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How to make baseball more interesting

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Just now, wildbillhiccup said:

Swap that game out with Strat-o-Matic and I'm on board (literally). 

This was a favorite of mine back in the day, pretty lame compared to today's stuff:

2672967_knTTHv3TIxnRjZGdPJtzhqL1j_Cd4yWJ

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Just now, LookitsPuck said:

How to make baseball more interesting:

The Orioles need to start winning again.

The end.

The Orioles could win 125 games, and not put the youngsters into the seats.

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3 hours ago, Roll Tide said:

Break the union and fix the financial system so that the playing field is level.

It's not the union that enforces a system that results in the Yanks having five times the revenues of the Rays.  I think the union would be just fine with $10B in revenues split into 30 equal pots instead of some with $500M+ and some with about $100M.  For that you can blame 100+ year old territorial rights, and allowing teams to negotiate their own local media deals and not really share the proceeds.

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16 minutes ago, Redskins Rick said:

The Orioles could win 125 games, and not put the youngsters into the seats.

You think that if the Orioles were the best team in baseball history the kids still wouldn't come out?  Soccer is great and all, but some of the kids would come back to baseball if they're playing .770 ball.

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Just now, DrungoHazewood said:

You think that if the Orioles were the best team in baseball history the kids still wouldn't come out?  Soccer is great and all, but some of the kids would come back to baseball if they're playing .770 ball.

They arent even playing the game in rec leagues these days, they have zero interest in baseball.

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2 minutes ago, Redskins Rick said:

They arent even playing the game in rec leagues these days, they have zero interest in baseball.

I know quite a few kids that play Little League.  My youngest played T-ball, my older boy played a couple years of Little League.  They've both playing soccer now, but that's in part because they're just better at it compared to their peers.  In Southern Maryland the youth baseball leagues appear to be doing pretty well - lots of teams, good participation.

I think all youth sports are down in total players, but that's partly because of the same effects as TV: splintering of the market.  There's just more stuff to do.

Which isn't to suggest that baseball doesn't have a problem.  It has for a while.  It was the sport of the older generation 30 or 40 years ago, and they've not done a whole lot to change that.  If they even can.  Nothing is worse than a 54-year-old telling the youths that what they like isn't nearly as cool as what he likes.

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Personally, I would love it it games were closer to 2.5 hours than 3.  However, being in my mid-30s, I don't really have any firm memories of games being that short.

In 1991, the average length of a game was 2:54. This year it was 3:04.  In the last 25 years the average baseball game has been 3 hours, plus or minus about 8 minutes.

From the 50s through the end of the 70s it was very similar, games were right on 2:30.  The big jump in game length came from in the decade and a half from about '77 to '91.

I'd love to buy into the length of game/pace-of-play arguments as it points to something that can be fundamentally tweaked about the game to draw fans back in, but I'm not 100% convinced.  Baseball was plenty popular in the 90s when games were just about as long and strikeouts, walks, and HRs were increasing.  I'm probably a product of my upbringing, but I actually find all those things super interesting parts of the game.  I literally can't remember a time without them.  My 2 cents.


Edit to say I agree with Drungo, I suspect baseball might just be finding a new normal engagement level.

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Just now, DrungoHazewood said:

I know quite a few kids that play Little League.  My youngest played T-ball, my older boy played a couple years of Little League.  They've both playing soccer now, but that's in part because they're just better at it compared to their peers.  In Southern Maryland the youth baseball leagues appear to be doing pretty well - lots of teams, good participation.

I think all youth sports are down in total players, but that's partly because of the same effects as TV: splintering of the market.  There's just more stuff to do.

Which isn't to suggest that baseball doesn't have a problem.  It has for a while.  It was the sport of the older generation 30 or 40 years ago, and they've not done a whole lot to change that.  If they even can.  Nothing is worse than a 54-year-old telling the youths that what they like isn't nearly as cool as what he likes.

Sorry, I wasn't clear in my post. I know, not all kids are not playing baseball, just the popularity is lacking.

My own grandkids are not interested. Of course, paying $125 for each to play, is on hard on some parents, but I even offered to fund, and they were still not interested.

