First of all I want to thank you for taking the time to read this letter. With the 2011 World Series just hours away from starting, I wanted to discuss with you some ideas I had to improve baseball. I have done my best here to be as accurate as possible. I know that I am a “Rotoexpert”, but I would like to think that qualifies me to address this situation.
It has become clear over the last decade that baseball has lost many of its fans to the NFL. Even the six month lockout wasn’t able to dethrone the NFL from its perch as we saw close to 60 million viewers watching the Packers-Saints Thursday night opening game. That number is more than attend baseball games over a five year period! It brings up the question–what are we going to do to make baseball more relevant?
Now, Bud I need to give you some credit. You pushed for inter-league play which has helped to bring a few more fans to the games. You have also figured out a way to make the All-Star game infinitely more interesting that ever before. Between the Home Run Derby and having the final outcome of the All-Star game mean something, baseball’s All-Star game is very relevant. However, the major problem as I see it is that the season is way too long. We live in a sound bite society. People want highlights and mobile apps to watch games. People do not have the same ability to concentrate on a 162 game season. Call it ADHD, call it whatever you like, but people are tuning out much earlier than ever before. Let’s get those people back, Bud!
If you don’t believe me, check the attendance at many of the stadiums around major league baseball. The Florida Marlins drew 347 people to a 1:00PM start against the Cincinnati Reds earlier this year. By the way, who was the genius who came up with that starting time? Kids are in school, parents work, etc. Were you hoping that some of the people in old age homes were going to show up for that one?
But I digress. I would like to avoid retraction for as long as possible. The Union would never go for it and it would cost too many people jobs (not good in these uncertain economic times). So the best thing we can do is cut some of the games played. Here’s my idea: If each team plays two home and home series within its division (12 games) and then one home and home series with every other team in its league (6 games), that would give teams 114 games. Then teams would play a home and home series with one division in the other league (another 30 games). This would bring each team to 144 games played (or thereabouts) per season. If we cut the season to 144 games, we could start baseball around April 15th (to avoid the incredibly cold days with rain/snow in the beginning of the season) and then we could also end baseball sometime in mid-September. The real key to this is to start the World Series in the very beginning of October and be done by mid-October the latest.
This is very important, Bud, because as it stands now you are playing Game-1 of the 2011 World Series in St. Louis where the playing conditions tonight will be this:
Breezy. Mostly cloudy with a 40 percent chance of rain. Low in the lower 40s. Northwest wind 15 to 20 mph with gusts to around 30 mph.
It also stands to reason that teams play in the warm weather all season long, but when the playoffs come around, temperatures are in the 40′s and 50′s instead of the 80′s. Does this make sense to you? How would you like to be a fan sitting in the stands for a seven game series in 40 degree temperature each evening? Thankfully the American League games are in Arlington, TX. Had the games been in Detroit, MI perhaps you would have figured this out yourself and I would have to be writing this. And frankly you lucked out with the National League team being St. Louis and having the weather only in the low 40′s. Game 1 could have been playing in Milwaukee, WI tonight where people are already brushing off their ice fishing gear! Mid-October in Wisconsin is for the Packers and the Badgers, not the Brewers.
And now for perhaps my biggest argument, it seems as if baseball has lost the children. Going to a game is no longer what it used to be. Tickets are expensive (see Yankee Stadium) and people are watching games on TV now more than ever. How can we expect children who are in school to watch playoff games in October when all the games are in the evening? How about putting all the weekend games in the afternoons so children can see their heroes play live? We are losing the kids, Bud. They are the future ticket payers for your sport!
Bud, I am sure that while you are reading this letter you are thinking of the various reasons why I am wrong in my analysis. If I am, it clearly comes down to one word–money. It would cost too much for some of my suggestions to take place. I beg you not to be myopic here. I am trying to improve and save the game of baseball–not ruin it!
I thank you for your time and your attention to this very important matter. If you would like to discuss this further, please reach out to me at [email protected]. I will wait patiently for your response.
RotoExpert and Baseball Enthusiast
The Sunday morning host of ESPN’s @ RotoExperts Fantasy Football GameDay, Dr. Roto is a Fantasy Sports Writer & On Air Personality. A subject of a UPN newscast for guiding numerous Fantasy Sports participants to league titles, Dr. Roto has answered over 10,000 Fantasy MLB, NFL and NBA questions over the past two decades. You can also listen to Dr. Roto on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio with Scott Engel and the morning crew every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, at 10am ET. You may email Dr. Roto directly @ [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @DrRoto