The Sandlot. Rookie of the Year. The movie with Matt LeBlanc where a monkey pitches. These are the greatest things that have come from America’s past time. The sport, itself? Ehh…I’d rather watch paint dry, even during the World Series.
“How dare you Zach! Baseball is what America is all about! It’s the greatest sport of all time!” Yeah, yeah, yeah. I’ve heard it all and I 100% completely disagree with all of you. You watch it because you were raised to watch it and thus you think it’s a good sport. In actuality, it stinks and changes need to take place to save what has been deemed, America’s pastime.
Stick with me here diehard baseball fans. Nothing will change your love of baseball but don’t tell me, after reading this thoroughly, that baseball shouldn’t change. Why do I hate baseball? 10 reasons.
- Too many games – 162 games? Are you serious? No other sport even comes close! The next closest of the 5 major sports in the US isn’t even half that number. 10 game losing streaks don’t mean that much over the span of 162 games, does it? 10 straight losses mean nothing and thus 10 straight wins also don’t mean much! Who cares to watch a game that doesn’t have a big impact on the season? Having so many games also means the best players may only play a handful of those games, mainly amongst pitchers who need to rest their arms. Who wants to go to a game where your favorite player doesn’t even play? The two starting pitchers during the World Series, Jake Arrieta (Cubs) and Corey Kluber (Indians) each played 31 and 32 games respectively during the regular season. If you went to 5 random games throughout the season, you may only see your favorite pitcher one time. They don’t even finish the game! That’s stupid as fuck. I`m sorry, I shouldn’t curse on here. That’s stupid as phuck. Cut the games and we get more impactful regular season games as well as being able see more of our favorite players during those games.
- It’s a one on one sport – Sure, you have a whole team but it’s really just between the pitcher and the batter the majority of the time. Think about it. The only other time a player does anything besides the pitcher and the batter (the catcher doesn’t count unless there’s a weird error by the catcher, himself) is if the ball is struck. According to Baseball-reference.com, The all-time MLB hitting average is between .260 and .275. That means the other players on the field don’t even have to move approximately ¾ of the time. When the ball is struck, a foul or a homerun also results in the other players having nothing to do with the play. Even when the ball is hit, if it is caught resulting in an out, only one other player impacts the play. That means that the only time more than 2 players on a team, besides the catcher, has any impact on a play is when a ball is hit and is neither a foul, a homerun, or an immediate out. Doesn’t sound like much of a team sport to me.
- A perfect game is boring – The greatest achievement for a pitcher is to pitch a perfect game. This occurs when not one opposing player gets on base in any way. This has only occurred in 23 games in over 210,000 total MLB games since its inception. It’s a rare feat and one to be celebrated except…it’s boring! A perfect game means no one went to base! No hits! No walks! Nothing! It’s exciting for the last few innings to see if it happens but the rest of the game sucks.
- There is no “final play” – We’ve all experienced it before. Bottom of the 9th. Two outs. Full count. Final play. Pitch comes and it’s hit! Foul ball. Another pitch! He swings! Foul ball. Foul ball. Foul ball. You can hit foul balls forever. Because of this silliness, there is no definitive final play. The final play can last 10 plays consisting of boring foul balls. Hey MLB, why don’t you make 3 foul balls equal a strike no matter what? How exciting that would be!
- Too much time between pitches – According to David Appelman of Fangraphs.com, the average time between pitches is about 21.5 seconds. You remember those foul balls? How about 21.5 seconds between 4 of them? Throw in some balls (hehe) and you have more game stoppage than in football. Why not have a pitch clock of 10-14 seconds? Speed this shit up!
- No salary cap – Why not? Seriously. There is no reason to not have a salary cap. It’s what keeps the big markets (New York Yankees) from having a competitive advantage than the smaller markets (Milwaukee Brewers). Where would you rather play if money was the same? Easy question, right? But what if the Yankees could only pay $20m thanks to the cap and the Brewers could pay you $40m? It’d balance the markets so the New Yorks and Chicagos don’t attract every free agent they want regardless of money. C’mon MLB. You’re the lone sport with no cap. Stop being weird.
- All-Star break – The MLB All-Star break consists of the futures game, the home run derby, and the All-star game. My issues don’t lie with any of these competitions. It lies with the lack of originality throughout the years to add to those events. The MLB should take a look at the NBA and follow suit. Besides the typical all-star games, the NBA has 4 different skills competitions, not just 1. Homeruns are fun but is that really the only skill in baseball? To hit a ball really far? How about a pitching accuracy competition? A catching competition when balls come flying in at different angles for 30 seconds? A throwing competition for speed and accuracy? Spice up the all-star weekend and show us all of the all-stars, not just the guys who focus on power hitting fastballs.
- Bunting – Strategy? I say cowardly. I thought we were watching to see someone hit the ball? This isn’t a hit, it’s a ricochet. It’s a lame duck. Bunting should be abolished. Hit the damn ball.
- Intentional Walks – More cowardly strategies. The opposing team’s best player comes up to bat. This is the most exciting player in the game. All of the fans want to watch him. Intentional walk. Strategy? Hah! Way to make the game even more boring than it already is. The best batters don’t even bat! WTF baseball!
- MLB Draft – What’s 40 rounds times 30 teams? 1200 players drafted every year. Wait, what? 1200!?!? An active MLB roster consists of only 25 players per team meaning 750 active players in the entire league at one time. What’s the point of an MLB draft if the drafted players don’t even play on the active roster? According to Mike Rosembaum of Bleacher Report, only 66% of round one picks ever play on an active roster. Players drafted in rounds 6-10 only have a 20% chance of ever playing. Don’t give me that minor leagues crap. No one cares about them. Why should a major league team draft 40 players a year? Isn’t the point of the draft is to add talent to an active MLB roster? Cut the draft to 10 rounds and it’d still be too many rounds! Can someone explain this to me?
How many of those listed above do you disagree with? Do you love intentional walks? Bunting? 162 games? Foul balls? If you weren’t raised to love baseball, it’s pretty easy to see why baseball isn’t as popular as it used to be. Can baseball be changed? Of course! Cut out half of the games. Make 3 straight foul balls a strike. Shorten the time between pitches. Impose a salary cap. Add more skills competitions to the all-star break. Abolish bunting and intentional walks. Change the MLB draft to only add players to major league rosters.
Will these changes fix baseball? I don’t know, but damn, it sure would attract those who find the sport to be dull, boring, and outdated. Sports are meant to be exciting and interesting. Do yourself a favor MLB. Make some changes. If you don’t, America’s pastime could turn into America’s extinction.