Mea Kulpa-What Ron Kulpa’s Power Trip Tells Us About the Current State of Officiating

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I can do anything I want!-Ron Kulpa to Astro’s Manager AJ Hinch.

Baseball twitter has been ablaze since the incident, so I’m sure you’ve read ten stories about it already, but here is a good companion breakdown of the Kulpa incident from Twitter:

Being an official at any level, in any sport, is not an enviable gig. When I was 13 I donned the powder blue polo, dark pants, and cautiously stood behind a nine-year-old catcher who appeared to be fairly surprised that he was going to be behind the plate that game.

“Have you ever caught before?” I gestured towards his worn catcher’s mitt. He quickly shook his head. Wonderful.

I umpired only for a few seasons, much more satisfied with being up in the press box running the music and scoreboard. But even in my short time umping I knew it wasn’t for me. It wasn’t the pressure of making calls, it was the constant swirl of annoyance being hurled at you at all times. From coaches, from players, from fans, at any given moment SOMEONE hated your guts.

It was an unpleasant feeling. And it didn’t seem to matter if you were doing a good or a bad job, they would be annoyed regardless. I remember one of the breaking points for me. Keep in mind I was again only like thirteen, but there was a play at the plate, bang-bang, and I called the runner out on the tag. Was he out? Who knows, but to me it sure seemed like he was.

Out trotted a grizzled 50-something-year-old coach, going ballistic.

No way was he out! How could you call that? He was clearly under the tag! That is a BAD call!

I decided immediately that the 15 bucks a game wasn’t worth being screamed at by this guy.

There are plenty of people that can get past the screaming and yelling, and make their way through the officiating circuit. You work your way up, go to clinics, attend camps, you get better, you gain more experience. Guys like Ron Kulpa have spent most of their lives doing a job that nobody wants to do. There is respect in that. And yet what Ron Kulpa did this week is part of the swing of officials in all sports to flex their reffing muscles, and show who is “boss”.

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If you are an avid sports fan you’ve noticed it. The ejections and technical fouls are coming hard and fast. Hell, Spurs coach Greg Popovich just set a record with his latest ejection.

We are in an age where officials everywhere are done being just rule-enforcers and are now the behavior-police. They seemingly are tired of being background characters, and now are itching for leading roles. Should we REALLY know the name Ron Kulpa? Do we REALLY buy tickets to see the Astros play, or do we buy them to see Kulpa ump?

My father umped for a while, and he reported back to me how militaristic the training sessions felt. How it didn’t feel like a cohesive plan to just enforce the rules and call a good game, it felt more like it is YOU vs. THEM. Them being the players and coaches.

Are there going to be times when an ejection is called for, when a player/coach takes it too far? Of course. Cursing up a storm, physically threatening, being an absolute nut, these are all things that I am completely okay with officials determining that particular person is not welcome on the field or the court at that time. We all lose our heads sometimes. But that should be a LAST resort, a final straw. Popovich was tossed before the Spurs even had a chance to score a basket.

I remember going to old RFK stadium to see the Nats take on the Cardinals. Albert Pujols was on the team then, and in his prime. We bought tickets to go see Albert, one of the greatest hitters of our generation. He was ejected in the bottom of the 2nd inning while discussing his previous at-bat with the field umpire. Just like that, our purpose of even buying tickets was headed off to the showers.

If the MLB truly cares about the players, about the fans, then Ron Kulpa should be suspended for a decent amount of time. Send him back to the minors, bring up someone else who isn’t here to look for fights. The goal of an umpire should be to call the best game he or she can, not to tussle with managers.

The MLB needs to send a message to Kulpa and to officials everywhere:

No, you CAN’T do anything you want.

 

 

Life of Luxury: A night spent with the upper class watching Bryce Harper’s return to DC

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When the Harper to Philly announcement was made, I had my phone out ready to go. I knew that the Phillies were going to come to DC on the 2nd of April, and tickets were a must. I purchased my usual 300 section, and was set. When the day finally arrived, I casually perused the StubHub listings to see what else was available. I spotted a pair of Delta Sky360 Club Seats, 7th row, behind home plate. These were typically $500+ per seat, but on a cold and rainy Tuesday someone was listing them for around $170 each. So I went for it. I sold my original tickets and snagged those bad boys. This was going to be a pretty big moment, why not live it up in style? Here is a quick diary recap of my experience.

I’m a big fan of getting to the ballpark early. Then again, I’m a fan of getting anywhere way too early. I think that comes from my mother. Growing up we would all pile into the car for Christmas Eve mass. I always thought it was strange that she would suggest we pack a book with us, but that was because the plan was to sit in the parking lot for two hours before anyone else decided to start getting their seats. I think even the priests were still sleeping.

The plan was to hop on the metro after work, get to the ballpark right when they allow you to start entering your seats at 5:30. Since we were going to be newbies to the home plate scene, I wanted to make sure to give us plenty of time to adjust to our surroundings and not look out of place.

My favorite part of riding the metro is the fact that the people who run the metro truly do not care about what the inside of the cars look like.

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My favorite seats are the weird yellow ones in the back. Sometimes they have a wall dividing them so you can pretend you are on your own little personal train and not the DC metro where the guy two seats ahead is throwing up in his mouth.

I also enjoy the game that the conductors play. It’s called “How terribly can I talk in this microphone to ensure nobody understands what I am saying?”

The move my wife and I typically do with Nats games is to take the train all the way to Capital South station and walk. It’s two stops past where most people get off to switch trains to the game, so you get a lot of confused and panicked looks from other Nats fans as they glance back at you when getting off. It involves having to walk a while, but it’s a fairly pleasant hike as you pass by million-dollar townhomes. In fact, it helped me mentally prepare myself for the sort of people we would be mixing in with at the “Sky Clizzub” (that’s what I have renamed the Delta360 Sky Club)

I’ll skip past the minor details of going through security and take us right to entering the clizzub. We had to enter some doors initially into a hallway with elevators that were supposed to take us down to where we needed to go. They must have been those types of elevators where they don’t actually work, so we took the stairs instead. BUT the stairs were carpeted, so I already knew we had entered a different rich world.

At the entrance there was a big machine to scan your ticket, and then a lady puts a wristband on you. I’m not sure why they needed to spend the money on a giant machine, when they could have given the lady a scanner, but then I remembered I was in the world of wealth.

I had done a little scouting ahead of time, and knew that it was basically a giant room with a bar, tables, buffets all over the place. Upon entering, a nice hostess escorted us to a small table that had plates and silverware. They even put the silverware in the correct order on the table which is something I constantly struggle with. It was slightly confusing because while the food was buffet style, there was still a “waitress” who could also get you things. So in theory, while the food was only 20-30 steps away, you could have her get it for you. Man, what a dream.

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I tried to take a picture of the food on my first plate, but I ate it already. There’s a chicken bone in the picture so you can get the idea. They had a few buffet sections in the middle with your higher end items like a meat board and potstickers. Then on the outside, because they know peasants like us occasionally make it through the gates, they had staples like pizza, wings, and a basket filled to the brim with chicken tenders. I snagged my first bud light of the night (classy), stacked multiple pieces of pizza on my plate (because I’m not a buffet amateur), and headed back to my seat.

I finished that plate within maybe 30 seconds, but wanted to give it a little bit of time before I got up again. My bud light seemed to disappear rather quickly, and the “waitress” asked if I would like another one. I nodded, but then she asked to see my ID. I thought this was a little strange. One, because I’ve looked 26 since I was 10. Two, I already had a beer. I hate to display my ID because I’ve been too terrified to go to the DMV and get a new picture, so it is still my 15-year-old mug. I had so many great ideas and hopes and dreams in that photo, now it gets laughed at by bartenders across the country. I seemingly passed the test because she went to fetch me another brew. Meanwhile, I went to fetch me another plate.

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I decided to class it up a bit and added a few potstickers and one thimble-full of rice (healthy). These chicken tenders were 100% different than the normal ballpark tenders offered. These must have been a different breed of chicken. Or perhaps these were actual chicken tenders, not whatever they sell at the normal vendors.

