Tuesday, July 04, 2006

MLB, Time is Running Out

by Jeff Bird

Step right up and watch your baseball at prime time now, because when the playoffs get here you’ll be out of luck. What is it with Major League Baseball? Take your pick, ESPN, Fox Sports, TBS, WGN, you can find a game on and get your baseball fix during the regular season. Championship time rolls around and we get shafted by Major League Baseball. Money talks and television markets rule when playoff time arrives. Playoffs and World Series games don’t even begin until 9:00 or 10:00 pm. Eight months have gone by and watching baseball to one o’clock in the morning is still a sore spot with me.

The real problem here is the loss of our national pastime. MLB, do not complain when the next generation does not attend or watch baseball games. Kids are losing interest in the game of baseball. I have seen it firsthand in our local baseball association. Kids play soccer and baseball, but when it comes to a choice between the two, they choose soccer. Some kids choose Xbox, Playstation or Gameboy as their ‘sport.’

I hear you, where does MLB showing playoffs games late have to do with kids not liking baseball? I believe it's but one factor. The game has turned into a long drawn out boring affair. Day after day check the box scores of games that have lasted four hours or more. No excitement, no anticipation and definitely no strategy. Why is that? Several years ago MLB instructed the umpires to keep the game moving. Keep batters in the box, move the game along. What has happened? It’s worse than ever today. Batters adjust their batting gloves, move the hat, adjust the gloves some more, maybe now let the pitcher pitch the ball. That’s not the baseball I grew up on, Koufax, Gibson, Drysdale, just to name a few kept the game moving. Is it MLB, the pitchers, the batters, or the prima donnas that rule in baseball that have created this long boring game we call baseball?

Baseball was exciting for me growing up in the Midwest. I mentioned Koufax, Gibson, Drysdale, that does date me somewhat. Those days and that kind of baseball are gone, I would hope that MLB gets a handle on the problems of today’s baseball and preserves our national pastime - and I hope that better baseball will lie ahead.

Jeff Bird is a guest columnist and BFT reader

Jeremy Bird's column, "Bird's Eye View", normally appears alternate Tuesdays

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