Recently, many owners, players, managers, analysts, and fans have been talking about how a 154 game season would help the players stay fresh and healthy come October and in future seasons. However I think that this isn’t the biggest concern facing the MLB in regards to the 162 game season. Instead I think that the biggest threat is the big and mighty NFL and NBA. The NFL typically starts just as the MLB season gets more heated. While the MLB does stand alone during the summer the two most exciting parts of the season are overshadowed. The NBA playoffs take away all the attention from the beginning of the MLB season and the NFL takes away the attention from the end of the season. So why on Earth has the MLB not realized this yet and done something about it?
Today I went onto MLB.com and saw that the two wildcard spots are still hotly contested. The Rays are just one shy of the Red Sox for the Wild Card and the Cardinals are the same distance from the Braves. So why on Earth are barely important week three NFL matchups overshadowing the most exciting part of the MLB regular season? On a night when the MLB was the first American sport to reach 200,000 games why was ESPN instead crowded with meaningless college football news?
Starting in September every year, Saturday and Sunday become my two least favorite days of the week. Despite it being the weekend, during the whole summer I enjoyed MLB’s useless games taking up all of Sportscenter. However keep in mind that even though I would have liked to see baseball more during May and June on ESPN I understood why the NBA playoffs took over during those two months because the playoffs deserve that attention, nevertheless shouldn’t that mean the MLB gets that attention during September and October? So why now when every game truly matters do Sportscenter and espn.com and si.com become crowded with NCAA football and NFL games that won’t matter 3 weeks from now!
The MLB needs to realize this glaring issue ASAP and shorten the season to 154 games by also moving the start date of the season up to mid-March. This will solve two problems: 1. The beginning of the season won’t be overshadowed as much by the NBA. 2. The end of the season won’t have to compete as much with useless football standings that typically turn upside down 3 weeks later.
If the MLB hopes to increase its popularity and increase interest among younger kids they have to make it easier for everyone to watch and enjoy the best parts of the baseball season. The sooner they do this, the bigger chance the MLB has to help kids realize that hitting the game winning home run in the fall classic is much more interesting than a game saving tackle in week 4 that 2 weeks later everyone will forget about. Instead of going down as one of 30 some odd players to make a tackle that day they will go down as the player that saved a team’s season by knocking one over the left field wall.
On another note:
Today I stumbled upon a pretty interesting photo gallery over on si.com. It featured a collection of pictures of rookies getting hazed on various teams. For example the picture shown is from 2006 when now closer for the Giants, Brian Wilson, was in his first year in baseball.This got me thinking, what if all the teams either organized their hazing during one month as in each team would take one day to haze their rookies. That way it would keeps fans attached to the game for thirty days straight. And then I thought, not only does the MLB fight the NFL for attention in September but also it is a thirty day month where many of prospects are called up. Teams could choose whether or not to do it exactly in September due to their playoff races but wouldn’t that be great if a different team hazed their rookies and prospects every day? I think it would be.
To see the gallery use this link: