What Major League Baseball Can Learn From the Colleges

What Major League Baseball Can Learn From the Colleges
  • Opening Intro -

    My family and I will be tuning in to ESPN this weekend to watch some baseball, but we won’t be watching the Yankees, Nationals or the Braves play.

    Instead, we’ll be checking our T.V. schedules and watching at least one of four games scheduled as the 2011 College World Series gets underway.

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There are some important differences between major league baseball and the college level, including the type of baseball bats used. Wooden bats are used by the majors, aluminum bats are the choice of the colleges. The real differences between the two levels has nothing to do with bats, but everything to do with how the game is approached. Let’s take a look at what major league baseball can learn from the colleges.

Give fans the players — On the college level, the fans can reach out and touch their favorite players. Literally. That was something professional baseball used to make possible, but the interaction between the stars and the gawkers has diminished considerably. Certainly, pre-game autograph signings can help, but they’re difficult for people to get to who have to slog through traffic. After game meet ups can help.

Give players the fans — MLB has lost the trust of a lot of fans. Sure, attendance is strong at many parks, but the drug problems of the last decade have made everyone in the stands a cynic. It is assumed that any player who has a break out year has either juiced the ball or juiced himself. Pro players have lost perspective of the game and are now controlled by statistics and a slave to an outrageous salary structure. There is something to be said of players who take to the mound for no pay and many weeks after school has ended for the year.

Make it worth following — The pro season is too long, dragged out by an extended post season that goes through the month of October, when football season is at its peak. Certainly, baseball has heard some of the grumblings about games stretching into November, but the series is still too late. And, games are impossibly long — contests that were over in under two hours now take three, sometimes four hours to end.

Bring back the mystique — Perhaps it is the extended post season where three sets of series are played that has change pro baseball. Before the days of expansion, the winner of the American League played the winner of the National League for the world series. Maybe professional baseball should invite each of the teams to one location to duke it out for 10 to 12 days just as they do in Omaha. At least the season would be over by October 12.

Will major league baseball make some more changes to bring the game back to the fans? Probably not. With money driving the game at a level far higher than what you find on the CWS level, the incentive to change just isn’t there. That’s too bad, but we can dream now, can’t we?

Further Reading

Omaha Prepares to Host College World Series at New Ballpark

Road to Omaha Spots Claimed by 8

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Categories: Collegiate Sports