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The State of Baseball is Strong. But it could be better. How do we make that happen?

Jan 29, 2014, 9:32 AM EDT

baseball grass

Tom Verducci has a very long but very well thought-out analysis of the State of Baseball as we enter the 2014 season. In a lot of ways it’s the intelligent person’s take on the “Is Baseball Dying?” thing. Being a creature of baseball he understands the current strengths and weaknesses of the game from a competitive, demographic and financial perspective so he isn’t trafficking in the alarmism and broad-brush paining of the non-baseball writers who make a sport of declaring the game dead each fall. As such, it’s an important read.

The facts:

  • While financially flush, the game is dependent on TV money to a huge degree and what happens if something radical happens in the structure of the TV business?
  • A lot of that flushness is based on increasingly local fandom, not national, and while that’s OK for most of the season, it really does bollocks-up the national showcases like the World Series and the All-Star Game and stuff;
  • While still extremely popular on its own merits, baseball’s fan demographics are somewhat worrisome compared to other sports. Yes, people “come back” to baseball when they’re older, but if fewer are with it as kids in the first place, there are fewer to “come back” later;
  • While baseball will never be a kinetic thing on the level of basketball and football, it is slowing down even by its own standards with fewer balls in play, longer games and more down time/farting around time during games;
  • Less quantitatively, there is something culturally anachronistic about the overall vibe of baseball. The fascination among those inside the game and many fans with a conservative culture and a disdain of youthful exuberance, style and attitude. There are structural reasons for baseball not appealing to the young like football and basketball do and we can’t do much about a lot of that stuff, but baseball is really making it harder on itself by insisting on a code of orthodoxy that punishes and shames the Yasiel Puigs and Bryce Harpers of the world while elevating and venerating old farts with 19th century moral codes.

How severe a problem any of these things are is debatable. How severe all of them taken together are is as well. And while it’s possible to acknowledge all of these as problems, even potentially serious ones, and to still think the game is healthy, it is also the case that anyone who cares about an institution should care about improving it and addressing its faults, even if everything is going well in general.  This is where Verducci is coming from here, and I agree with a great deal of what he says in the part of his essay in which he critiques the state of the game.

The second part is a bit more fun and is likely to be the focus of more talk. In it Verducci proposes some changes to the game to address the problems he identifies. Some are great ideas. For example, he talks about instituting The Summer Game. Sort of baseball’s answer to The Winter Classic in hockey, and I think it’d be terrific:

It makes no sense that in one of the few windows when baseball has the sports calendar to itself — the All-Star break in July — it goes dark for two nights after the All-Star Game. It needs an “event.” It should schedule one game for the Thursday after the All-Star Game, bill it as The Summer Game, and play it at an iconic American venue, such as the foothills near Mount Rushmore, the mall in Washington D.C., the Field of Dreams field in Iowa, Doubleday Field in Cooperstown, N.Y. . . . one regular season game out of 2,430 that is visually stunning, brings Major League Baseball to a place it never has been before, appeals to the “event” appetite of demanding sports viewers, and underscores baseball’s unique place in Americana.

This is fantastic.

Other ideas are not so good. Neutral-site World Series. Allowing managers to mess around with the batting order to send whoever he wants up to bat without losing players once a game. Starting hitters off with 1-1 counts. To be fair, Verducci knows some of these are never going to happen and acknowledges their flaws. He’s merely trying to get a conversation started about such things, and that’s a great idea.

I think one of the bigger things baseball needs to figure out — and how they do it I have no idea — is how to change its conservative culture, how to do better at promoting the game’s young stars and how to do better at promoting the game in general to younger fans. And how to do all of that without being gimmicky or lame.

