Chicago Cubs: Shorter game times the aim for MLB
As the season begins for the Chicago Cubs, fans have made it clear that they want less talk and more baseball. Major League Baseball has shortened commercial breaks and mound visits in an attempt to win over the casual fans.
The favorite debate of every true baseball fan out there. Picture the scene, you’re at a local bar watching the game when someone walks in and immediately plants their flag in the “baseball is so boring” territory. Your first instinct is to shoot laser beams through them for disrespecting you.
I’ve had this discussion with many people over the years, many of whom are soccer or football fans. Baseball is misunderstood by those who don’t consume it regularly. It’s not their fault really, baseball is a game of intellect and feeling.
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Outsiders would view the game as slow or anti-climatic, but what they miss are the fine details, the delicate nuances that make this game so beautiful to the rest of us. This is a game of chance and futility. Mental strength can be as decisive as physical strength and those who possess both are immortalized in bronze. The true essence of this game comes from the things you can’t see by looking at a game on tv or watching it in the stands.
Like a game of chess, players and managers are constantly moving pieces and testing boundaries while their opponent does the same. This has never been more perfectly played out than the way Greg Maddux dissected every hitter he faced.
Major League Baseball is attempting to meet the casual fan half way by finding ways to shorten the game. Admittingly, the game was reaching an unacceptable length, so the decision is a good one in the long run. Shorter commercial breaks mean we will get to enjoy the action quicker. The difference is only twenty seconds, but it does add up over time.
Managers and pitching coaches will also be placed on a clock during mound visits. Under the new rule, coaches and players will only have thirty seconds to discuss strategy. I can only wonder why this couldn’t have been in place when Tony La Russa was still managing.
No matter the condition of our surroundings, baseball acts as a time capsule, more than football or basketball can. We associate the game with the highs and lows in our life like the Great Depression or our ability to unite as one after 9/11. We revere guys like Rick Monday, who will be remembered for saving there American Flag from protesters.
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Baseball is doing a fine job of making the game relevant to the new generation. We have become obsessed with instant results which has forced baseball of evolve. The love of the game begins when we are children. Those who don’t care for it probably didn’t play it. Unlike a sport like soccer, which allows players of varying talent levels to compete against one another, baseball has a much larger learning curve. Children will develop at different rates and the fine motor skills needed to hit and throw don’t arrive equally.
The popularity of baseball has given way to the more convenient structure of football. For those like myself, we will continue to love and support the game of baseball, even with the changes that must be made. Going forward, we want the casual fan to know they have a seat at the table.