After finishing up this plate and beer, my wife and I hopped over to view the batting cages. The club has a giant window where you can watch the players hit a few baseballs in preparation for hitting baseballs in a game. We got to see Victor Robles and Matt Adams hit, which was a delightful treat.

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I tried to get their attention to see if it was cool if I took a few hacks, but they mostly ignored me. I should have kept one chicken tender to wave in their direction. I also forgot to mention that if you watch a lot of Nats games you may notice the two guys that sit behind home plate at every game. Those are the Itkin brothers according to an article I read. We were sitting at the table nearby them so my wife snapped a quick stealth picture.

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I think they are multi-millionaires, which is why I thought it was strange that one year they were apparently voted “fan of the year”. I don’t think you should give millionaires a “fan of the year” title. Save that for someone who survived the DC metro, walked a bunch of blocks in the rain, and ate your not real chicken tenders.

The game was delayed so I used my time wisely. I scarfed down a small bag of popcorn, a soft pretzel, a few mini cupcakes, and then my stomach started hurting. But I couldn’t show any sort of pain in front of the other club members, so I just fought through it.

My favorite part about rain delays is how many times fans will go up to random employees and ask if they know when the game is supposed to start. This question is usually met with confusion, as if the front office radios down to every single Nats Park employee all the pertinent information. Let me go ask the janitor about Howie Kendrick’s injury recovery.

The delay ended up only being until 7:45, which gave me plenty of time to eat another hot dog. There was literally a small shelving unit whose purpose was purely to hold hot dog buns. It was nicer than any shelves I have at home, and it was for buns.

It was finally time to start taking our seats, so we awkwardly waited while a nice lady took a very wet rag to wipe off our wet seats. It wasn’t effective at all, and I accidentally slipped her five dollars instead of just a few bucks.

 

There were a TON of Phillies fans all over the place, including all around us. This was great because they are widely known as super rational and kind fans, so I was sure we would be fine. In fact, I expected us all to be arm-in-arm humming songs by the end of the game.

 

I snagged a vid of Harper’s first plate appearance

The great thing about these seats too was a person comes around and takes your order so you don’t have to miss a pitch! I requested another hot dog and beer, as my stomach pleaded with me to stop the madness.

The game itself was not noteworthy and I don’t care to write about any of it. But my friends and family texted us constantly to let us know we were on the TV shot. I considered various things I could do to go viral but instead just crossed my arms and looked displeased.

Once the Phillies scored their 100th run of the game, we left. I considered snagging a few more hot dogs for the road but thought better of it.

Overall the experience was truly incredible. I mingled with the 1%’ers, ate my weight in food, and also got to watch some bad Nationals baseball. Maybe I’ll get back to those seats again someday. But for now, I’ll be dreaming of those cupcakes…

 

Episode 25 – (Caps, Wiz, Redskins, Nats)

With no special episode for the first time in weeks, Serone & Simpson are back to the status quo going over the Capitals clinching their playoff spot, the Wizards hopefully losing more to get better draft stock, the Redskins front office woes, and the Nationals opening series loss to the rival Mets. Plus, the fun stuff which includes: Pine Pony Express, Ben’s love for American Idol, and Mike’s hatred of Ryan Zimmerman continues…

Podcast Available: iTunes PodcastGoogle Podcast & Google Play Music

SUBSCRIBE – RATE – REVIEW!

TIMESTAMPS:

  • Pre-Show Banter – (0:00)
  • Capitals Clinch Playoff Birth – (18:30)
  • Wizards Draft Position Update – (30:25)
  • “What If” Redskins Front Office – (45:15)
  • Nationals Series Opening Loss – (58:50)
  • Mike’s Zimmerman Rant – (1:15:45)
  • “Pine-Pony Express” – (1:38:40)
  • Ben’s Thoughts On Serone’s Groomed Dog – (1:52:52)

Music By: Kenneth Thomas (www.DJKennethThomas.com)

Supporters: We Organize “Professional Organizing Services” ~ Parrando’s Tex-Mex Grill

 

Washington Nationals Season Preview – 2019

You have to love technology right? Due to the technical difficulties, our Season and Outfield Previews are one week old, yet still good listens. Check them out here!