I feel like this is hard because so much of the dynamic is dictated by baseball’s very structure. Almost everyone in baseball comes through a hierarchy. Even the big names. You do your time in the minors, where conformity and humility is drilled into you. The very socialization of a player into the game is dependent upon them learning to talk, walk and carry themselves like all those who came before. This goes for the coaches too. No one is given special treatment. In the rare cases they are, it’s head-turning. Between their education in the minors and their pre-free agency residency in the majors, it can be a decade or more before a unique personality or a true showman is able to shine through. And even then the showman is roundly criticized and given a way shorter leash if his performance falters than is someone who Plays The Game The Right Way.

Given all of that, how does a young star make the kind of splash a young basketball player or football player does? How does baseball market a cog who has every incentive to eschew a claim to uniqueness given the almost militaristic structure that produced him?

I don’t know how you crack that nut. I don’t know how one can come up through the system required to learn the skills of the game without necessarily losing that flair and that style. The rare cases that are able to bypass a long conformity-instillation process because of their talent — like Puig and Harper — had better be the absolute best right out of the chute. And even if they are, the scrutiny by their peers and the media is still pretty high. How do you sell these guys to young fans if they’re being punished for what’s so marketable about them in the first place?

I don’t have any answers to these questions. Most people don’t. But I like that Verducci has started this conversation publicly. I also like that those inside Major League Baseball — people you don’t hear from or see much of on a day-to-day basis but with whom I have some contact — are wrestling with these issues too.

Baseball is a great game. The greatest game. But so much of what makes it great is holding it up from a wider and deeper audience and could, possibly anyway, present problems for it in the future. I want baseball to always be the greatest, so I want to think about these things too. I hope you do as well. And that, as a community, perhaps we can come up with some small ideas of our own. Because, whether you believe it or not, those people in the game who are wrestling with these ideas are paying attention to folks like us.

123 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. psunick - Jan 29, 2014 at 12:35 PM

    How could he omit the 1989 Oakland A’s from the list of champions with “profound civic meaning?”

    • pjmarn6 - Jan 29, 2014 at 2:58 PM

      If baseball is such a great game, why is football rated twice as popular as baseball. In the 30 years that baseball has been compared with football, baseball has never been compared more favorably than football.
      Facts that were introduced by King Kong are whose facts and where are they found?
      Why does King Kong always have to take articles written by other people and rehash them. Does he not have the ability to create thoughtful and mind stimulating articles?
      The little individual information he throws into an article is so worthless, that when one studies it, one comes to the conclusion that he has no thoughtful ideas to put forth.
      One only has to see the difference between the other contributors to this sports section and what is written in the newspapers to see who are the real sports writers.
      Pig can you discern the meaning?

      • nbjays - Jan 29, 2014 at 3:08 PM

        Easy. Football appeals to the short attention span, low information fans that increasingly inhabit America.

  2. fathersworkandfamily - Jan 29, 2014 at 12:53 PM

    That recent poll that showed Football is the most popular sport and baseball was #2 was more interesting if you look at the demographic breakdown.

    Baseball was the #1 sport of those making $100k or more a year.

    This may not bode well for growing the game more generally, but from a financial standpoint, this is excellent news

    • Barb Caffrey - Feb 1, 2014 at 8:45 PM

      In some ways I agree with you, fathers, in some others I don’t.

      I am far from the $100K a year bracket, personally. (I never expect to get there, either.) But I was raised with a love of baseball, watched games at old Milwaukee County Stadium when I was really young (under ten), grew up with Bob Uecker on the radio (how many more years will he be able to announce?), dealt with my Milwaukee Brewers team through bad, outstanding, and bad again before they finally turned the corner when new owner Mark Attanasio came on board.

      People like me are the fans baseball needs. We’re loyal, we’re passionate, we know what’s going on, we understand the culture of baseball and we also understand what Craig C. and Tom V. are saying.

      Not just those $100K a year folks, ’cause there are a lot more people like me out there and not trying to market the game to _us_ is lamentably stupid.

      The trick now is to interest kids whose parents don’t like baseball and didn’t have any motivation to tell them anything about baseball to discover it, enjoy it, and appreciate it. I don’t know what the answers are, there.

