By Zach Guzi, Columnist
MOUNT BERRY, Ga. – Baseball is boring. A common phrase uttered by people that aren’t die-hard fans of the game. It’s too slow; the games are too long; nothing exciting ever really happens; there’s so much time in between pitches. All of these are common reasons for why people think baseball is boring. However, the bright young stars in the game are saying differently. Names like Marcus Stroman, Tim Anderson, Ozzie Albies, and Ronald Acuna Jr., are all playing with fun, and a lot of flare.
Stroman can be seen shimmying off the field after a big-time strike out, Albies and Acuna can be seen making dazzling plays in the field with gold chains and diamonds hanging off their necks. Tim Anderson can be seen throwing his bat 30 feet in the air after launching a monster homerun. This is great news for the game, right? All of these guys are adding flare to the game, making people want to watch it again, and having fun doing it. This should be great for the game. Not if you’re an old-timer in love with how the game was played 50 years ago. Not if you’re so stuck in your ways you don’t want to see the great game of baseball evolve into something even greater.
The fact of the matter is baseball is evolving. The new crop of young talent is taking over the game, and it is for the better. The only problem is all the people that remain stuck in their ways, not wanting to see a homerun pimped, not wanting to see a pitcher dance off the mound after a big-time strikeout. One may ask, how could you not want to see this? Games are so much more fun now. Well, some current players, that are on the older side feel embarrassed after giving up a moon shot and getting even more humiliated when the batter throws his bat 30 feet in the air in celebration. But you’re the one that gave up the homerun. If you don’t want to get embarrassed, don’t throw a pitch that can get launched into orbit. As a batter, if you don’t want to see the pitcher dancing off the mound after a punchout, it’s simple, don’t strikeout.
Alex Cora, former manager of the Boston Red Sox, told The Score, “Stroman competes a certain way and people don’t like it.”
It’s often taken the wrong way when Stroman shimmies off the mound after a big strikeout, and people like Cora don’t like the emotion being displayed, but this is what’s making baseball fun again. The shimmies, the pimped homeruns, they’re all part of the rebranding of baseball, and are all part of making baseball appealing to younger viewers.
Current rapper, and former teammate of Stroman at DukeUniversity, Mike Stud said on his podcast “Ya Neva Know: Ya Know what I Mean,” “if he were embraced properly, he could be a really big part of the re-branding of baseball.”
The problem is, he isn’t embraced properly. It’s guys like Stroman that are going to make baseball fun again, that are going to make the game that so many deem as boring interesting, and that are going to make the younger generations more interested in the game. Baseball viewership is declining. According to an article form Awful Announcing, written in July of 2019 by Joe Lucia, MLB local viewership was down 4% in the first half of the 2019 season. This is because these new young guys are not properly embraced. People are afraid they are going to ruin the game, when in reality, the game is going to be ruined without them. They are our last hope of drawing in a younger audience, and making baseball fun for everyone to watch again.
This isn’t the first-time people have said something is ruining baseball. A 1983 article from the Toronto Star said that drug use was ruining baseball. This was before the steroid era even began. Once the steroid era was in full swing, the conversation continued of how steroids ruined baseball. But the game kept going. It bounced out of the steroid era and evolved, and now it has the opportunity to continue to evolve, and gain back the viewership it’s lost, if people would just let it.