As an avid listener of MLB Network Radio daily, an issue that always arises is the game being too long. And I agree…to a point.
To lifelong fans, baseball is a slow build to the ninth inning. The art of teams feeling each other out for the first five or six innings. The starting pitchers, starting to tire, and look for every last little bit of energy they have to finish an inning. The managers and bench coaches strategizing on what to do next. Then it’s a cat and mouse game of match ups and numbers. Right handed pinch hitter-left handed specialist. The set up man. The closer. A beautiful game of chess not confined in terms of time. THIS is the game that I love.
Is three plus hour games, everyday, hurting the popularity of the game? I don’t think so. It’s the lack entertainment between pitchers that bore people. People listen to commercials and don’t watch. At least in my house. It’s a quick bathroom run. Or grab another drink. You hear Flo on the TV, but you really aren't paying attention. You have seen that same commercial 622 times this week.
In the 7th, 8th, and 9th inning, you have fans ready for the finish. Eagerly anticipated if their team can hold on to the lead, or make an amazing comeback. But with these commercials, you cut into that anticipation.
I am not in favor of a reliever having to cut down on warm up pitches. Or the amount of relievers you can put in. What needs to happen is that these corporate sponsors need to get their product placement in vignettes that can play during the warm up commercials. Get that fan pumped up that Antonio Bastardo is coming in to face one batter. Make it fun. “Geico presents ‘Lights Out Time’” blah blah blah. Is the commercial of Flo giving K-Rod the ball too much? If it entertaining and keeps me interested enough not to change the channel, then I say yes.
The game is not broken. We just need to change the other aspects of the non-action to make it more entertaining.
Baseball is bigger than ever. And expansion will happen eventually. Will it “thin out” talent? In theory, but I think baseball is baseball and I love it no matter what.
The Marlins and Rockies are over 20 years old. The D-backs and Rays are over 15. Is it time to add two teams? How about four?
I once had a conversation with my father and said that in by the time my youngest son is an adult, there will be a Major League Baseball team in Cuba. And it could be a real possibility.
With the United States finally making an attempt to rekindle relationships with Cuba, the idea of a MLB team in Havana is more than a wild idea. It’s a reality. Not today or tomorrow, but what about 2030?
In the meantime, I feel that Montreal is ready for another shot. They packed the old Olympic Stadium with over 50,000 screaming fans for exhibition games. MLB and the players did the city of Montreal wrong with the Strike of '94. It is time to make it right.
Then you add San Juan…and Santa Domingo, Dominican Republic. Wait. What?
Yes, the idea of a shared Caribbean team is not that far-fetched. 41 home games for one team and 40 for another, with shared playoffs, and alternate years.
Can the governments of both Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic sustain a team like, say, New York could? Hell no. There would need to be some major help and major restructuring economically and politically, but it’s there. How many Latinos are living on the mainland in the United States and love baseball? Millions. Can you imagine the merchandise sales of a All-Caribbean team? And it could go back into the system to help raise youth awareness in baseball.
The owners are making money. The players are making money. The networks are making money. What percentage would everyone have to give to make this work? Building fields not only in Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic, but the projects of New York City. Or Cleveland. Or Los Angeles. The answer is a small percent. Baseball is a nine billion (9,000,000,000) dollar a year industry. 1% of that is $90,000,000. ½% is $45,000,000.
Baseball can thrive again in the inner city and poorer countries. Baseball just has to work together.
2020 welcomes the new Montreal Expos and Caribbean United.
If I were King of Baseball.