By Lauren Grimaldi, Editor-in-Chief
It’s no secret that many think baseball is boring. While the sport’s most dedicated fans remain loyal, it could certainly benefit from an update to make it more appealing to a broader base.
For starters, baseball games tend to take much longer than they should. In June 2017, USA Today reported that the average length of a baseball game was just over three hours. While there was only a few minutes difference in comparison to past years, this remains one of the longest averages in recent history. When people say that baseball is boring, they may not necessarily be pointing to the sport itself but rather its tendency to drag on. Luckily, there are many solutions that the MLB and Commissioner Rob Manfred can institute in an attempt to combat this worrying trend.
Let’s begin where it starts. In both Double AA and Triple AAA ball, pitchers are held to a time clock to execute their pitch in a reasonable time frame. This rule will soon be implemented into the majors, despite the chagrin of many of baseball’s best players.
All-Star Andrew Miller, a reliever for the Cleveland Indians, said he’s very much so against the implementation of a pitch clock. However, Miller contended that this isn’t the worst thing that could happen to the game.
While a great majority of pitchers in the MLB do not abuse the current system, the implementation of a time clock could help keep the Pedro Baezs of the league in check. The Dodgers’ relief pitcher has taken an average of 30 seconds in between pitches over the past two years, according to ESPN. Baez is certainly not the only MLB pitcher to seemingly take forever, but the implementation of the time clock would assure that this would no longer be a problem.
More generally speaking, MLB players are striking out at a higher rate than ever. This would certainly alarm fictional Minor Leaguer Crash Davis who famously called the strikeout “boring and fascist” in the widely acclaimed movie “Bull Durham”.
To combat this, many have suggested implementing a larger strike zone in the hope of creating more hits and contact. However, it’s possible that this could backfire in even more controversial calls from home plate umpires in addition to creating the need for hitters to adjust their eyes to a new zone.
The MLB could additionally allow for a strict limitation on the number of pitching changes per inning as well as visits to the mound by the catcher. Both could easily change the game for the better. Specifically, the limitation on pitching changes would certainly give managers more to consider when making bullpen moves increasing the competitiveness of the game for the players and coaches.
Of course, the implementation of all or any of these changes won’t help if the MLB doesn’t begin to market its strikingly amazing players in a more attractive manner as soon as possible. Mike Trout, arguably the best player in all of baseball, gets nowhere near the fame that he deserves. At just 26, the Los Angeles Angels outfielder has already won multiple American League MVP awards, amassed over 1000 hits and achieved a 53.1 wins above replacement rate. Those that don’t follow baseball probably don’t know who Trout is, but they should. If the average person can tell you who Lebron James is even though they don’t watch basketball, the same should be true for Trout and many of baseballs other stars.
From defensive stud Nolan Arenado of the Colorado Rockies or the power hitting rookie in Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees, baseball has already built its league of great superstars. Now, it’s only a matter of getting people to come.