Sunday, August 31, 2014

Column: Stadiums Not the Best Way to Fix Baseball

Trib guest columnist Joe Brown, who has contributed some terrific perspective on the Rays' Stadium Saga in the past, penned an op-ed this weekend that advocated MLB first speed up the pace of play, rather than worry about building new stadiums:
If the Rays get a new ballpark before 2027, location will be the key no matter on which side of the bay it’s built. And as trends for new stadiums have shown, attendance doesn’t improve dramatically after the new-car-smell effect wears off, usually in the second year.

The first thing the new commish should tackle is increasing the pace of games. The average nine-inning game now takes 3:08, up from 2:48 in 2004 and 2:25 in 1963. Young people today, many of whom are used to speed and have short attention spans, aren’t going to sit through many three-hour contests. And it wouldn’t hurt to start World Series games a little earlier so kids in the Eastern time zone can watch on a school night.

As for the Rays ballpark issue, we’ll handle that locally — unless the MLB wants to provide the funds for a new one and compensate the city of St. Petersburg for the “ironclad stadium lease” it has with the team.


  1. Shaving between innings TV commercial time isn't going to happen, rolling back post-season start times aren't going to happen and changing the life-long habits of performers isn't going to happen without labor unrest that the commish has been giving away the store to avoid.
    The first two are tied into (almighty) franchise revenues, can't and won't change.
    Changing the pace of games will have to start at the Little League level and work it's way up. Should only take about 15 years to shave a few minutes off the average. Seen how well radical changes at the MLB level air out - catchers having play at the plate calls changes because they "blocked" the plate and the time consuming play call challenges that can leave all standing around for up to 5+ minutes at a time.
    "Speeding up the game" has more to do with the gnat-brained attention span these days than actual pace of the game.
    MLB is worried that they won't be able to suck the same dollars from those born since 1995 as they have from the old-timers who seem to be more patient.

  2. I think the simplest way to change pacing is somehow encouraging more pitching changes to be between innings. Ie. Pitchers starting an inning need to face 3 batters. My biggest issue is sitting through 2 pitching changes in an inning, to get the lefty to face 1 batter. drives me crazy. I understand why its done, but I hate it.