With a tip of the cap to the NHL, NBA, and NCAA, baseball season is right around the corner.
I thought it was time to check out the goings-on in MLB, courtesy of new Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred. It seems like Mr. Manfred wants to change things up a little.
From expanding the strike zone to quickening the pace of baseball games, he’s come up with something that might just hit the spot! Manfred would like to shorten the regular season by 8 games. Some of his ideas are pretty spot on.
In an online article from draysbay.com, Mr. Manfred makes some valid points:
“Injuries and fatigue take their toll after 150 games into any baseball season. The 2011 Red Sox and the 2014 Brewers are the latest examples of teams who seemed primed for greatness but couldn’t survive September. Baseball is a grind, an everyday sport designed to tax teams and players until October.
Changing the length of the season will fundamentally change the personnel requirement for teams to make the playoffs, possibly requiring less depth for any roster. Should baseball be a sport where you have to outlast as much as you outplay? That’s its current DNA, and you have to wonder how much eight games taken off the schedule would change that.”
While some valid points exist, are those extra 8 games supposed to allow for more rest?
What happens when we expand the playoffs? Imagine a scenario in which the Wild Card does not take two play-in games? Secondly, imagine a scenario where the Wild Card is actually an (elimination) tournament a few days before playoffs begin, like say a week?
Major League Baseball is a sport driven by money. Not just consumer money, but by television revenue. Quick question, just how much more valuable are those 8 games as added revenue?
In 2013, Major League Baseball made in excess of $8 Billion dollars. ($8,000,000,000.00) It is estimated that MLB made a little over $9 Billion this past year. Baseball is a money-making venture, so shortening it by 8 games may not seem like much to you or me, but to an owner? That’s money out of his/her pockets.
In 2014, the average ticket price went up by 2%, to an average of $27.93 per ticket. The total FCI (Fan Cost Index) rose 2.3%, to $212.46. (Understand some tickets are cheaper than this, and others are far more expensive.)
If you take the Texas Rangers, for example, and use this formula: average cost of ticket x total attendance = $$ in pocket of owners, you reach a total of nearly $76M ($27.93 x 2,718,733 = $75,934,212.69).
I think I’m in the wrong business. Really.
If you want to shorten the season, you’re going to have a fight on your hands from the baseball purists. They ALREADY hate the DH in the American League…can’t imagine they’d like a shortened season. It makes sense, and then it doesn’t.
If you can guarantee fresh players for the playoffs, then bring it on. Otherwise, LEAVE IT ALONE. I know a lot of folks gripe about the length of baseball games. According to a recent, well-researched and very entertaining Boston Globe story, major league game times are longer than they used to be, reversing a trend. They’re back up to an average of nearly 2 hours, 58 minutes.
In contrast, the average NFL game lasts 3 hours and 12 minutes, and NBA games are 2 hours 28 minutes long.
So baseball games aren’t as long as football games, nor are they as short as NBA games. So,why the griping about the pace of the game? 1.) The amount of standing around. 2.) The inordinate amount of time batters use to prepare to hit the ball. 3.) 27 Outs can take a long time, especially if the pitcher isn’t very good, or you play in a homerun park.
Would you want to make the game more exciting? What ideas do you have, if any, to change the pace of the game?
Give me your suggestions @TheRonMann
I am, the Voice of Reason.
Ronnie Garcia is the Voice of Reason at The Scoop. He is also an avid guitarist, educator, and all around smarmy guy. You can follow him on twitter @TheRonMann.