If you’re between the ages of 18 and 35, what does baseball have to do to bring you back or are you long gone?
The 2014 MLB postseason has been fantastic. National TV ratings have been up — but they’re up from disaster to atrocious. There have been six extra-inning games. Over 70 percent of 2014 postseason innings have been played with a tie-score or one-run lead. The story lines are there: the upstart, Cinderella Royals versus a heritage franchise in San Francisco or St. Louis.
For years, MLB asked the question: what’s wrong with you? You were the one with the short attention span. You were the one that spent too much time on your phone. Baseball questioned why you had the time to spend three-and-a-half hours at a football game and maybe another two hours tailgating, but couldn’t spend three hours at a baseball game.
This has been going on for too long, so let me be the first American completely infatuated with the great pastime to ask you, “What’s wrong with us?”
I realize my frame of reference completely skews my view. I have a close relationship with my baseball-loving father. I grew up in the 70’s when baseball was still king over football. My hometown was 48 miles from the Big Red Machine. I thought it was normal for 44,000 people to go see a Pete Rose, Joe Morgan, Ken Griffey, Johnny Bench, Tony Perez, George Foster, Davey Concepcion and Cesar Geronimo (before you ask, yes, that’s the batting order from memory).
Now that we’ve established I’m jaded and can’t get away from the way I feel about the game, where’s your passion for the game? Did you once have it and lost it? Was it never there to begin with? Can we get it back or start it for the first time?
No ideas are bad. I hand you the baton of change. If the 2014 postseason is doing nothing for you, change the game. I’ll offer a few ideas. Some of these ideas I don’t even like but it’s a brainstorm for the benefit of you, the potential fan. Maybe one of my bad ideas will spark a better one from you.
• END THE SEASON BEFORE FOOTBALL STARTS
• LEAGUE ENDORSED FANTASY BASEBALL TO WIN EXCLUSIVE EXPERIENCES
• AL DUMPS THE DH
• NL ADDS THE DH
• 7-INNING GAMES
• MORE SINGLE-ELIMINATION POSTSEASON GAMES
• LESS FREE AGENCY
• MORE PLAYOFF TEAMS
• MORE GAMES AGAINST YOUR HOME TEAM’S DIVISION
• LESS GAMES AGAINST YOUR HOME TEAM’S DIVISION
• LESS TIME BETWEEN INNINGS
• LIMIT THE NUMBER OF TRIPS TO THE MOUND TO ONCE PER PITCHER
• LIMIT THE NUMBER OF PITCHING CHANGES PER GAME
Admittedly, some of these ideas are bad, but I’m just writing things down because baseball needs you. I’m hoping one of these ideas spark you to fix the game for your needs instead of baseball telling you why it’s your fault.
If you haven’t been watching the 2014 postseason, you’re missing history and baseball ends up the loser.