The topic of realignment in baseball came as a surprise last week. Not because it is a bad idea, in fact it should have been done years ago, but because baseball rarely makes changes to the game. Change isn’t always readily agreed upon by baseball fans and historians. What draws fans to the game is it’s unique connection to the past and knowing that the game being played today is very similar to the game played 100 years ago.
There is, however, one area baseball needs to address, and that’s the way most people watch the game. I don’t mean adding another cup holder to the seats or putting Jumbotron’s the size of football fields into stadiums but changing the product being shown on television or the internet. Baseball is America’s past time but an ever changing society with constant technological advancements has simply passed baseball by and gravitated to more TV friendly sports, such as football and basketball.
Baseball has always been behind the curve when it comes to adapting to technology. In 1999 , the NBA announced they would be starting their own TV network via the internet and by 2003, NBA TV was in 45 million homes. Later that year the NFL launched the NFL Network. It took 5 full years for baseball to respond with a network of its own.
Baseball simply cannot continue to fall behind when it comes to fans being able to access the game. I am currently a subscriber to MLB.TV and it is a tremendous bargain compared to the NFL Sunday Ticket and NBA League Pass. For $130 I can see every out of market MLB game with home and away broadcasts. NBA League Pass is $180 for the season and that’s about half as many games as baseball. NFL Sunday Ticket is usually done through a cable provider that requires signing a contract and the final cost of full access for 17 Sundays works out to over $250.
This is a small advantage to baseball but it can be better. MLB should look into applying the style of the NFL’s RedZone channel into a nightly baseball format. No commercial breaks, no throws to first, no mound visits, just baseball. Show live and taped delayed highlights of the biggest at bats in games and show multiple games at once. Baseball overload. This might not appeal to the baseball purists, “scoring at home,” but in 25 years announcers will be saying, “And that’s a 6-4-3 double play, for those of you tweeting at home.”
The topic of realignment will likely get dragged out for another year or two and people’s defense will likely be that this will somehow change the historical aspect of the game. Maybe all baseball needs to do is change is the way it looks at change and start protecting the future and not the past.
Braves All Star Campaign
Martin Prado – It was a real shame last week that Prado landed on the DL as this likely will cost him any chance at making his second consecutive All Star game. A career .300 hitter, Prado was having a slightly down year at the plate in average but made up for it in other ways. After playing most of his career in the infield, Prado has made a smooth transition to left field and when it seemed just about everybody was either hurt or out of the lineup entirely, Prado was the glue that held this offense together through the first two months of the season. Even if Prado wasn’t placed on the DL he likely would not have received enough votes or been a manager’s selection , but if you ask any Braves fan they will tell you that Martin Prado has been our first half MVP.