Podcast Available: iTunes PodcastGoogle Podcast & Google Play Music

SUBSCRIBE – RATE – REVIEW!

Well, that was ugly: Thoughts and Grades on the Nats Opening Series

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It took a heroic effort from Trea Turner on Sunday for the Nats to avoid an opening weekend sweep by the Mets. Let’s dive into some grades:

Starting Pitching

Grade: B-

Scherzer (0-1): 7.2 innings, 2 hits, 2 runs (both earned), 12 K’s, 3 BB’s.

Strasburg (no decision): 6 innings, 7 hits, 4 ER, 8 K’s, 2 BB’s.

Corbin (no decision): 6 innings, 7 hits, 2 ER, 4 K’s, 2 BB’s

Overall the starting pitching was okay. Scherzer and Corbin both gave the Nats a chance, and even Strasburg recovered after a really shaky first inning.

This isn’t a great sign from Strasburg in his first start, especially with the Mets hitting .292 against him. We have spoken highly on what we hope will be a “comeback” year for Stras, this did not make me super confident yet.

Corbin shined in his debut, a lot of fly balls, some hard contact, but overall was impressive on a very windy cold day in DC.

Scherz was Scherz. He struck out a ton, gave up signature opening inning bomb, and put his team in a position to win a ballgame and they spoiled a great outing.

Bullpen

Grade: D

Yikes. This was the area I was worried about from the start, and this was the area that let the Nats down this weekend.

Barraclough: 1.2 innings, 2 hits

Sipp: 1.1 innings, 2 hits, 2 ER, 1 K, 1 BB

Miller: 1 inning, 1 hit, 2 K’s

Suero: 1 inning, 2 hits, 2 ER, 1 K, 1 BB

Grace: 0.2 innings, 2 hits, 1 ER, 1 K

Rosenthal: (didn’t register an out) 4 hits, 5 ER, 1 BB

Doolittle: 1.2 innings, 3 hits, 2 K’s

As a bullpen, they combined for a 12.27 ERA.

Rosenthal, Suero, Grace, and Sipp all had the most trouble this series. I’m genuinely scared about this bullpen situation. There are no go-to arms. Barraclough and Miller handled things well, and Doolittle got thrust into a scary Sunday finale, but overall this is a bad look for yet another Nats team that is lacking reliable bullpen arms.

We’ve heard this song and dance before.

Offense

Grade: C+

Obviously, the opening day game was dreadful offensively, but the Nats were able to turn it around and put up 14 runs total in their 2nd and 3rd games in the series.

Turner: 13 AB’s, 5 hits, 4 Runs, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 1 BB, 4 K’s, 4 SB, .385 avg, .429 OBP, .923 SLG

Eaton: 12 AB’s, 4 hits, 2 Runs, 4 K’s, .333 avg, 429 OBP, .333 SLG

Soto: 12 AB’s, 3 hits, 1 Run, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 7 K’s, 1 SB, .250 avg, .308 OBP, .333 SLG

Zimmerman: 12 AB’s, 2 hits, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 3 K’s, .167 avg, 231 OBP, .250 SLG

Rendon: 11 AB’s, 4 hits, 2 Runs, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K’s, .364 avg, .462 OBP, .455 SLG

Robles: 11 AB’s, 5 hits, 3 Runs, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 K’s, .455 avg, .455 OBP, 1.000 SLG

Dozier: 10 AB’s, 0 hits, 3 K’s

Gomes: 7 AB’s, 2 hits, 1 Run, 3 K’s, .286 avg, .286 OBP, .429 SLG

Suzuki: 4 AB’s, 0 hits, 1 RBI

Adams: 3 AB’s, 0 hits, 2 K’s

Robles and Turner both with fantastic starts to the year. The speed with those two, plus Eaton’s ability to reach base sets the Nats big boppers up with plenty of RBI opportunity. Unfortunately Zim, Soto, and Rendon were not great out of the gate.

Too many K’s for young Soto, Zim is useless at the plate, and Rendon with a slow start. Again I declare I want more opportunities for Matt Adams. I’m tired of Davey using him in late-inning situations, give the man a full start and let’s see what he does.

