It’s no secret that despite all of the controversy, the NFL is the most popular sports league in America, while MLB is #2. As a huge baseball fan I would like that to change. I want MLB to be #1 again and I have some ideas on how to do it…
1. MAKE BASEBALL EASIER TO GET INTO FOR KIDS
I’ll spare you the somber statistics, our pastime is not as popular among our kids as it used to be. A part of this is due to how easy it is to play other sports, for many all you need is a ball, a friend, a playground, and you’re good to go. Baseball requires more equipment. How about adding targets for pitching to playgrounds? Those would be the equivalent of hoops for basketball. How about baseball centers for kids where they can go and play baseball? Add refreshment and baseball card machines and a lot of kids would go there. Go further than the other sports, and it can pay major dividends.
2. MAKE THE WORLD SERIES A BIGGER DEAL
The Super Bowl’s halftime show is a very big deal. Why can’t Major League Baseball do the same? Obviously there are seven games instead of one, but why not have celebrity performers at each game? One per game. That would bring in more viewers just to see that performer. This would also reestablish the World Series as a big deal.
3. SPEED UP GAMES
One of the biggest complaints about Major League Baseball, is that the games are too long. Some of the solutions have already been proposed by Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred. Clocks for pitchers so they don’t take too long before throwing a pitch, a limit to mound visits, a limit to batters stepping out of the batter’s box, earpieces for faster communication between the manager and the coaches (big phones in the 21’st century?!), an umpire in charge of other umpires to make decisions faster. Speeding up the game should clearly be one of the top things on the agenda for Major League Baseball.
4. DISCOURAGE TANKING FOR TEAMS BY INSTITUTING A DRAFT LOTTERY
It’s simple logic, when a team is rebuilding, fans typically don’t have as much interest and attendance and viewership of games drops. How to fix it? Simple, have more competitive teams. As currently constituted, teams that are aiming for a rebuild have an incentive to be as bad as possible. If they do that, they receive the #1 pick in the amateur draft. What if only missing the playoffs put you in a position to net the top pick? Other sports leagues such as the NBA have this for that reason. It’s time for Major League Baseball to follow suit.
5. PROMOTE HOME RUNS IN A MAJOR CAMPAIGN
As the 1998 home run race showed, fans love home runs. That’s probably the reason why balls are now apparently “juiced”. Why not go a step further and launch a massive promotion of home runs? Have the top sluggers appear in more commercials, commit to more marketing campaigns…. let people know how fun home runs are to encourage them to go to the ballpark and to watch the games. More importantly, encourage a new generation of fans to get into the sport.
Do you think that my ideas are good? Let me know in the comments!