March 08, 2012

Playoffs? You’re Talking About Playoffs?

With getting an extra hour of daylight starting this weekend and MLB camps in full swing, we’re ALL getting pumped about the Braves 2012 campaign.  So what better time to talk about the playoffs (insert Jim Mora voice here)?  I know it’s a few months away, but never too early, right?  Bud and the boys have decided to tweak the old 2011 playoff system and add a 5th team to the mix.  I love it.  Not just kinda love it.  This is the “I don’t just like you, I LIKE LIKE you” kinda love.  The new playoff format comes at a time where the tide may be turning in American sports and especially with youth sports.  Baseball has an opportunity to regain the top spot in the USA.  The new playoff format can get ALL of us excited to love baseball again.  Love of baseball begins at a young age and there’s two ways that love grows.  By having parents that love the game AND participating in the game as a kid. Right now, there’s no better time to play baseball.  Let me explain.
There’s been a mood in America about sports in the last 10 years or so.  Not with the hard core fans of any sport, but Americans in general.  More specifically, parents of children playing sports.  Even more specifically, people we call “Helicopter Parents”.  Helicopter Parents (we’ll call them HPs) are parents of kids that hover over them like a helicopter.  They don’t let them eat certain things, read certain books, engage in certain activities or play certain sports.  When I was younger, playing on things like the monkey bars was just something you did.  And yea, one kid every year broke something.  HPs don’t live in the world of monkey bars.  Well…they do if the monkey bars have “non-slip” covering on the bars, safety handles on both sides, a 4 inch super soft padding underneath and the monkey bars are 3 feet of the ground.  But other than that, they’ve super cool with monkey bars.
The point is, safety has become priority #1.  And for good reason.  Some changes in kid’s sports make total sense.  Facemasks on little league helmets, no “blitzing” in little tikes football, no kicking above the waist in kid’s soccer.  But some parents are SO scared about their child getting hurt, they don’t allow participation at all.  Football, by nature, is a violent sport.  Basketball is a bit more physical in nature than most people think.  NASCAR is cool, but there are two problems with auto racing.  One…those cars go really, really fast and two…6 year olds can’t drive.  Soccer is fine to allow kids to run around like crazy and get them tired before nap time, but come on.  I’ve heard how soccer is going to sweep America to become our #1 sport for about 30 years now.  Not happening.
And THAT my friends in where baseball comes in.  The new playoff format GUARANTEES excitement.  It puts the excitement of pennant races back into August and September.  It allows for 2 more cities to engage in the MLB season for the entire season.  AND, most importantly, it will give America the most dramatic single day in sports.  The Wildcard playoff day!  I know, March Madness is great.  But I’m a bit more pumped to see two aces go against an all out roster flush of batters to decide who MIGHT go to the World Series than seeing Austin Peay get crushed by Duke, 92-35.
Baseball has it “all going on” right now.  It’s a macho sport, but not overflowing with testosterone (sorry, Ryan Braun) like football or arm wrestling.  It allows for a minimum of 9 players to participate at one time, unlike basketball’s starting five.  Both boys and girls can play at a young age, unlike NASCAR or Beer Pong.  Baseball is uniquely American, unlike soccer.  And it allows for individual achievement (hitting) and team participation (fielding), unlike Communism.   MLB’s playoff format now gives us more time throughout the season to engage our kids about baseball.  To excite them about the day to day of following your (and their) favorite team.  To watch the single most intense day of sports they’ll see throughout the year on Wildcard Day.  To enhance their knowledge of baseball from what they learned by playing it with their friends.  And it allows those HPs to sit back, relax and actually enjoy their kids…not hover over them.



3 Responses to “Playoffs? You’re Talking About Playoffs?”

  1. 1
    Walker Says:

    I hope you are right. But it’s hard to see football losing the number 1 spot. Football is made for Americans. It’s a game where you don’t have to think much and see men get the sh*t knocked out of them.

  2. 2
    ChristopherInVa Says:

    I have always been a fan of sports, be it football, basketball or baseball but I have to admit that since the birth of my wonderful son I have really begun to cultivate my love of baseball! There are few things that I enjoy more than spending time with him playing catch or watching a game on television or at the ballpark. I hope other parents take the time to enjoy baseball for what it truly is and has always been….our national passtime.

  3. 3
    Walker Says:

    Baseball has been losing fans because you actually have to think when watching the game. And I mean constantly think. Who’s on first? How fast are they. Is he throwing a slider or fastball? What count is it? Should they hit and run? Football however doesn’t take much thinking by the average fan. I will say however that NFL head coaches have the hardest jobs in sports.

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