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By DYLAN MALONE
It took a long time to get here for me.
I love baseball. It’s been my favorite sport to play since I was a wee-lad but a far cry from my favorite sport to watch.
One could make an exception about going to an actual game but that goes for any sport. I would go watch the Olympics for the atmosphere but to sit in my living room and consider myself “glued” to the Curling finals is asking a lot.
Baseball is in trouble.
If not for the mantra of being “America’s favorite past time,” the MLB probably would have gone under awhile ago. Steroids have caused a serious trust loss for the sport resulting in a witch-hunt that has, in turn, become the reason for so few runs this season.
Also take into consideration that baseball has become the slowest game in America. Even golf on television has developed a faster pace with switching cameras and interviews while waiting for Tiger to prowl to the next hole.
With so many commercials and delays, an MLB game can take 4-5 hours to complete with a lot of offense. Throw in a game like the Cubs/Rockies this week with 16 innings and you’re at the ball diamond for at least six and a half.
That’s a problem for me.
I’m not suggesting we do away with extra innings but I think a more drastic approach to baseball is definitely needed here. I never thought I would get to this point but I feel like a shorter season is the best way to go.
To put it into perspective, the MLB is past their All-Star Game and the trade deadline is today but they still have more games to go on the schedule than an entire NBA season. Yikes.
So what do we do about it?
Well, as a sports writer, I have to take notice that around August there is absolutely NOTHING to talk about. AP, ESPN and 99% of other media outlets have nothing to do except exacerbate mediocre storylines from the NFL and other sports.
Yes, Ray Rice’s domestic violence suspension is a hot topic right now, I’ll grant you that. But beyond that, we are talking about who Johnny Manziel is hanging out with in his spare time. The kid hasn’t even thrown a football yet. He’s not even the starter yet. He hasn’t even gotten a DUI yet. Let’s wait until something newsworthy happens before we all jump on the Johnny Football media fiesta bandwagon.
The calender year for all sports would be aligned with the gods if baseball shortened their season. (Pause for gasps.)
I know, baseball purists are pulling out their hair right now and a few short weeks ago I was with you. I sat in the stands at Turner Field last week watching the Braves lose to the Padres. From a different perspective, it’s amazing how long those players have to wait to get the next inning started.
In the middle of the fifth, the Braves starter had already thrown his last pitch and the catcher hurled a ball down to second base. Pitch stood on the mound for another minute before apparently getting a nod from a camera guy or manager and the batter finally came to the plate. No amount of mascot races or kiss-cams will ever keep me entertained enough to want to wait for commercials I can’t even see come back to live action.
Shortening the season, however, would make the games matter more. How many people beyond the die-hard baseball fanatic actually pay attention until October? I suggest a drastic change to save baseball from the clutches of converted soccer fans (haha).
Cut the season from 160+ games to 120-ish. Play playoff baseball in late August, early September while we have nothing to talk about except NFL’s most wanted list of thugs and their hobbies.
Yes, I know that all amount of records would never be attained again with a shortened amount of opportunities but sometimes the game just needs a violent shake to stay with the times. We’re in a new age with a new generation who can’t stay focused on any one thing for more than five minutes (hence the success of YouTube).
I would argue the same thing needs to happen in the NBA. The best season I’ve seen in awhile has to be the lockout shortened season a few years back. I watched with renewed interest as every game mattered just a little bit more. Baseball could do for some fire.
We could be talking about baseball pennant races at this time as well as the upcoming NFL year! Just a thought.