      I do know that the few really outsize personalities we’ve had in the past twenty years or so have been only able to show themselves as such after they’ve been in the big leagues for at least six or seven years. The rest tend to conform, and some never break that conformity because it’s easier to just go with the flow.

      I also know that baseball GMs don’t seem to understand those who are a little different or who communicate in a different way than everyone else. This is why I blame the Brewers for trading away J.J. Hardy a few years ago; he was the best defensive SS in baseball, well worth any amount of trouble, and yet this was ignored due to his offensive woes at the time . . . when the pitching ERA all of a sudden went way up, no one seemed to get it (I did, but no one public did, and I didn’t blog at the time, didn’t really talk online about it at the time). All that I heard in the local media was about how Hardy was a “crybaby” or that he was “too emotional” because he was honest about feeling disheartened after being sent to the minors due to his hitting issues at the time — something that was clearly understandable to anyone who’s ever faced setbacks during his/her professional career (and don’t we all?) — which just goes back to the whole point about how baseball players have to conform, doesn’t it?

      Joey Votto is one player who’s been very open about his grief (after he lost his father, he struggled big-time with depression), and if he weren’t one of the absolute best players in the game, someone would’ve probably tried to shut him up because of this nonsense about personal conformity.

      Personally, I’d much rather see someone with a personality like Manny Ramirez or David Ortiz or, on a lesser level, Todd Coffey than someone who’s slick and pre-packaged. That’s why I keep rooting for Yasiel Puig and even Bryce Harper (who’s had a few run-ins with the Brewers); they seem much more real to me than most of the rest of them.

  3. paco53 - Jan 29, 2014 at 1:13 PM

    I am a high school ump. If the batter does not foul off the pitch or move away from an inside pitch, the pitcher basically has 20 seconds to deliver the next pitch. The batter also has to keep one foot in the box to receive his sign. Believe me, it speeds up the game.

    I love MLB but the games are too long. I time many of the pitchers because I get irritated with the lack of action. For example, Jonathan Broxton for the Reds often takes 33 seconds to pitch the ball. Many batters leave the box, go up the line for the sign, adjust the Velcro on their batting gloves and then step into the box. If the pitchers had to pitch quickly, and the batters had to be in the box, the games would be much shorter.

    Now MLB is going to instant replay. With its use, the games will be longer.

    With added length, I will go to the games less. I actually prefer watching on television because I can read between pitches. If the games were quicker, I would go to more games in person.

    • 18thstreet - Jan 29, 2014 at 2:14 PM

      You are an American hero. Bless you, sir.

    • metroplexsouthsider - Jan 29, 2014 at 5:29 PM

      Yep, enforce the pitch time.

      Oh, and get rid of the DH. If only Fay Vincent hadn’t gotten the boot.

    • racksie - Jan 30, 2014 at 1:03 AM

      Maybe keeping guys like Ortiz from wandering around for 30 seconds after every pitch would help. It is so annoying watching his disgust and not getting every pitch, and creating 3-5 minute at bats is the sole domain of Red Sox nation.

      • 18thstreet - Jan 30, 2014 at 1:13 PM

        Um, Red Sox Nation are the ones watching 162 games (well, I don’t watch all of them, but I’m making a point) and not just the games against your team. Red Sox fans, I think, more than most, want to see less time between pitches.

      • racksie - Jan 31, 2014 at 12:51 PM

        Actually, I am referring to the playoff games that Ortiz was milking. And Red Sox games are statistically among the longest in Mlb. And Ortiz is culprit number one.

      • 18thstreet - Jan 31, 2014 at 12:55 PM

        Yes! And I wish the at bats were shorter, too!

        I’m agreeing with you!

  4. stevem7 - Jan 29, 2014 at 1:26 PM

    The only way to make baseball stronger is to fire that lunatic commissioner and make sure that the next one is not a puppet of the owners, but rather an independent of both sides Commissioner who isn’t afraid to take on either side.

