Major league baseball has had trouble getting consistent viewership over the past two years. In the 2020 world series, games 1-6 all had the lowest viewership of any game 1-6. The lowest viewed game 7 was from 2019. This leads to the question of what can the MLB do the save their sport.
ump accountability/robo umps
There have been many baseball games won and lost because of poor umpires. Unlike the players, umps don’t need to speak on poor nights. However, if umpires faced repercussions for poor games fans would be a lot more confident in the umpires. Baseball fan and CHS alumni Zac Mocci agrees saying “I do think some of them should be held accountable like Angel Hernandez for terrible games.” However, some fans believe this isn’t enough. Robo umps have been tested in the minor leagues. Right now they’re being used to help the home plate umpire call balls and strikes. However, some question how far this technology could go. Could umpires be dealt away with all together? Personally, I believe a home plate umpire with a robot helping and the rest of the umpires already having replay review to help get the call right would be best for baseball.
Decreasing game time
A criticism of baseball has been its long game times. MLB is trying to make the game shorter. They’ve made a bunch of little rules that have improved the pace and flow of the game. However, one rule has split the baseball fanbase. In 2020, MLB debuted a rule that in an extra innings game a runner will start on 2nd. This rule was unpopular but understandable due to the pandemic. However, this rule has been kept for the 2021 season which has upset some fans. Baseball fan and CHS senior Nick Parry agrees, calling it “the worst rule in baseball”. MLB should fix their mistake and let games play out normally.
The shift has been a hotly debated subject in baseball. Infielders in the outfield has become a common theme. The minor leagues are experimenting with a rule which keeps all the infielders in the infield. Baseball fan and CHS alumni Brandon Wassermann agrees with the idea of limiting shifts, saying “limit it, its frustrating to watch sometimes.” However, some fans have gone as far as to want the shift gone entirely. I disagree with this because banning shifting is basically like banning all defensive schemes in basketball. In basketball some types of defense that is illegal. Banning some of these extreme shifts seems like a good idea.
Many people believe baseball games are too slow paced. MLB has been expiermenting with pace of play rules in both the majors and minors. One of these is the pitch clock. The pitch clock is suppose to limit the amount of time between pitches. Some fans aren’t too big on this. One of them is CHS senior Jimmy Hopke, saying “Pitchers need to take time in between pitches.” Something I believe gets overlooked sometimes is the player perspective. Pace of play rules are a good idea but something like pitch clocks changes the game too much for the players. Keeping the pitch clock in the minor may be good so that once they come up they may be used to pitching at a steady pace.
MLB needs to make these key changes in order to survive and adapt as a league. They have to make sure the league is able to accommodate to the fans and the players. hopefully MLB will be able to survive and thrive for a very very long time.