Old Baseball Dies Hard

by JoeYancey

Major League Baseball wants you off their lawn…

While many may view 7 inning games and same-day double headers as a sign of growth by the most stubborn game on earth, I view it as a game with no fans, and the owners could give a hoot. Revenue is at all-time lows so they want to shave time, while they hemorrhage money.

Fact is, these guys would pay the players minimum wage until the pandemic breaks if they could get away with it. I love baseball, fiercely; however the game is old, stale and lacks innovation. The ‘purest’ game needs a refresh. Take the cartridge out, blow on it, put it back in and reboot.

Exhibit A: Who the hell is voting for pitchers hitting? Seriously…. WHO? And WHY?!?! This is a sign of pure stubbornness. Nothing more, nothing less. For decades MLB will not budge from old scenery. The universal DH is the single best way to keep fans engaged during a strange time, in what is already considered to be the most boring of the four major sports.

Do NOT let the headline: “Players Union turns down Universal DH” fool you. That’s a very large sack of horseshit. The players want the Universal DH, but want it with adjustments to compensation and the same playoff structure in tact. If the playoffs are expanded, thus more games and wear on the body, the players want to be compensated as such. The owners, just to make sure everyone understands they own, are not good with it, and will assert their dominance by not giving without receiving. MLB owners are adamant on an expanded postseason, however offering up the DH in both leagues is simply not enough. More incentives are required. To be clear, this is in MLB ownership’s hands. So here we are…

The universal DH does so many things…

  • More hitters hitting
  • LESS PITCHERS HITTING!
  • Better defense, as your worst defensive player ISN’T PLAYING DEFENSE!
  • Speeds the game up
  • Less pitching substitutions
  • Less defensive swaps
  • IT’S WHAT THE FANS WANT FOR FUCK’S SAKE!

While I fully understand it compromises part of the strategy of the game, fact is, IT’S WHAT THE FANS WANT! You know… the ones that pay for tickets and merch? Bend for the love of Hank Aaron, you pricks! Would it kill you to listen to the people? 30ish people making decisions for hundreds of millions? Neato… If we wanted that we would watch politicians, not baseball.

Street and Smith’s Sports Business Journal concluded the average age of baseball fans is 57 years old. Only 29% of ‘serious’ baseball fans are between the ages of 18 – 34, meaning you are either burnt out at some point, or you love it as a youngster – likely because your parents introduce you to it, and you then move on to other things. Not much in between. Scarier is this trend shows people abandoning the game as older fans pass on. It’s not hard to see the world moving to a more tech-like, youthful environment. Millennials matter. They are real life consumers. Treat them as such. For a sport that is often perceived as boring, it will be much harder to bring fans back once they’re gone, given the pace of the game. MLB has also considered decreasing the size of the minor leagues, meaning less young people play the game, and see the game.

There is also the business of the 2020 World Series being the lowest rated in modern history. Considering the world was/is in the middle of a pandemic and most folks were home that’s not good. Television viewership is up since the onset of the pandemic, naturally, yet the World Series at record lows? Hmm… Maybe this is something to look into. Maybe the Universal DH would help? If for any reason, something different to attract new fans, or grab the casual on-the-fence viewer, and give him or her a reason to give it a shot. We have to come to terms with the fact that many go to the ballpark more for the social gathering than the game. Adjustments are necessary for the long term health of the game.

Things old people do not excel at…

  • Apps
  • Streaming
  • Social media
  • Innovation
  • EMBRACING YOUTHFUL MOVEMENTS

Try to adapt… Give a shit, for Christ! You are in business to do business, not piss money away fellas. It is literally right in front of your face. Your close counterparts, that are also 73 years old, are not in tune with the prospective consumer yearning for a reason to indulge in your product.

Baseball cannot stay relevant this way, and will lose considerable market share if it does not adapt. MLB Commissioner, Rob Manfred should wake up and thank God every day the season runs concurrent with nothing, except PGA and NASCAR. Imagine MLB competing with the NFL? How awful would that be? Who is to say these other leagues – NFL, NBA, NHL do not break ranks and adjust their start/end times? However unlikely that may be, it is possible… Baseball would be forced to adjust then, no?…

TV deals, apparel sales help, considerably; however, the pandemic is proving that adjusting on the fly is often necessary and for the betterment of the sport, the players that play the sport, and more importantly – that fans are understanding and willing to pay for a good product. It is important they show up once the pandemic breaks. LET PITCHERS PITCH AND HITTERS HIT. Alrighty, bye now.

Source: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-sports-with-the-oldest-and-youngest-tv-audiences-2017-06-30

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