    • ezthinking - Jan 29, 2014 at 3:19 PM

      “make sure that the next one is not a puppet of the owners, but rather an independent of both sides Commissioner who isn’t afraid to take on either side.”

      The owners hire the Commissioner. He works for them. What your asking is the CEO of IBM to respond to the employees rather than the owners of IBM and their hired Board of Directors.

      MLB is not baseball, it’s the organization of the owners.

      It’s confusing to the casual fan that the Commissioner of MLB represents the owners, not the “game.”

  5. bassballskillz - Jan 29, 2014 at 1:33 PM

    How about a inter-league division head to head games to start off the second half of the season. For example, the # 1 team in the standings in the AL East at the All-Star break plays the # 1 team in the standings in the NL East, the # 2 team in the standings in the AL Central at the All-Star break plays the # 2 team in the standings in the NL Central, so on and so fourth. Just one game that counts like this for all 30 teams to play and then back to the schedule.

    • wjarvis - Jan 29, 2014 at 3:10 PM

      One idea that I think would cool would be to have 5 mini tournaments over the course of 4 days right after the all-star break, where each team would play 3 games that count as regular season games and have 1 off day. So for each of these tournaments that’s 9 games all played in a single stadium. The prize would be that the winner would have a tournament in their stadium the next year.

      The format would be every first place team from each division would meet in 1 city, all the 2nd place in another, etc. Teams would get seeded 1-6 and the actual tournament would only be over the first 3 days, with the fourth day primarily being a way to make sure each team plays 3 games. A coin flip before each game would determine if NL or AL rules were followed.

      On the first day there would two games
      G1:3 vs 6 and G2: 4 vs 5

      On the second day there would be two more games
      G3: 1 vs winner of G2
      G4: 2 vs winner of G1

      On the third day there would be three games
      G5: winner of G3 vs winner of G4 – Championship game
      G6: loser of G1 v loser of G3
      G7: loser of G2 vs loser of G4

      On the fourth day there would be two games
      G8: 1 vs loser of G2
      G9: 2 vs loser of G1

      • bassballskillz - Jan 30, 2014 at 8:46 AM

        Why would any of these teams want to play G6-9, what’s their incentive? Do you realize G8 & 9 are the same as G3 & 4? Do you really think the team owners would go for losing all that revenue by having only 5 teams enjoying all that extra revenue of games played at their stadium while the other 25 team owners get shafted?

      • wjarvis - Jan 30, 2014 at 2:16 PM

        The incentive for games 6 – 9 are that they are still regular season games, and the only reason they are played is so that every team would play a total of 3 games, no more and no less. Owners may go for it since they could lose out on 3 games of revenue, but if they are hosting they could make a lot more. Your right though the money would have to be right in order for anything like this to be approved.

        I guess what I was trying to think of was an event similar to the preliminary rounds of the college world series or NCAA Basketball tournament where you get fans that come to watch a weekend of sports and get to watch teams outside of just their own. Also I might be in the minority here, but I’d enjoy watching MLB teams play three different teams in a row somethimes as opposed to always playing a series.

  6. louhudson23 - Jan 29, 2014 at 1:57 PM

    A definite fix for the slow pace of the game would be to throw an inane replay system into the mix…that should really help…

  7. chris6523 - Jan 29, 2014 at 2:10 PM

    I think a lot of the things shown as concern about the future of baseball are the same things that were said in my teen years of the late 80s. If Puig and Harper are considered villains in this day, we had Canseco, Dave Stewart, and others back then. As far as some of the suggestions Verducci had, I would love to see MLB embrace Verucci’s idea of the game on the Thursday of all star week. I think starting with a 1-1 count would be counter productive. There would certainly be a heck of a lot more strikeouts, thus fewer balls in play.

