Saturday, October 26, 2013

Kid's Game

I love baseball.  It is a game of skill as much as talent.  There is so much strategy evolved, working a pitcher when you know the bullpen is tired, moving a runner to third base from second with nobody out, pitching around a dangerous hitter even with the game on the line.  It is a team game made up of individual battles throughout.  It is a beautiful game!  The problem is that you have to know the game to appreciate its beauty, and the way you get to know the game is to be exposed to the game, and herein lies my concern.

A few years ago, I think it was, FOX was bringing a new moving camera to baseball that would allow better camera angles during the playoffs.  I was selected to be part of the test group in Atlanta to see if it affected the gameplay.  We played a simulated game before our playoff series to see if the camera bothered the hitter, pitcher or fielder.  Once the game was over, and we said it was not that big of a distraction, one of the producers bragged like a proud papa about how this camera would bring in the younger fan to watch more baseball.  I responded not so lovingly, that it would help the younger fan watch the playoffs if start times where actually before his or her bed time on the east coast.  Needless to say the producer explained profits, advertising dollars, prime time etc. to me.  I then went on to argue his point with the counter point of short sighted gain verses the long term gain of exposing kids to baseball.

With this as my viewpoint, I was so encouraged this year with the amount of day games in the early playoff rounds, but the early playoff rounds are not our crown jewel.  Talk to an old timer about watching the World Series as a kid.  There's usually a story about a teacher who snuck a TV into the classroom, or a dad who let a kid skip school after lunch to watch a game.  Baseball was a big deal!  And it can be again.  I never want to be known as one to point out problems just for the sake of whining, so here (for what it's worth) are my ideas to addict a new generation to baseball.

1.  Day Games: One day game per city in the ALCS, NLCS, and World Series.  The game time would be a LOCAL time.  Present the product to local kids.  Give them a sense of 'our team.'  If the Dodgers play a 4 p.m. game in California, and my kids in Florida have to get to bed before it's over that's not a big deal, as long as the Rays game started no later than 4 p.m. EST.

2.  Floating Schedule and less off days:  Having hard dates that World Series starts is frustrating.  When the teams are set, let's get playing!  Let's not let baseball leave the national conscience for five days at a time right before our biggest stage.  Also, having a day off to travel west is not that big of a deal for players.  (I totally understand one coming east).  Both of these would have eliminated what happened Friday October 25.  Friday is obviously not a school night.  Kids can stay up late.  Sportswise on television, with all due respect to Boise State and BYU, there is nothing to compete with like college football on Saturday and NFL on Sunday.  There should never again be a World Series without a Friday night game.

3.  Destination Series: This point is more of a 'blow the whole thing up' and shoot for the moon.  Pick cities that love baseball, all of ba
seball, New York, San Francisco, St. Louis, Boston, etc.  The Super Bowl doesn't usually have a home team.  The World Baseball Classic has proven to me this could work for baseball.  Keep it a best of seven series.  Do it all in eight days.  In my very flawed plan it would start with a split double header on Saturday, and continue with a game on Sunday evening.  Monday would be a day of rest.  Tuesday and Wednesday would have single games, and in a dream world there would be a game six on Friday night, and game seven on Saturday.

I know, I'm no expert, but once in a while one of my crazy ideas works...What do you think?  Sound off on my twitter @diazfoundation

1 comment:

  1. Love the thoughts and passion. I just got a big dose of this tonight when I tossed to my son Jack tonight. Believe it or not it was the first time I have ever actually pitched to him. He has been in tee ball for a year and a half so far. I always thought coach off a tee until he was ready.......Well he crushed the ball for a kiddo his size. And a lefter to boot. Lol. I am all in favor for a more kid friendly baseball schedule. Im afraid my son might end up being a cubs fan. Lol. I think a double header to start the world series would see a bunch of criticism about tired athletes but you would know the true amount of "fuel in the tank" after game one of a DH. Very interesting though. Good chatting bud.
    Will D.