Honestly, Trea Turner salvaged this series. If it wasn’t for him destroying the baseball, stealing bases, and saving the day this would have easily been a 0-3 team.

Overall

Grade: C

This was supposed to be a great tune-up opportunity for the Nats before they have to welcome back their former star Bryce Harper, and instead it exposed some immediate flaws with the way this team is built. Offense does not matter if your bullpen can’t contain the other team, and the Nats failed. Saturday and Sunday were both very winnable games (the Nats obviously did take Sunday in walk-off fashion) and now they take on the red-hot Phillies.

It is not time to panic, but this was not exactly the way this team needed to start in order to relax their nervous fanbase.

Next Series:

Nats vs. Phillies

Tuesday, 7:05 PM

Scherzer vs. Eflin

Wednesday, 1:05 PM

Sanchez vs. Nola

2019 MLB Pre-Season Award Predictions

As of a few days ago, professional sites started putting out their 2019 MLB Pre-Season Awards in loo of Opening Day. This gripe will have to be saved for another day but honestly, I understand the Phillies made some good moves this off-season. But the Nationals have arguably the best starting rotation, the favorite for 2019 Rookie of the Year (spoiler), two candidates in the Top 10 of MVP considerations and made improvements themselves with depth and their bullpen. I don’t understand how the NL East is so split. I could see it being close and favoring the Nationals more often than not, but some that I have seen have been way too heavily on the Phillies. They have a great starter in Nola, backed by a great lineup but I still don’t believe the Phillies did enough to surpass Washington’s complete team.

Below are predictions from three major sites in the sporting world. Though all three sites have similar data, ESPN has the best interactive article so let’s pinpoint on that. They have a panel of 31 experts, that will vote, that range from former players to baseball insiders. Because we focus in on the Washington Nationals, let’s stick to the National League.

ESPN.com Predictions

MLB.com Predictions

NBCSports.com Predictions

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NATIONAL LEAGUE MVP

Listed for the National League MVP are nine players who are viable candidates. Two of those nine are Nationals (Juan Soto, Anthony Rendon). Soto was second in Rookie of the Year voting last year but as a 20 year old, he will have to prove he won’t hit a “sophomore slump.” Rendon is one of the best all around ball players in the Majors. He’s quite but handles himself with class and shows his work ethic out on the diamond. Though, I do not think either will win the award outright, they both should be proud to be recognized in this magnitude. Out of the 31 experts, two have selected Rendon or Soto to be the NL MVP. Might not seem like a lot, but in comparison, Bryce Harper and Kris Bryant only received two each. After 34,000 fan votes, the two Nationals players combined for 4% of the votes.

Serone’s Prediction: Paul Goldschmidt (St. Louis Cardinals)

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NATIONAL LEAGUE CY YOUNG

National League Cy Young voting has six viable candidates for the award, led by Jacob deGrom of the Mets & Max Scherzer of the Nationals. Scherzer has been in the Top 5 of voting dating back to 2013. He won it with the Detroit Tigers back in 2013 and since being traded to the Nationals he was 5th, 1st, 1st, and 2nd in voting. deGrom, though winning it last year, has yet to be in the top six in voting. I understand Scherzer’s age is increasing, yet he has not shown any signs of slowing down. Out of the 31 experts of ESPN, Scherzer had 18 of the votes while deGrom was tied with Aaron Nola of the Phillies with five each. After 30,000 fan votes, the 3-Time Cy Young winner only received 28% of the votes. Even with his pedigree he only manages that small number?

Serone’s Prediction: “Mad Max” Scherzer (Nationals)

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NATIONAL LEAGUE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

National League Rookie of the Year voting was almost as similar to the Cy Young as they come. I think all Nationals fans have heard of Victor Robles. He has been our prized possession for years now, developing from a teenager in the minors to now our everyday center fielder. This may be Mike Rizzo’s favorite player on the Nats because of the sole fact that he was coveted by so many teams being a Top 4 prospect in all of the Majors. Out of the 31 ESPN experts, almost half (15), voted for the youngster to take home the award. Coming in second, tied with five each were Pete Alonso (#51 MLB Prospect) of the Mets and Nick Senzel (#6 MLB Prospect) of the Reds. And with that, after 23,000 fan votes, Robles received 23% while Fernando Tatis Jr. of the Padres got almost 30%. I wasn’t even aware that the Padres had that many fans.