  8. mfink7 - Jan 29, 2014 at 3:10 PM

    Baseball is a wonderful game, but there’s a fairly steep learning curve for enjoying it. That takes patience, something the younger generation (of which I am a part) doesn’t necessarily have unless they’ve spent part of their lives learning it. Ideally, that comes through playing the game.

    Also, I’m not sure it’s necessarily true that baseball stifles its young stars with its oppressive culture. Baseball can and does celebrate its outsized personalities if they aren’t jerks like Nyjer Morgan. Remember Dontrelle Willis? He was quirky and fun and everyone loved him. Mark Fydrich? Bo Jackson? Ken Griffey, Jr? You can be young and play the game with flair and a sense of joy. Baseball fans embrace that. But if you stand up on the dugout, scream at the fans, and challenge the other team to fight, baseball’s “conservative culture” might smack you down. Maybe it should.

  9. clemente2 - Jan 29, 2014 at 3:13 PM

    1. I have never watched a baseball game on TV or in person that was too long as a whole. If the umps kept the most wasteful pitchers and hitters in line, I would not mind, but I do not think we see alot of extraneous trainer/coach/manager visits. No clock is one of the blessed foundations of the game (see Carlin).

    2. The whole All-Star thing needs to be redone. It was a showcase before interleague play; now, it has no point. I no longer watch. The extensive rosters, the non-all-star All-Stars, etc. also detract from it. It should be a marketing showcase for the game–more emphasis on what has occurred so far in the season should be made. The HR derby has become stale, but some skills based stuff would be fun–maybe if the HR part was only 30 minutes, and throwing and accuracy of pitching, and the like were added for 30 minutes each it would be good. A total 2-3 hour show on Monday. How about the three best curveball pitchers showing how they do it and then throwing some with lots of camera work and special effects so people get an understanding of how amazing MLB pitchers throw? Real time fastball replays, then slowed down to show all the movement.

    3. I also like the idea of a post-All-Star ‘kick-off’ game in an unusual location, a game that is part of those teams’ regular season schedule, with the teams picked based on the two top winning records of the prior season, and a bonus paid to the players/teams for reaching the kick-off game.

    4. The reason the conservative social culture in baseball survives is that the umps and league let McCann, et al., enforce it without consequences. And though people do not like to confront this, there is both a generational issue and an ethnic issue involved. I was very dismayed at the player, media and fan furor over Puig/Harper/Gomez/Fernandez exuberance. It is fun. The line between fun and showing up is far from where it is right now in baseball.

    5. 154 game season–mainly for the earlier playoffs.

    6. I think the challenge system will be a problem, and MLB will turn to a fifth ump, but I’ll let that happen.

    • Barb Caffrey - Feb 1, 2014 at 8:53 PM

      I agree with you, Clemente2, especially with regards to Carlos Gomez. (I forgot to mention him in my post above as one of the players I enjoy who doesn’t seem pre-packaged all the time.) Gomez was the one good thing to come out of the J.J. Hardy trade, though it didn’t seem like it at the time . . . in that sense, Melvin wasn’t wrong to trade Hardy, but my goodness, the Brewers suffered in the interim before Jean Segura was traded for and did so unexpectedly well.

      Segura’s another guy who enjoys himself and seems to have a lot of fun playing baseball, though he’s quieter than Gomez.

      Both of them were the best reasons to watch the Brewers last year after Ryan Braun’s suspension basically threw any chance of the Brewers making the postseason out the window. (Though the Brewers 8-22 month of May didn’t help, either.)

  10. apeville - Jan 29, 2014 at 3:39 PM

    It’s a losing proposition to try and make it more exciting by letting the players be more rude and celebratory. You will never compete with football by trying to be more LIKE football. They will always outdo baseball in all the ADRENALINE inducing aspects. Baseball will survive, it may bet smaller, but who cares- I think you will loose more fans than you gain by gimmicks. Or steroids.

