COMMENT: Building back better doesn’t work in baseball either | Sports News
BY BRIAN WOODSON BRISTOL HERALD COURIER
There really are connections in baseball, and even sudden death.
Welcome to the new world of baseball, if you can still recognize it.
Call me crazy, but baseball doesn’t need any help. It was a good game as it was until everything started to change a few decades ago.
Sound familiar? Why build back better if all is well.
Baseball, like our nation, is under attack, and really for no good reason.
Remember Ronald Reagan’s most terrifying words: “I’m from the government and I’m here to help you.” The same is true with baseball. As I’ve said before in this space, please stop trying to “fix” baseball.
We’ve heard for decades that baseball is too slow, too methodical, mostly from the national media, which uses baseball as a punching bag, just as it does for anyone who disagrees with their stories.
Baseball executives — and I use that last word loosely — decided to listen to those critics and try to help. All they did was make the game as unrecognizable as the country we live in.
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Look at the Appalachian League. Now hopefully the college wooden bat system will work, but eliminating 40 minor league teams with major league affiliation only drives away the fans – young and old – who are largely went to games to see what might be the future major league stars.
Maybe some of these middle schoolers will eventually get there, but at least with the old system, players were already considered part of an organization.
It’s all part of “bettering” baseball. Did he really need help?
It’s bad enough that Major League Baseball continues to put a runner at second base in extra innings in hopes of shortening the game.
The Appalachian League went further by adding sudden death. Before the game, the home team manager decides if he wants to play attack or defense in the 10th inning. A runner is placed on first base. If that team scores before making three outs, they win. If they don’t score, the other team wins.
Sorry, it’s not baseball.
All of these changes to the game were made to force faster games to appeal to people who don’t care about baseball or can’t take their eyes off their phones long enough to watch more than one pitch.
It’s not a baseball problem. It’s a people problem.
Go anywhere now, games, churches, weddings, funerals, restaurants, bathrooms, you name it and people are staring at those phones. They can look up for 10 seconds and then quickly check again to see what they might have missed.
They also constantly take pictures or videos, which they will never look at – if they are like me – but it will surely clog up their phone’s memory.
I’m sorry, but you can’t force someone to like baseball, or anything else for that matter. Whether they do it or they don’t, and their mind won’t change by going to a game and just waiting for the game to end.
Why bother to start?
Baseball is not meant to be played quickly. The appeal that made the game great was the lack of a clock. You go to a game, sit down and watch. You might be there two hours or maybe three hours, but you’re having a great time and you can enjoy nine rounds of vacation.
Has anyone ever noticed how long it takes to play a game of college or pro football now? There are a few seconds of action, and then plenty of waiting for the next play to begin. How is it different from baseball?
A family vacation 49 years ago last night began with a baseball game in Cincinnati between the Reds and the hated Dodgers, at the time the best rivalry in the game. I was 9 years old, my sister was still 3.
It was supposed to be nine innings, but it turned into 13. The Reds lost 8-7, but in that moment my first major league game stayed with me forever. I’ve attended dozens of games since then, but this game will always matter to me.
This is what is created by baseball. Those timeless memories, whether it’s nine of 13 innings, baseball has a way of bringing people together. We were in no rush to leave, we had a great time, we still arrived at our destination in the wee hours of the morning, but we enjoyed every moment of it.
The point of a game is to enjoy it and leave when it’s over, or leave early if you want, do whatever you want. It’s still a free country, at least for now.
How bad are the problems with baseball? A national media outlet actually ran a story about Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred yesterday, trying to convince viewers that he actually loves baseball. Remember, this is the same guy who called the World Series trophy “a piece of metal.”
So much in our world has changed, and not for the good. That definitely includes baseball, which is almost harder to recognize and now comes the news that robot umpires are coming in 2024 because minor league game results showed it saved nine minutes of time.
Yet the reason college and pro baseball games — and other sports, too — last so long are the ads. Idle time is what takes so long. Should defenders just leave their gloves on the pitch like they did at the start of the sport to gain a few seconds between sets.
There are also talks about expansion. Did the man watch baseball? There are empty seats everywhere, interest is down, 15 out of 30 teams have records below 0.500 and the ratings – if you can find a game to watch – are abysmal, and he thinks we have need more teams.
Of course, the main reason is the $2 billion prize money that would come with each team.
Throwing money at a problem doesn’t solve problems. Never, never will.
Seriously, building back better doesn’t work, in baseball or in life.
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