Yeah, You’re Trying to Tire Me
Baseball is tired, man. Baseball is ruined, nerds. Is the game I love really that lame? Part of me sympathizes with the Goose when he goes on expletive filled rants starting with, “I’ll tell you what” [note: any time a person starts a sentence with “I’ll tell you what” it will inevitably follow with a nonsensical invective].
But then the other part of me thinks this isn’t just Goose’s league anymore: MLB belongs to a new generation of kids who were raised with the notion that it is perfectly fine to try on a tuxedo and check yourself out in five different mirrors while making a duck face. It’s not perfect, but it’s popular. Sorry Goose, popular cashes checks.
Well, here at the Spitter, we’re all about solutions, not problems. Here’s how MLB and its clubs can “enhance” the game experience to make it appeal to this new generation of over-sharing fans [they aren’t “millenials,” they’re just young people. Millenials are assholes. Not all young people are assholes (I think)]:
- Emphasize player introductions to heighten dramatic situations. Allow me to overshare for a moment: sometimes when I’m working out, I like to put on “Enter Sandman” or “Thunderstruck” and picture myself making a Kenny Powers-esque entrance into the bottom of the 9th inning of Game 7. In this fantasy, I’m also shit-talking some old red-ass like Larry Bowa and telling him his team sucks right before I strike out the side. Everyone knows the best part of WWE’s “RAW” occurs when a wrestler’s music hits and he comes out to smack talk some rival in the ring. There’s no reason MLB can’t encourage that here. I wouldn’t make time for smack talk, but I wouldn’t be upset if a reliever pulled an Ultimate Warrior on his way to the mound.
- Stop with the clocks. The game is about as slow as it’s going to get without fundamentally changing it (terrible idea). MLB needs to accept this. Instead of trying to get people out of your store sooner, focus on getting people to stay. More clocks means more clock-watching and distracts from the game.
- Ditch your one-size-fits-all marketing approach. I LOATHE going to Nationals games on Sundays. Why? Because it’s day care for Mommy and Daddy. Kids sing the National Anthem, kids announce the lineup, all the stupid in-between innings crap is geared toward kids. My favorite time to go? Friday night. No kids, beer specials, and lots of people my age. As much as I hate “Kids Day,” it makes sense because it appeals to an age group that’s developing attachment to sports just like Friday night appeals to a younger crowd looking for a fun night out and maybe a little strange. Now, just don’t bring your children during Miller Lite Happy Hour Fridays and I’ll try not to curse at Little Timmy Dipshit when he screams Sunday’s starting lineup.
- Encourage ex-players to get involved with their teams. I wrote about this earlier in the week: nothing sells better than nostalgia. Having ex-players around commenting on the game and being involved with their clubs (even as glorified cheerleaders) strengthens the connection between fans and the club. And alumni like Gossage actually make the game better. Why? First off, there’s a large proportion of the fan base squarely in Goose’s demographic: those fans actually agree with what he’s saying. Secondly, Goose’s comments create a story, or drive drama: who isn’t hoping Bautista hits a 500-foot home run during his first trip to Yankee Stadium this year and struts around the bases?
- Push for new talent in the booths. There are very few people who make listening or watching a baseball game enjoyable. Off the top of my head there’s Vin, Gary Thorne, Charlie Steiner, Jon Miller, Duane Kuiper, and of course, the Uke. Unfortunately, the rest of the field is mostly a soul-less bunch that doesn’t even really enjoy calling the games. Television and radio broadcasts are the league’s main avenues for attracting fans: why would you insist on using someone who is utterly indistinguishable or just plain shitty? While MLB can’t necessarily force Fox and ESPN’s hand, it might be in their best interest to cultivate some new talent from sources other than the dugout of the 1993 Phillies.
Of course, not everyone will love watching baseball, but maybe if they had a bit more fun while they did it, they wouldn’t be so quick to ditch it. Now Bryce and Goose, how about we settle our differences over some custom suit shopping and Snapchatting?