  11. apeville - Jan 29, 2014 at 3:57 PM

    Another thing- thanks to MLB TV- I can skip through commercials- or even innings. Games go WAY faster that way. I would rather make the games shorter by watching them the after they actually start, giving me the ability to FF and do my own replays. It’s a win-win for me, and I don’t mind the price tag, which obviously helps their bottom line.

    When I am all the ballpark, it never feels too long for me. I am happy there- even if it is a pitcher’s duel. It’s not a game to be gulped, but savored- as the quote goes.

  12. Mister D - Jan 29, 2014 at 9:59 PM

    Cross-promoting stars could help. As a Yankee fan, I see all sorts of ads with Jeter or CC or Girardi. Sometimes we’ll get a couple of Yanks in the same ad. But why not partner up Jeter with Puig, or Pujols with Harper? Use the stars of 1 team to bring attention to the rest of the stars in the game. Howabout letting a visiting player or two speak to the fans from the jumbotron?

  13. Minoring In Baseball - Jan 30, 2014 at 2:38 AM

    There’s nothing really wrong with baseball, just the MLB. I’ve only taken my kids to minor league games, and we have a great time together. Sunday games usually involve us playing catch on the field, getting autographs from the players, and the young ones running the bases after the game. Throw in the mascots and between inning games, and it’s really a lot of fun for us. Also, surprisingly, I run into more real baseball fans at the minor league level than at the major league games. The minor league games are affordable and fan friendly, not something that MLB can attest to. I would like to see them shorten the season a bit with real double-headers. Not how they do now, kicking fans out of the stadium after the first game, but real back-to-back games on one ticket. It would be perfect for a weekend afternoon. They might take at hit at the gate, but I’m sure the concessions and merchandise would make up for it. Make it worth it for fans that don’t live in the area to make the trip to see two games, and spend a whole day at the ballpark.
    http://minoringinbaseball.com/

    • belichickrulz - Jan 30, 2014 at 9:02 AM

      I agree that affordability has become an issue, but unless team owners decide that they don’t want to maximize revenue anymore I don’t see that changing. So that’s why my sons & I watch the Boston Red Sox on TV but go to see the Pawtucket Red Sox for live games.

      • Minoring In Baseball - Jan 30, 2014 at 4:32 PM

        I don’t blame you. The PawSox have a great venue, and the fans there are super nice. I’d love to make it back that way!
        -Mike

  14. belichickrulz - Jan 30, 2014 at 8:59 AM

    I don’t understand the obsession we baseball fans have with reclaiming the #1 spot from the NFL. It’s counter-productive and could, in the long run, fundamentally change the game into something else entirely. A large part of the reason why I’ve become less of an NFL fan and more of an MLB fan over time is because of the changes made by the NFL to hold on to their #1 spot and appeal to whichever demographic they’re chasing at the time. If there are changes that will make baseball better – like umpires doing more to keep batters in the box and speed up the game – then I’m all for it. But changes should be instituted solely for the purpose of improving baseball, not for the purpose of stealing fans from the NFL.

  15. apeville - Jan 30, 2014 at 10:10 AM

    Right on, Bellchickrulz. It’s clear the state of MLB is very, very strong. Tweaks and fine tuning are good, major dramatic changes to increase an already very strong economic reality and compete with a sport is has little in common with, not so much.

    And I have fallen in love, all over again, with both minor league ball and college baseball. And my new favorite: Women’s College Softball. A shorter game- to be sure. Great for entertaining the short attention span youth/adults. The Univ. of Tennessee women’s games are 5 bucks and 100% fun. And they win!

    And then you got yer spring training- another great way to enjoy the game.

    So- take your choice and enjoy.

