Just one question: do you know when is MLB Opening Day? No, seriously, without looking, when is baseball coming back? Have you heard or seen advertising? I sure haven’t. Coming out of a year of isolation and quarantine, where we as sports fans clamor for sports on our screens, you would think that “America’s Pastime” would be shouting from the top of the mountain that it would soon return.
So when does the baseball season start? Exactly one week from today. What a missed opportunity, MLB.
Not only is Major League Baseball essentially choosing not to advertise, they are missing an incredible opportunity to change the tone and vision of the league for the general public. Major League Baseball is still wrapped in white blazer, apple pie, and hot dogs, and I’d rather play John Fogerty’s “Centerfield” than try to be new, fresh, youthful, and / or exciting. Here’s an alternative option:
Different, right? Imagine a promoting baseball league, and stick with me here, because it’s pretty radical, fun. You have a league full of superstar talent, but not rock stars like the ones you see in the NBA and the NFL, and that falls squarely on the shoulders of a league that is trying to cling to an outdated identity rather than embracing hip hop culture and the individuality of are the players.
Aside from (and maybe even include) playoff baseball, I’m not sure I had more fun watching baseball than when we were invited to the 2017 World Baseball Classic. I had fun because the players had fun. They were passionate, loud, flashy, we were celebrating their nationalities and cultures, it was everything MLB is not. Just look at this cutout from Javier Báez, including the coolest thing I’ve ever seen on a baseball diamond – him holding a tag on second before he even caught the ball and made a tag without looking.
This is how baseball should look. Gone are the days of hot dogs and apple pie. If Major League Baseball wants to appeal to a new generation of sports fans (as opposed to the same fans who listen to ragtime music while eating their 4:00 pm early morning special), we need passion, excitement, and not just the ability to players to express themselves, but a focus that celebrates it.