 

 

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6 minutes ago, SurhoffRules said:

Personally, I would love it it games were closer to 2.5 hours than 3.  However, being in my mid-30s, I don't really have any firm memories of games being that short.

In 1991, the average length of a game was 2:54. This year it was 3:04.  In the last 25 years the average baseball game has been 3 hours, plus or minus about 8 minutes.

From the 50s through the end of the 70s it was very similar, games were right on 2:30.  The big jump in game length came from in the decade and a half from about '77 to '91.

I'd love to buy into the length of game/pace-of-play arguments as it points to something that can be fundamentally tweaked about the game to draw fans back in, but I'm not 100% convinced.  Baseball was plenty popular in the 90s when games were just about as long and strikeouts, walks, and HRs were increasing.  I'm probably a product of my upbringing, but I actually find all those things super interesting parts of the game.  I literally can't remember a time without them.  My 2 cents.


Edit to say I agree with Drungo, I suspect baseball might just be finding a new normal engagement level.

In 1920 the average game was right around 2:00.  So all that talk of the golden eras of Ruth and Grove and Mantle... you were in and out in two hours, three on the outside.  In Ruth's time there basically wasn't retirement, these weren't geriatric folks in the stands reminiscing about their youth, it was folks who had to get off from work.  What do you think attendance would have been like at a 1933 St. Louis Browns game if there was a good chance it was going to last 4+ hours?  18 people might have shown up.

I'm pretty sure my kids, aged 11 and 10, have never seen the 9th inning of a weekday night baseball game.  The 7th inning is past their bedtime.  The 9th is past my bedtime.

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2 minutes ago, DrungoHazewood said:

I'm pretty sure my kids, aged 11 and 10, have never seen the 9th inning of a weekday night baseball game.  The 7th inning is past their bedtime.  The 9th is past my bedtime.

On a purely personal level, I would be absolutely thrilled if they pushed game starts to 6:30.

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10 minutes ago, Redskins Rick said:

Sorry, I wasn't clear in my post. I know, not all kids are not playing baseball, just the popularity is lacking.

My own grandkids are not interested. Of course, paying $125 for each to play, is on hard on some parents, but I even offered to fund, and they were still not interested.

 

 

In 1950 baseball had been established as a professional team sport for 80 years.  Football was about where baseball was in 1900, Basketball still in it's 19th century baseball phase, hockey was played in about 4-5 cities, and soccer was 3000 miles away.  TV was just becoming a thing, 500 channels was 40 years off, the internet was also 40+ years off.  It's no wonder everyone was into baseball.

Many people still like baseball, probably more than ever.  But it's 10% of the population instead of 50%.  That's just the way it's going to be, baseball needs to do things to grow the game in that context.

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2 minutes ago, SurhoffRules said:

On a purely personal level, I would be absolutely thrilled if they pushed game starts to 6:30.

I'm good with 7:05 if a game lasted 2:00.  But that would require implementation and enforcement of new rules, which baseball is loathe to do.

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3 minutes ago, SurhoffRules said:

On a purely personal level, I would be absolutely thrilled if they pushed game starts to 6:30.

I hear you, on the other hand, guys coming out of NoVa have trouble even with the 7:05 game time.

@Frobby

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8 minutes ago, DrungoHazewood said:

I'm good with 7:05 if a game lasted 2:00.  But that would require implementation and enforcement of new rules, which baseball is loathe to do.

I just don't see the game contracting by 30 minutes, let alone an hour. At about 6 minutes an inning, almost 1/3 of the broadcast is made up of commercials/pitching changes anyway, which MLB could do something about, but probably isn't going to.  You're point about times changing is well met, I don't think having games end at or after 10 pm works these days. If they can't shorten the game, they should find other ways to adjust the product.

I know there are folks that would have trouble getting off work for first pitch, but attendance is down in general and more and more revenue is coming from the TV/Internet market. I wonder how much turnstyle sales would drop adjusting the start time a bit forward and if it would draw in more viewers. Shrug, just a musing.

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