  16. bh0673 - Jan 30, 2014 at 11:05 AM

    As a baseball fan who appreciates the game not just rooting for my team, I do feel that some of the changes under Selig have not been positive.
    1. I have a real problem with the power that was given to Umpires and the cap on emotion from the players. Let’s face it there are some bad umpires and too many questionable calls yet players aren’t able to show emotion when they are a victim and there are too many umpires who have too quick a trigger finger to throw out a player. HEY BUD WHEN I PAY FOR A TICKET TO A BALLGAME I DIDN’T PAY TO SEE THE UMPIRE I CAME TO SEE THE PLAYERS.
    2. Interleague play was a good concept that has run it’s course. I said years ago that they should change the balance and move one team back to the American League and have one inter-league game every day. I had hoped it would spread out the games and create the chance to see more teams. No I still see the same teams, and when I looked at my team almost every game in May will be Inter-League and the bulk on the road seems to be more interleague games then every before and with a pennant race it can have an unfair consequence. My other problem with Interleague is the DH rule. Before all the National League fans get on their soap boxes and scream for it’s end. Read up on why there is no DH in the NL and it has nothing to do with the history. It isn’t fair for an AL team to have to face a strong NL team on the road when in a pennant race another team in the same league gets to benefit from the DH in an AL stadium. They need to make the DH rule equal regardless of stadium for all teams whether it is one year with and one year without. For me I am tired of interleague
    3. WBC the worst thing Selig has done besides make believe he was unaware nobody was doing Steroids, first of all for a baseball fan after counting down to spring training it is such a bummer to have players you want to see in camp off playing a series that has on meaning and as the Yankees saw with Texiera can cause a season ending injury. I do understand why early spring was picked but it ruins spring training and again could do without. Why fly down to Florida or Arizona and use vacation time when a large percentage of players won’t be there.
    4. To Bud’s credit instant replay has become necessary there have been too many bad calls that have been costly and Armando Galarraga is a perfect example the blown call by Jim Joyce should have been overturned. The guy deserved recognition for a perfect game, it was wrong in that case with all the video proof of the bad call but then again I do believe HD television with slo motion and freeze action and all the camera angles have made blown calls so much more obvious.
    5. Go back to a balanced schedule or as close as you can get (interleague throws a wrench in that) but for a player or team in a weak division it does give them an advantage over a player in a tough division. If you go back and look at the standings there are teams that dominate in their division but not against the other divisions and teams that do well against other divisions but not their own. To this I will not yield if a good player in a weak division but on a strong team is compared against the numbers of a good player who has to face 18 games against strong teams in his division it skews the numbers in favor of the good player in a weak division. On the other hand it gives you two opportunities to see every other team at home.
    I can live with the All-Star game determining home field for the World Series even if as a season ticket holder of a team who makes it to the world series but the losing league it can cost me money in selling World Series tickets I can live with it. Makes the All-Star game mean something. I do believe that a rookie player should have a minimum requirement of games played before they can play in the All-Star game I would give in on that. I do miss the Earl Weavers’, Billy Martins’, and Tommy Lasordas, the colorful managers and players they were always something to look forward to and enjoy, I don’t care if the game runs 2 hours or three, if a game runs long there is a reason 90% of the time that isn’t just delay of game. I think a lot of Bud’s influence was good but I think a lot isn’t and for kids growing up now it isn’t the same game we the older fans grew up with.

    • bassballskillz - Jan 30, 2014 at 12:59 PM

      The WBC has a lot of meaning. Rooting for your country in a baseball tournament of the best players around the world is wonderful and exciting.

      Talk about no meaning, spring training games have no meaning; they are “training” games.

  17. apeville - Jan 30, 2014 at 11:33 AM

    Even with players policing themselves, there are plenty of emotional outbursts and mound charges anyway. You could argue that during manners policeman, B. McCann’s infamous third baseline protest last year- that HE in fact wasn’t controlling HIS emotion.

    • clemente2 - Jan 30, 2014 at 2:14 PM

      Exuberance versus redass.

  18. steelerfan9598 - Feb 4, 2014 at 9:23 PM

    Salary cap

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