Serone’s Prediction: Victor Robles (Nationals)

 

 

Game 1 Recap: Nats get blanked on Opening Day

Game 1

Well, this is not great…

Only Game 1, yada yada yada, super long season, yada yada yada.

Bottom line is, the Nats seemingly carried issues they had last season with scoring runs into the very first game of this season. Not a HUGE deal, but a noticeable one.

The Good

-Scherzer was brilliant: 7.2 IP, 2 Hits, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, and 12 K’s. He also gave up his obligatory solo homer.

-I sometimes forget just how solid Trea Turner was for a turbulent Nats team last year. He started off this season in a great way. The shortstop went 2 for 4, with 3 stolen bases.

Besides that…there wasn’t much to be super excited about…

The Bad

-Anthony Rendon continues to be stymied by deGrom. 0 for 4 on the day including 5 runners Left on Base

-Speaking of that, the Nats 3-4-5 combo of Rendon, Soto, and Zimmerman went a combined 0 for 11 on the day, stranding 9 total runners.

-The Nats ran themselves into a bad 5-4-2-5 double play in the 3rd inning that should have been an easy scoring opportunity.

Overall

Look, it’s a long season. Opening Day is no indication of how the season may go (I mean look at my Detroit Tigers, they got an almost no-no from the skeleton of Jordan Zimmermann and a 10th inning homer from a rookie, THAT won’t hold up over 162 games).

What I didn’t like is the familiarity in this game to last year’s team. Lack of production on offense, wasted strong starting pitching, and really no production from the new guys yet.

Don’t freak out, but I think its perfectly fine to be disappointed in that Opening Day showing.

Next Game

Saturday

Nats (0-1) vs. Mets (1-0)

1:05 PM Start

Noah Syndergaard vs. Stephen Strasburg

Nats Opening Day Lineup Analyzed

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Here is what Davey is going with for Opening Day tomorrow:

  1. RF Adam Eaton
  2. SS Trea Turner
  3. LF Juan Soto
  4. 3B Anthony Rendon
  5. 1B Ryan Zimmerman
  6. 2B Brian Dozier
  7. C Yan Gomes
  8. P Max Scherzer
  9. CF Victor Robles

Martinez specifically wants this lineup to put runs on the board, and having the speed combo of Robles, Eaton, and Turner in a sequence is perfect for that.

Before you get too excited and jacked up for the first game let’s remember who this lineup is facing: Jacob deGrom.

Let’s take a quick look at how that lineup has done vs. deGrom in their careers:

Eaton: 3 for 10, 2 RBI, 4 K’s

Turner: 7 for 25, 3 RBI, 1 HR, 1 BB, 10 K’s

Soto: 1 for 3

Rendon: 2 for 23, 1 RBI, 6 BB’s, 7 K’s

Zimmerman: 5 for 24, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 8 K’s

No data for Dozier it looks like, or Gomes

Robles: 1 for 5, 3 K’s

Not terrible surprisingly enough, except for Rendon. The only worry spot for me continues to be the production from the first base position. Zim gets the nod for opening day, but will we see Matt Adams get more and more opportunities to replace the veteran? Can the Nats finally get production from the catcher position as well? Something they have been missing since the departure of Wilson Ramos?

Overall, I like this lineup. A lot of speed, some great contact hitters, and hopefully a bomb every now and then. Let’s see who gets off to a nice start in the opening day series.

We Must Evolve the Game

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We’ve heard it all by now.

Baseball is boring

The games take too long

Nothing ever happens

Jayson Stark, a prominent writer for The Athletic and analyst from MLB Network, recently participated in a roundtable discussion on the most under the radar topic regarding baseball.

Stark: I think it’s the never-ending challenge of creating a sport, in the 21st century, with more action. Every time I bring this up, baseball fans overreact to it, in ways that illustrate how difficult this is. You almost never hear football fans complaining that the NFL has ruined the game that Red Grange used to play. But any time you suggest that baseball ought to at least be able to experiment with ideas that could make the game more entertaining, millions of baseball fans react as if you’re doodling on the Mona Lisa.

