Take me out to the ballgame. Opening week of Major League Baseball has come and gone, and baseball is back! As I spent Opening Day yelling at the TV as my Cleveland Indians got down early, I had to remind myself that 1. There are 161 more of these games before I can really rationalize this behavior, 2. There is some things baseball needs to fix and 3. There is a lot of young talent ready to take the sport over.
Now I will admit that I am a pretty traditional guy when it comes to baseball. I hate the new intentional walk rule. I understand that 99% of the time the pitcher throws all 4 pitches and nothing happens, but what about the 1% chance when a guy gets a hit? Or even when a wild pitch happens and a run scores, like it did in the World Series with Jason Kipnis scoring from second base? That can drastically change the outcome of the game. Yeah it may take an extra minute or so, and more than likely nothing will happen, but I am taking that chance because when something does happen it’s very exciting. I also think that the instant replay rule should be revisited and decide what is and isn’t reviewable. With other sports (NFL, NBA) it is clearly stated what can and cannot be reviewed. Yes I think checking to see if a ball left the ballpark on a homerun, or a judgment call on whether a runner beat it out at first or was tagged at home should be reviewable. BUT I absolutely hate the guy who steals second and is clearly safe, beats the ball there and everything, and then they decide to challenge it where the super slow motion frame by frame technology that we have shows that in one single frame for probably less than .05 seconds his momentum carried him off the bag and his hand had gone through and the foot is off by a quarter of an inch. There is NO WAY any human being could see this in real time. This just adds more time to the game, which everyone claims is the problem. Define what is reviewable, and don’t abuse the fact that it is in the game. Use it the right way.
I don’t believe in shortening the length of the game or the season, but I do think that Bryce Harper was on to something when he had his “Make Baseball Fun Again” campaign last year. Baseball may be dying to everyone stuck in the post Jeter, Big Papi, Chipper Jones, and more era but there is a very fun group of young studs ready to take this world by storm. Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, Kris Bryant, Francisco Lindor, Corey Seager, and more are all young superstars in the making. Mike Trout is already a sure fire hall of famer, Bryce Harper has been the “generational talent” by being on Sports Illustrated at 16, Kris Bryant and Corey Seager are two perennial All-Stars in the making playing in major markets and Francisco Lindor may have the most contagious smile on the planet and now is New Balance’s face of baseball. They all make baseball fun to watch. They all have fun playing. They play with emotion, they play with passion, and they all are under the age of 26. The World Series featured 2 teams with the best players on the field (Lindor, Bryant, Schwarber) all under the age of 26. That is ABSURD. We have so many fun years ahead of us. Baseball is getting fun again, and we can thank these players for it. When we look back in 25 years we may be realizing that this was one of the best groups of guys playing at the same time.
Baseball is making a comeback and I couldn’t be happier about it.