MLB’s Issue: Growing the Game

Max Zerbato, Student Journalist

The MLB has completely lost it’s status as America’s Pastime and is gaining less and less interest from young kids all over America. Why is this? Well many can make the argument that there is nothing wrong with the game of baseball as a sport but that the problem is how the MLB endorses and spreads it.

    Unlike any other Sport baseball has these “ Unwritten rules”, or in other words, ways to play the game that if you don’t follow could result in penalty or getting thrown at. While baseball does this and continues to not modernize the game, other sports like Basketball and Football make it easier to like them by endorsing celebration and fun. The main reason for the lack of success when it comes to baseball is Commisioner, Robert Manfred.

    Manfred has done a poor job for the last four years after taking the job as being the commissioner of Baseball. The Houston Astros, who cheated in 2017 to win the championship, recieved zero punishment when it comes to suspensions. But players get suspended for throwing at them for cheating and manipulating the sport. How does that make sense? The MLB needs to understand what the real problems are and what are not problems.

    For instance Trevor Bauer, Pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds, is one of the main players that tries to grow the game whether it be his vlogs on Youtube, his account online, and even his clothing brand. But for a lot of the things he does the MLB will create guidelines strictly to block him and other players trying to make the game fun. For example, Joe Kelly got suspended for throwing at Carlos Correa and starting a bench clearing brawl. After this situation Bauer decided to put “ free Joe Kelly” on his cleats. The MLB warned him about doing so stating that it could cause a suspension or other penalties that could hurt Bauer.

    There is one problem with this though, nothing Bauer did or put on the cleats was against the guidelines of the MLB. What was the problem was they saw Bauer post this on social media causing it to go viral, which they did not like. Why though? Wouldn’t they like their game to be spread across the world?

   In a CBS article by Mike Axisa, he states how, “The ametuer draft was cut from 40 rounds to five rounds to save money.” He later states that, “The league is taking opportunities away, it’s now harder to get drafted and harder to keep a minor league spot”.

    This is showing how a lot of the time the MLB is all about their money and does not really care about successfully growing the game to help reach the status is was onc at in the United States. The draft should not be cut that drastically because of a pandemic for money reasons, kids should be able to fuffil their goals if they deserve it.

   In another article by Sports Illustrated, they argue, “The situation has gotten bad enough where the Baseball season is threatened by a disagreement over economics than a global pandemic.” While This article was a long time ago on June 3rd, and the MLB did still play a full season, it still applies to how the league is lacking in attempts to grow the sport.

    First off regarding their disagreements, the MLB never seems to have any types of plans as it pertains to stuff the affects their league. The reason the MLB took so long to start back up again, after being shut down for the pandemic, is because they could not agree on player salaries, how many games would be played, where they would be played and much more. These types of things should not hold fans back from watching their favorite sport.

    How can the MLB grow the game in a successful manner when they don’t even allow for fans to watch the game because of their own incappablitiy to set up and clear and efficient plan to get back to playing. I can’t imagine how unattractive this would be to someone that does not watch the sport or care about it, as well as new people trying to get in to the sport and learn about it.

   Later in the Sports Illustrated article they also stated something else that stuck with me, “The message the MLB is sending is they’d rather guarantee their wallets don’t take too big a hit rather than allow their game to sell itself and possibly grow the game to a wider audience.” This right here is where I think the MLB has messed up the most out of all the terrible decisions they have mad recently.

    The MLB has made it seem to almost anyone out there, that they care more about money than the game itself or the actual fans of the game. The owners are constantly in disagreements with players because they are greedy over money, even though they are the ones that make upwards of a billion dollars and they are not the ones putting in the work on the field. They have rules in place during the first six years of a player’s career, so that teams can manipulate how they use players to end up paying less money even though they could be the best player. This just doesn’t make sense and honestly isn’t fair.

    At the end of the day the pandemic should be the first priority of every league and i’m sure most people get that, but the MLB has to to do a better job of growing their league before they lose all of their fans and young players. They need to stop holding the game back by penalizing players that make the game fun, instead of the players and teams that cheat. Lastly, they need to create consistent plans to follow for future problems that come up because fans, players and teams are getting tired of the complacency within the league and the people that are currently running it.