BaseballRegional Sports

Hard to enjoy baseball anymore

Photo: Troy Taormina/USA Today Sports

The World Series failed to capture anyone so far. Most sports fans are deep into football, basketball and hockey now to even care about the Fall Classic. 

In fact, the MLB playoffs itself offered nothing. Sure, we got our yuks with the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers going down, but that enjoyable feeling lasted only for five minutes. It was superficial at best. Most baseball fans stopped watching when their team’s season was over.

But this goes beyond that. Major League Baseball has a credibility problem. It’s not a sport young people want to watch. Heck as a 42-year-old gentleman, I don’t have the attention span to watch a game for four hours anymore. 

I am not even going to a sports bar to watch the World Series because I know I would come home late in the night since the game would end around midnight. Surprisingly, Game 2 of the World Series ended around 11:30 p.m., which is an improvement. Still, who wants to watch the World Series and stay up for it four hours on a school night or work night in late October?

There are so many factors as to why these games take so long. Let’s start with teams taking long at-bats or taking time to get to the plate. There’s no reason to be taking long at-bats when the game is out of reach. Honestly, they shouldn’t be taking long at-bats just to get on base. Just let it rip and keep the line going. 

Here’s what annoys me the most: Managers are being forced to change pitchers just to get the right matchup based on analytics. You don’t see starters going deep anymore because analytics say hitters figure them out the third time around and they lose their effectiveness by the sixth inning. Then, you got pitchers going in and out during the game just to get the right matchup rather than have relievers go two or three innings and throw zeroes or even go one full inning and throw zeroes.

It’s laughable that we see a team use the opener in the playoffs. This would mean using a reliever to start the game and then passing the baton to another pitcher. It’s as stupid as the College of Coaches where coaches would manage the Cubs for a period of time during the season. I just don’t see how using pitchers after pitchers make the game any better. It would make the game much longer than it has to be.

While it’s great to see two old-school managers doing it their way in the World Series in Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker and Atlanta Braves manager Brian Snitker, the truth of the matter is those guys are gone now. Managers basically manage what their superiors tell them to do. It’s a good bet the next Mets manager will have his hands tied to the general manager. That’s not what baseball should be.

What made baseball great is that managers have to make decisions and fans can second-guess or praise them during the game.  They would have more of an impact on a game. The general managers took that away from them, and now the game stinks because of that.

It would also be nice if the pitchers stop taking so long to pitch. There are just too many timeouts from pitchers to batters at the plate.

Also, wouldn’t it be nice if players learned how to bunt or know how to beat the shift? Plus, I like to see players learn how to get on base by base hits rather than just hit home runs or focus on exit velocity.

Baseball got so many issues to deal with. I got no solution. If I had, I am sure MLB commissioner Rob Manfred would have hired me. It’s a project Theo Epstein needs to figure out sooner rather than later. The sport is all but dead right now. For Pete’s sake, hockey and soccer are now ahead of baseball in fan interest. A few years ago, it would have been unheard of. It would be sacrilegious to even say that.

I would look forward to watching a baseball game no matter the time and place back in the day. Now, it’s just whatever.

Baseball might as well be dead to me.

It certainly is to most of America.


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