I love baseball as much as anyone I know. But I’m totally open to trying all sorts of these ideas — not to make games “shorter” because it isn’t about “time of game,” but to move toward a sport where you don’t have to wait 4 ½ minutes in between the average ball in play. Why do I think this story is under-covered? Because it feels as though the focus is either on time of game or on individual rule changes, not on the big picture. It’s about action, not games that take 3 ½ hours. And we can’t seem to get our audience to understand that’s the biggest issue in the sport. Why is the Home Run Derby the highest-rated baseball event on cable between Opening Day and Game 162? Because something happens! And it happens every few seconds.

It’s about the action. THAT is the biggest issue in the sport. But there are more issues beyond just the action, this goes much deeper than that.

I’m too tired to watch the end

I fall in the line of your average baseball fan. I support my teams, I watch as many of their games as possible, but life and work get in the way sometimes. What also gets in the way is the fact that most of us work your standard 9-5 shifts, sometimes even earlier. I get up at 6:30AM, many friends of mine start their day even earlier.

Your average MLB start time is 7:05 Eastern, the average length of the game in 2018 was 3 hours, 5 minutes, and 11 seconds. That would put your end time roughly around 10:15PM. That’s not terrible, but it’s not great either. You stay up to watch the end, or you don’t, I don’t know about you but I don’t have 3 hours every day to give to a sport that plays on an almost daily basis. 162 games, that’s 486 hours of baseball.

That’s 20 DAYS of your LIFE.

Why give that to a sport that doesn’t seem to care about you? They bring you to the ballpark only to charge you $10 for a beer and $5 for a hotdog that likely costs them less than 10 cents to make. Stations like MASN spit in your face when you protest that the other sports give us streaming options here in 2019 where we can view our teams on our phones, our iPads, our Playstations. You want a “choice” on how to watch this game?

Guess what, They don’t care about you.

Kids don’t watch baseball

A 2016 article in Fox Sports cited the median age of baseball fans at 56 years old. Can you blame kids? Look at their options. Basketball presents offense on almost every trip down the court, big dunks, exciting threes, nonstop action. Football ironically enough is close to baseball in average length of time of a game, and yet it just seems like it moves much quicker. You know that as soon as the team breaks the huddle something is going to happen. Hockey is similar to basketball, fast-movements, flying across the ice, big hits, action. Soccer, the mortal enemy of most baseball players growing up, goes long periods of no scoring but all the while the ball is moving, tackles are being made, shots are being attempted.

In baseball we are waiting for the batter to ready himself for battle, the pitcher to receive the sign, the batter to change his mind that no, in fact, he is not ready to do the thing he is paid millions of dollars to do, he needs more time. The pitcher wants to discuss with his catcher the strategy they have gone over at length beforehand. Oh look, another ball thrown outside the zone, we are now at six minutes and nothing has happened.

This is a problem.

extras

The baseball purists stomp their feet, pound their chests, this is how baseball is meant to be played. How dare you question that? How dare you want to change anything about this beautiful game? The game ends when it ends, they scream, kids and potential fans be damned.

I love baseball. I played baseball. I hope my kids play baseball. I get why others don’t love to watch or play baseball. I find the strategy exciting, the individual talent levels off the charts, its a difficult game, one of the hardest, but I get it. I get the disdain.

Even as a player there was plenty of times my mind wandered as I stood in the outfield, begging for a ball to be hit my way, give me something to do. I’ve fallen asleep watching baseball on television, I’m sure I’m not the only one.

How do we fix this? We must swallow our pride, accept that this game is beautiful to some and boring to others. At times in my life I stress about how the world doesn’t adjust to us, we need to adjust to the world, but with baseball this is adjustable. This is sports, this is a game, we have options. Put a guy on second base to start extra innings. Give me a pitch clock. Speed it up. Just TRY something. If it doesn’t work, fine, scrap it and try something else. But soon enough the age of immediacy will collide with the slowest moving game out there.

Baseball MUST change, baseball MUST evolve.

Before it is too late.