In the War Room with Warfel: Put some respect on the MLB

By Adam Warfel, Sports Editor

The MLB regular season is coming to a close, with the last official day being Sept. 29.

People across the nation say baseball is a dying sport, that the younger generation has no interest in watching a game and an average game this season takes just over three hours.

Let me say this for people who think baseball is boring: the issue with baseball and growing its popularity is not pace of play.

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When I was younger, going to baseball games, did I think the games were long? Of course.

But ask any six-year-old to sit through any sporting event, and they will have to get up at least once during the game just to use the bathroom.

Look to the NBA, on the other hand, which many “experts” say is a growing sport globally, and their games are just over two hours long.

You ask any person that does not like the NBA why they don’t watch it, and they will rarely say it is due to the length of the game.

What makes the NBA a growing sport over the MLB is the fact that they market their stars better.

If you ask any casual sports fans to name the three best players in all of the NBA, I’m convinced most people would be able to name at least three players.

On the other hand, if I were to ask a casual sports fans to name three players in the MLB, I would be lucky to hear them name Mike Trout and Chritian Yelich.

Trout and Yelich are arguably the best players in their respective leagues, the American and National league that is.

I would define a casual sports fan as someone who watches an occasional game in any professional American sport.

Baseball used to be America’s favorite national pastime, but now most would say football probably is.

Is the NFL really that much more exciting than the average MLB game? Think about it.

Yes, Patrick Mahomes can make no look passes, and Tom Brady continues to tell Father Time he can out-pass him, but there are storylines within baseball this year, too.

What about the fact that the MLB broke the record for home runs in a season this year with 6,436 and counting still?

Then, there is the Milwaukee Brewers who lost their star player Yelich on Sept. 11, yet have won eight of their last 10 games to vault themselves into playoff contention.

These are storylines you don’t hear about, even as a baseball fan. Only if you are a serious follower of your team do you see such news.

I’ve asked people why they choose the NFL over the MLB, and most fans said because there is always action.

But in all the NFL games I’ve watched — and yes I watched the Los Angeles Rams defeat the Kansas City Chiefs 54-51 last year — the game still only comes down to two to three plays.

People who fall asleep to baseball also argue the season is too long, with 162 games stretching from the end of March to the end of September.

The NFL has 16 games, and the NBA has 82 games.

The fact that baseball has a 162-game schedule makes it special, though; the team you see playing well will not be playing the same kind of baseball in September.

The long season is part of what makes baseball fun, not what drags it down, because it gives each fanbase hope that even if they have a bad month, they can still claim their division crown.

One bad month in the NBA and the NFL would potentially ruin your team’s chances of making the playoffs.

The MLB also needs to be better at creating an environment where whole families can come and watch a game for an affordable price.

There is no reason it should cost a family of five more than $100 to attend an MLB game.

Make special discounts for families and reduce concession prices, as well as making parking more affordable.

If the MLB can market their star players and market better to families, they will then be able to compete with the likes of the NFL and the NBA when it comes to attendance and ratings on television.

There is so much more to baseball than just a score; there are players who are real people who have stories to tell.

Once the MLB embraces the idea of letting the players show their personalities without finding them or suspending them, more fans will tune in.

For baseball, it is not a pace of play issue; it is a failure by the commissioner and the general managers to market more than just a team, but the people on the team.

Adam Warfel, Sports Editor, can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @warfel_adam.

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