PLAYERS’ WEEKEND MAKES NO SENSE FOR MLB

The weekend before last, baseball had Players’ Weekend. The Major League Baseball Players were allowed to wear their nickname, instead of their surname, on the backs of their uniforms. They were also allowed to decorate their baseball shoes as they saw fit. ( I assume their were some restrictions on both the shoes and shirts to ensure that no minority would be offended by the sight of the name or the decorations.)

Major League Baseball has been doing this to allow the player’s to express themselves and, as Antony Castrovince reported on the MLB web site on August 23d ‘It’s an opportunity for fans to get a little wider window into the personalities of the players.’

More accurately expressed, by me here, It’s Major League Baseball’s latest misguided attempt to make baseball more attractive to its supposedly dwindling fan base.

In addition, players were allowed to wear decorated or different colored batting gloves, wristbands, compression sleeves, catcher’s masks, and bats and each uniform had a patch on the sleeve where a player could write the name of a person who aided their career. The jerseys and other equipment were auctioned after the weekend to raise money for the players charities.

As Castrovince went on to say, ‘This is the game’s embrace of individuality, charisma and creativity’. Can you imagine being a Major League Baseball player, making anywhere from the minimum salary of $545,000. to $23 million or more a year, standing in the batter’s box or on the pitcher’s mound almost every day in front of 20-50,000 people in the stands and hundreds of thousands more on television, all focused on you, and still having a need to express your individuality?

Aside from the contribution to charity made through the auction, it is hard for me, as a baseball fan to understand how anyone, except possibly the players, benefit from this annual fiasco. The fact that it occurs during the final weeks of the season, when the pennant races are heating up and players don’t need another distraction makes it even more ridiculous to me.

As Castrovince went on to say, this weekend and ‘the vibrant, non-traditional alternate uniforms,…., were inspired by uniforms you would typically see in Little League, tying into the theme of the youth involvement that Commissioner Rob Manfred has invested in since taking office ahead of the 2015 season.’

Somebody should tell that Idiot in the Commissioners’ Office that those youths that he is trying to attract to the game DON’T COME TO THE GAME ALONE. They come with parents, grandparents or other adults who want to see the game themselves and, therefore, want to have their kids, grandchildren, etc., enjoy the game as they did as kids. If the adults are not interested enough to come themselves, the kids will not get there.

As someone once said about the economy, it’s the demographic stupid. Does he expect that the kids will run away from home and spend money they don’t have to buy a ticket so they can go to the game alone. Baseball’s challenge is not to attract the younger generation to the game. Baseball’s challenge is to entice the adults to bring the younger generation to the game. Once they are in the ballpark, the game will attract them to come back.

Promotions like every child under 12 gets in for $5. with an adult admission on select dates will do that. And, once they’re in the ballpark, kids will generate as much, if not more, in concessions sales than adults do. A good number of the ball parks are half full anyway, why not fill those empty seats with kids and develop future customers?

Give the adults back the entertaining game that I watched as a kid because my father loved the game and the kids will come to the game, with the adults. Give them the Lou Pinellas and Billy Martins arguing with the umpires over a bad call instead of sterile conferences of umpires waiting for a call from New York to say whether the call was accurate or not.

Give them collisions at home plate and at second base where players protected themselves on their own before the rules were changed and the bases clearing brawls that happened when Pedro Martinez or some other head hunter decided a player needed a closer shave. Take away the shifts that are the main reason we have so many home runs and strikeouts instead of hit and run plays, stolen bases and bunts.

Do they really think that football would be more attractive to fans if they did away with the bone crushing tackles and instead had to pull a flag out of the ball carrier’s belt? Professional sports are entertainment at its best and, like Oklahoma would be without music, baseball is being hurt by its reduction in entertainment value.

Enough complaining. HOW ABOUT THOSE RED SOX? At the close of play on Thursday, they were 97-44 after a sensational sweep of the National League East’s leading Atlanta Braves. After a brief slowdown, the juggernaut was rolling again.

The biggest problem the Red Sox have the rest of the way, is deciding who among the position players is not going to make the team. Assuming they need to carry at least 12 or 13 pitchers, they have a minimum of 12 and a maximum of 13 slots for position players.

Anything can happen between now and Playoff time but, as it stands right now, Sale, Price, Rodriguez and Porcello should be the four starters with, of course, Kimbrel as the Closer. That leaves seven or eight slots for relievers. Eovaldi, Kelly, Barnes, Brasier, Workman, Wright, Velazquez and Johnson would be my choices if they go with eight with Thornburg and Pomeranz left off the roster.

Picking the the 12 position players looks easy to me. The two catchers would be Leon and Vazquez, with Moreland, Pearce, Bogaerts, Nunez and Holt as infielders and Betts, Bradley, Benintendi and Martinez in the outfield with Holt also available to back up in the outfield when needed. As much as I like Swihart, I cannot see him making the roster in place of a pitcher and, as committed as the Sox are to Devers’ future, the same is true of him.

We are still three weeks from the Yankees at Fenway for the last game of the season, so anything can happen. If the team I would name to the Playoff roster stays healthy, Alex Cora is going to be the second Red Sox first year Manager to win a World Series in the last six years.

 

 

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