Commissioner Rob Manfred has made it a priority in his tenure to speed the pace of play up in Major League Baseball. He’s instituted a mound visit limit per game, and has reduced the amount of time between innings to two minutes and five seconds.
We’ve also seen a pitch clock experiment go into effect throughout the minor leagues, which seems all but destined for the Majors. But why implement these changes to America’s pastime?
One of the main reasons is baseball has made it a focus to draw a younger audience to the sport. The average viewer of Major League Baseball is 57 years of age. Just 7% of MLB’s audience is below 18 years of age.
This is significantly older than the other major sports that baseball competes with. The NFL (50), NHL (49), and NBA (42) all have considerably younger fanbases. The MLB sees the issue they have on the horizon, but are they making changes in the correct ways?
We are in the midst of witnessing perhaps the greatest generation of young talent in major league history, led by Mike Trout, Mookie Betts, Aaron Judge, Manny Machado, Bryce Harper, Francisco Lindor, José Ramírez, Juan Soto, Ronald Acuña, Javier Báez, Alex Bregman, Carlos Correa, and a number of other players who deserve mention. Trout is the elder, having just turned 27.
We aren’t just seeing a youth movement on the field. We’ve also seen it in the dugout. Teams have hired numerous managers with little to no managerial experience, and relatively young when compared to the average manager’s age. Kevin Cash, Alex Cora, Aaron Boone, Gabe Kapler, Craig Counsell and Andy Green all fit the bill, each in their early to mid-40’s.
With such an emphasis on youth, new-age analytics, and an overall change/evolution to our game, why must we be stuck listening to the old, tired, and just downright wrong takes of the past?
Just in the past few weeks, multiple incidents occurred in the booth that simply don’t align with the new age of Major League Baseball. It’s important that we rid ourselves of the outdated, old school approach.
We’ve had enough of the “get off my lawn” and “old man yells at cloud” takes.
Keith Hernandez – New York Mets Broadcaster
This is what Keith Hernandez had to say about Urena hitting Acuna. ???????????? pic.twitter.com/xeLszYDpic
— Kris Venezia (@KVenezia1) August 16, 2018
The Mets are terrible on the field, but it appears they are even worse in the booth. Hernandez asserts that Acuña deserved to be thrown at for being too good at baseball.
Not for breaking an unwritten rule, or a takeout slide, or showboating. Nope, Hernandez believes Acuña deserved his beanball due to the fact that he previously hit 3 homeruns in his series versus Miami.
Hernandez also seems completely unconcerned with Acuña’s personal well-being after being plunked by a 97 mph fastball directly on the elbow.
Can a broadcaster seriously say that a player deserved his injury in any other sport and still keep your job?
Joe Simpson – Atlanta Braves Broadcaster
Joe Simpson and Chip Caray call Dodgers players an embarrassment for their batting practice attire. https://t.co/OX6TpYccFY
— Chad Moriyama (@ChadMoriyama) July 29, 2018
Joe Simpson made headlines less than 2 weeks apart. He had the nerve to complain about the Dodgers BP attire pregame, which consisted of blue t-shirts.
He made it a point to call out Chase Utley of all people, who was wearing a K Cancer shirt. Simpson called it “embarrassing” and “unprofessional.”
— Rob Tornoe (@RobTornoe) August 8, 2018
But perhaps his biggest blunder was to insinuate Juan Soto is lying about his age. It’s almost as if Joe can’t believe a player so young can be so good.
Ronald Acuña must be lying about his age too, then, right Joe?
Jeff Francoeur – Atlanta Braves Color Commentator
— Hamboned (@FakeJohnHammond) August 13, 2018
Ah, the dreaded home run. You’re better than this, Jeff.
It appears Joe Simpson has already rubbed off on his peers in a negative way.
What’s the worst piece of commentary you’ve heard during a baseball game? Comment below.