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Why Major League Baseball is losing viewers

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Upper deck view of Minute Maid Park, home of the World Series Champion Houston Astros. Photo by Brent Moore
Upper deck view of Minute Maid Park, home of the World Series Champion Houston Astros. Photo by Brent Moore

Major League Baseball was once considered must-watch television in America, but they have completely failed in drawing in viewers as of late and especially with the younger generation. 

There are the obvious reasons why people have grown a disliking for baseball. In many people’s eyes it’s too long, boring, and doesn’t have the drama that the NBA or NFL has been producing. 

On top of that, there have been cheating scandals left and right for steroids, buzzers telling players what pitch is coming, and fishy substances put on baseballs by pitchers. Ironically, these stories have drawn the interest of fans more than the actual games.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred doesn’t seem to have any idea what to do. He has made rule changes to the slightest degree, but is just ignoring all the obvious ones he could do.

First off, the season needs to be either shortened as soon as possible, or shifted to start earlier. The MLB playoffs are the best part of the sport, yet they have them scheduled right in the middle of both professional and college football, as well as the NBA season having opening night. This year, the same amount of people probably watched the Los Angeles Lakers versus the Golden State Warriors regular season game, then the National League Championship Series.

There is a clear drought in the sports calendar, and that is the middle of the summer; July and August. Also known as the dog days, also unknown as the perfect time to have the playoffs and World Series. It makes more sense to have a sport that plays a majority of their regular season games in the summertime and warm seasons to have its playoffs in the same climate, instead of seeing players bundled up at the end of October trying to fight off a 100 MPH fastball coming at them.

The second big issue is that nothing truly matters until the playoffs come around, and that’s where their playoff system is flawed. Many teams winning 110 games through the season get bounced early because they don’t have a real advantage in the opening round.

The opening round of the playoffs is five games; first to three wins. Anything can happen in a limited series, and with the games going two games each at home, this creates a situation where the underdogs just need to steal one on the road, then win two straight home games. What’s the point of a 162 game regular season if your best and most watched teams, like the Los Angeles Dodgers, get bounced within a week of the playoffs.

True and loyal baseball fans will likely say my criticisms and suggestions are crazy, but at the end of the day it’s a business, and no real baseball fan will stop watching if things are tweaked slightly from the original ways. Records will be a little flawed, but realistically everything is already cheap and fraudulent from the steroid era and way back when. No one will beat Barry Bonds’ home run records, Joe Dimaggio’s 56 game hit streak, or Cy Young’s pitching records.

Once again, baseball viewers want to be entertained. The next generation has very short attention spans. So if Major League Baseball wants to keep making money and stay relevant, they should strongly consider these suggested changes.