acknowledging there are flaws in the game. Something Bud Selig seemingly never did. There is a reason the NFL is king in this country. Even though from snap to whistle takes up about 11 of the 60 minutes of play, we as viewers feel like it's nonstop action. Baseball has to make people believe it isn't boring.
     The biggest problem with baseball now is that it isn't attractive to kids anymore. We now live in a world where breaking news sent to our phone and steal our TV shows online so we don't have to watch commercials. For better or worse our attention span is about that of a mosquito. I'm not suggesting we should placate the dummies that just want everything instantly. But there's so many improvements that baseball could make in order to bring back the simpletons. I won't even suggest shortening the season, because while there is no reason for 162 games, owners love that extra hot dog and beer money. All that really needs to be done is have a pitch clock. I know that the purists like the days where it was whites only and the greatest athlete in the game funneled booze and meat down his throat at a hall of fame clip. But times change and baseball needs to as well. Change can be scary. But take a deep breath and realize that all it really means is you'll see Josh Beckett spit and grab his crotch a few less times per inning.
     I shutter to even suggest this but they could shorten commercial breaks too. I know it's a sin in television to even mention such a thing but come on. Get rid of one beer and car ad per inning and just add some dumb poll question that makes the pink hats happy and you can slap a sponsor on. And how many warm up pitches does Andrew Miller really need to face one batter that it warrants a 3 minute commercial break during the 8th.
    Now I'm not crazy. I know that, while these seem like obvious fixes, it will take years, maybe decades to implement. In all fairness, it is more important for Manfred's underlings to drag their feet to make their jobs seem more important than actually improving the game, right? However, I warn baseball that if they do refuse to change, that people will notice how awesome playoff hockey is and the MLB may, someday, fall frm America's pastime to a mere afterthought. While Rob Manfred is only taking baby steps for now, they are still steps. Let's hope they soon turn to leaps before the country stops caring about baseball all together.

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