Changing the Game of Baseball


Lauren Salzman Co-Editor-in-Chief A study was done using an advertisement consisting of six planes and the word integrity. A group of olderpeople were in one room, while a group of millennials were in another. Participants in both rooms were shown the ad, but when asked the same two questions, their answers were very different. The researchers asked 1) What word was written? and 2) How many planes were there? The millennials quickly responded with the number of planes. Easy. Six. However, when asked to remember what word was written, they said they had no idea. The older generations feedback was completely flipped, remembering the word, but not the number of planes in the background. Advertisements in the 21st century are comprised of fewer words, brighter colors, and more images. Simple visual designs are starting to overtake the previously wordy advertisements because if you dont catch the attention of a millennial within three seconds, theyre going to look away. Attention spans arent just shortening for ads, but also for television, people, and practically anything we can get our hands (or eyes) on. So how does this affect Americas pastime: baseball? The average MLB game lasts around three hours, but recent efforts have been made to shorten the game, primarily to broaden the audience and cut down on wasted time. So, what should the MLB do? No 7th inning stretch? And if you want to say Happy Birthday or propose to your fiancé via jumbotron, I guess youre out of luck– that wastes about eight precious seconds. Should the game be cut to five innings? How about we dont let the batters have so much time to prepare for each and every swing, or we dont let coaches go onto the pitching mound? Anyone you ask about these suggestions would probably say that they would be ruining what makes baseball, baseball. But still, there is call to make the game shorter. James Wagner, a sports writer for the NY Times, says that a more radical idea could be to cut down on television commercial breaks, and make up for the lost revenue by putting advertisements on the jerseys, as they do in soccer and will next season in the N.B.A.Bill Pennington, another NY Times writer, says that a penalty of one strike should be issued if a batter steps out of the batters box. But can you really imagine sitting in the Wrigley Field rooftop bleachers and watching a game that is seven innings long, has players that are confined to their batting box, with friendly talk or banter amongst opponents? Somehow that just doesnt fit. This MLB season, which has just commenced, has implemented a very non-controversial way to save maybe one or two minutes every couple of games. Instead of intentionally walking a pitcher by throwing four balls, the pitcher can just point to first base. However, there are usually only one or two, if that, intentional walks a game. Another idea proposed, but ultimately rejected, was that if a home-run were hit, the player shouldnt waste time running around the bases. But theres something American about running around the four bases–touching the rubber on each one with your cleat, with no fear of getting tagged out as well as basking in the glory of your accomplishment while the crowd salutes you. While executives are trying to figure out how to make the games shorter, its hard not to remember why baseball was created. An American pastime, created pre Civil-War; a humble game played on sandlots. You go to the ballpark, order peanuts and throw the shells on the ground, maybe get a beer or two (if you are of age). And in the case of the Chicago Cubs, you go whether they are World Series champs or the team that was in the middle of the longest MLB drought in history. Even if you relish in every fastball and stolen base, isnt part of baseball to be a little bored and to have an escape from the hysteria and hustle of everyday life? When you look around, however, its not only millennials who are living a faster paced life. Its what weve grown used to,says English and history teacher, Mr. Marshall. Its no fault of the new generation, but I am used to it now, too. In the hockey rink there are men being plastered against the glass coupled with fights and fast-paced action. Football has concussions galore and men whose goal is to tackle other men. Basketball arenas are hectic spaces with screaming fans and games that reach scores in the hundreds. [Baseball] seems so out of context with the rest of our 2017 experience–we get mad when wifi takes even ten seconds to load,explains Marshall. The dilemma now is do we want to change our beloved American pastime to fit with the rest of the selfie-taking, abbreviation-using, media-reliant 21st century culture? Since many radical suggestions as to how to significantly shorten the game have been rejected, I guess the world isnt ready for that big of a change. So, sit back, relax, and order another hot dog youve still got nine innings. ]]>