Major League Baseball is finally trying to figure out ways to improve the game. It’s no small feat, with a good portion of the game’s fans being purists. In reality, though, baseball is riddled with change. The mound has been lowered before, then there’s the DH, not to mention the Wild Card system. Times change and the game has to on occasion too.
Now more than ever, it seems like baseball is in danger of becoming like the NHL: a league that has a consistent fan base but doesn’t grow like the NBA or NFL. That’s not to say the NHL puts on a bad product, far from it. (It’s another issue for another day.)
Baseball has never been that. Forget the antiquated “it’s America’s pastime” nonsense. It’s always been an entertaining product and should be even more now with guys hitting missiles again and pitchers throwing harder than ever.
So why is there a problem?
The fact there’s no clock does pose some form of a problem, only because the games take three hours now. Adding in a pitch clock may have an effect on the tempo, but how much time will it cut down? Maybe five, 10 minutes? This is a prime example of “fake hustle.” Sure, the move will make a tiny difference, but nowhere near enough.
Major League Baseball games could absolutely afford to be quicker, but ask yourself this: when did you last hear a football fan complain about the length of a Sunday game? That’s because they only play so often. It’s an event.
That’s not to say baseball should be played once a week. That’d be ludicrous. But cutting the schedule down would almost certainly help. The tidal wave that is the Major League Baseball season is unrelenting. One way to help establish a greater demand is to control the supply.
Cut down the regular season by 10-20 games, keep the game itself the same for the most part and bump up the postseason to avoid as much crossover with the NFL.
Yes, that could impact players who are chasing down records, but again, the length of the MLB schedule has changed on more than one occasion throughout the game’s history. Rob Manfred always claims to have the game’s best interest in mind. Well, this would be the way to show it.