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The State Of Baseball: N.Y. Post Examines MLB's Future In Changing Sports Landscape

The State Of Baseball: N.Y. Post Examines MLB's Future In Changing Sports Landscape

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Alderson would let managers argue balls and strikes to make MLB more entertaining
The N.Y. POST has compiled a robust package on the current state of baseball, including columns from Fox' Alex Rodriguez and Cubs manager Joe Maddon. The paper conducted a roundtable discussion on some of the issues MLB faces with the Mets and Yankees being represented by players, broadcasters and execs. Mets GM Sandy Alderson said the "most fundamental change that we can make, that will have the sort of least disruptive effect on most players, is the pitch clock." He said, "The average time per pitch, I don’t want to get too technical, is 23 seconds. If we had a pitch clock of 20 seconds, and you cut three seconds off each pitch, there are about 290 pitches per game, you do the math -- that’s 14 or 15 minutes." YES Network's David Cone joked and said it should be called a "hitter’s clock." Cone said, "The hitters stepping out of the box and all the routines, and a lot of time, hitters use that time to disagree with a call, with the umpire." Meanwhile, Alderson said he would "allow managers to argue balls and strikes." The POST's Joel Sherman replied, "Cause the game isn't slow enough?" Alderson: "No, because the game isn’t as entertaining as it could be." He noted the late Billy Martin when he was managing would "put on a show like, weekly at least, in his discussions, arguments, confrontations with umpires. It was part of the theater of the game. We’ve lost that."

NEED TO PROMOTE PLAYERS MORE: Sherman noted the "biggest star in our game" is likely Angels CF Mike Trout, but people could "walk down most streets and nobody would know who he is." Sherman: "Everybody will know who [Thunder G] Russell Westbrook is. What could be done to make players either more accessible, more popular, or make the game more popular?" Yankees P CC Sabathia said, "The NBA, they use all their stars in the commercials: the kid commercials, the State Farm commercials. Everything that’s like sponsors of the NBA are the big stars. So maybe if we get Mike Trout and some of our big sponsor commercials, those are national spots and more people will recognize him." Cone said, "It’s gotta be the shoes. You know, we have all these NBA players that are promoted by companies that are selling product. And you don’t see a lot of kids walking down Fifth Avenue in spikes. There’s just nothing to sell in terms of product."

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF MEDIA OPPORTUNITIES: Mets CF Curtis Granderson said there has been a "lot of talk about saying our players need to do more" to promote the game. He said, "In spring training when we’re doing all our media stuff and all our photos, have CC out there saying 'I love this game,' real quick, and then we can run over it. ... Put them out there to the different markets that aren’t already in baseball. Getting it out on Nickelodeon where kids are watching, MTV, ABC." He added of promoting players, "If the Nikes, and the New Balances of the world, and the Under Armours of the world aren’t taking us and doing it, well, MLB is still a marketing monster. You still have the players that you can throw out there and do it -- case in point, Super Bowl this past year. I saw a commercial for the return of ‘Walking Dead.’ Well, why couldn’t there have been a commercial saying ‘After Super Bowl, Spring Training starts. World Baseball Classic is coming up. Get ready.’ Millions of people around the world, getting a chance to watch that game" (NYPOST.com, 7/12).

YOUTH IS BEING SERVED: ESPN’s Ryan Smith noted MLB is “experiencing a renaissance right now," and the game's "young stars have a lot to do with it.” MLB is "often called out for being the old dog of major sports leagues," but the league "has a new spring in its step." The number of top players 25 years old or younger, such as Trout, Nationals RF Bryce Harper and Yankees RF Aaron Judge, are "leading the charge." MLB.com’s Richard Justice said, “Seeing what Aaron Judge did the other night (during the Home Run Derby) is amazingly great for the game.” He added of the league's young stars, "They’re so appealing, they play with emotion, they’re not afraid to show their emotion” ("OTL," ESPN, 7/13).

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