Clocks on a baseball field? The fact that such a thing is being done on a trial basis makes me recall a conversation of a few years ago.
“What makes them miss?” the woman asked me after watching baseball hitters whiff a couple of times in a televised game. (Yes, this conversation happened in the 21st century.)
“The ball is coming up there at 90 miles an hour,” I responded.
And so the game appeared to the woman I had just met, and who was taking note of my interests.
Now, before I get a gender-based smacking, I know there are plenty of women who know all kinds of finer points of baseball. I’m merely including the conversation to explain the perception of a newbie fan who was introduced to the game via television, not an in-stadium appearance, a child or a sibling.
No matter what revenue and TV ratings say, I’m among many who feel that baseball is not holding up well in the 21st century, in which digital entertainment and celebrity selfies rule. And baseball should not lose casual fans, because its future depends on adding new and younger devotees.
That’s why it’s interesting to note that baseball is taking some actual steps to make the game more interesting — in other words, to speed things up.
A meeting at the mound? Yawn. But clocks on a baseball field? Perhaps. Hey, other sports have them.
A recent Wall Street Journal article noted that baseball will be testing some ways to speed up play. In some Arizona Fall League games in 2014, clocks will be displayed in the dugouts to limit such things as between-inning breaks, limits on how long a pitcher can hold the ball between pitches, and length of pitching changes.
I hope Major League Baseball implements these and other measures, because it’s even to the point where I find reruns of The Big Bang Theory more interesting than most televised games. And who wants to spend all that money on a ticket, parking and overpriced food at the stadium?
Now, can I add something? Perhaps baseball and its TV partners should think about another feature — regular use of women announcers. Yes, in the booth.
It’s common to see people such as Erin Andrews and Pam Oliver do football sideline reporting, and they deliver some good insights. But if baseball wants to increase its appeal, it needs to do more along these lines. It DOES matter who delivers the news.
ESPN already uses Beth Mowins as a play-by-play announcer in college football. Networks should take heed in baseball. And if some networks are already doing it, it has escaped my attention.
Now, back to the 2014 baseball playoffs. At least a seven-game World Series would end before Halloween. There’s hope for baseball.
— What do you think about these and other baseball changes? Leave a comment below.