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MLB is blowing a perfect opportunity to gain new (and old) fans

(VAUGHN RIDLEY/GETTY IMAGES)

(VAUGHN RIDLEY/GETTY IMAGES)

Baseball is near the very bottom on my list of sports I take pleasure in watching, but I definitely would have given it a chance during a nationwide quarantine. Unfortunately, Major League Baseball didn’t seem to understand – or care – about the opportunity it missed out when they initially lowballed players with steep salary cuts.

From what I understand, the MLB has refused to give the players what they want, which is a full, prorated salary. Even in the most recent offer that was reported on Friday, the league office maxed out the offer at 80 percent of the prorated salaries. The players rightfully want their money paid-in-full.

I won’t pretend to sit here and know anything about baseball, because I really don’t. I played a few years of T-ball growing up, but I was relegated to the outfield (which I eventually learned was reserved for players who the coach didn’t want near the ball). I quickly shifted sports to basketball and soccer and never got back into baseball as a result. Maybe the poor the taste left in my mouth is due to my own contempt for a game that I was terrible at, but it’s also one that simply doesn’t bring me much entertainment when I’m sitting on my couch. Sure, I’ll turn on Game 7 of the World Series, but that’s still asking a lot for someone who has his living room setup to broadcast three live NBA games at the same damn time. I have no issues with people that watch or enjoy baseball, it’s just simply not for me.

Over the last decade or so, the thought of turning on an MLB game has never really crossed my mind. But if it was on my TV right now, or even in the prior months of April or May when very few sporting events were going on, I would turn it on. And I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that. The Last Dance is all anyone talked about for five consecutive Sundays. Nearly 6 million people tuned in to watch Tiger Woods and Tom Brady play a round of golf. Baseball could have easily filled the sports void and non-traditional fans would have been much more likely to tune in – including myself. I’m not saying I’d become a die-hard fan and root for the Cincinnati Reds (I at least know better than that) but during a time when nothing else was happening, I would have tried to pay attention.

The MLB could have been the first major sports league to return amidst the coronavirus pandemic and they’d have a content-starved audience waiting for them. The season typically begins in late March; now a July start feels like the earliest possibility. By then, soccer could be back in full swing with basketball and hockey not far behind. At that point, baseball will completely lose my interest.

The point of this post isn’t to show how I’m not a fan of baseball, but how I – and many others – was more than willing to give the MLB a chance and they couldn’t take advantage of it. It’s not just people like myself, either. What about all of the fans that baseball might have lost over the decades because of constant strikes and steroid use?

The MLB had an opportunity to haul in a new generation of fans and they blew it.

Article written by Zack Geoghegan

Recruiting reporter for KSR. Follow me on Twitter: @ZGeogheganKSR

12 Comments for MLB is blowing a perfect opportunity to gain new (and old) fans



  1. BigBlueFoo42777
    8:11 pm June 12, 2020 Permalink

    I very seriously doubt you would ever watch a baseball game for the simple fact that you dont like care about or understand baseball.



  2. UKLugo
    8:14 pm June 12, 2020 Permalink

    I love baseball and I totally agree. The MLB owners have made a mockery of these “negotiations” and have wasted a great opportunity.



  3. Han
    8:25 pm June 12, 2020 Permalink

    MLB owners are trying to make it look like the baseball players are balking over how many million dollars they’re getting, when it’s pretty clear it’s the owners who are trying to take advantage of the players.



    • Catscats23
      11:54 pm June 12, 2020 Permalink

      I tend to side with the owners. Why should they pay full pro-rated salary if the are going to lose 100% of ticket sales even for games they have to pay players a full salary? The players and owners should both share in that post revenue. But I don’t feel sorry for any of them. They should divide profit equally



  4. UKFanSC
    9:09 pm June 12, 2020 Permalink

    The way you start to like baseball is to get into fantasy sports. It brings relevance to every at bat.



    • terwilliger
      9:15 pm June 12, 2020 Permalink

      Or just play it growing up. It’s only the most perfect game ever invented, and our national pastime.



    • UKFanSC
      12:01 pm June 13, 2020 Permalink

      We all played growing up. Hell I started at centerfield on my high school team, so it’s not lack of familiarity or respect for the game…..but playing it and watching it (for 2.5 hours) can be difficult for some. Very slow game.



  5. Lip Man 1
    9:17 pm June 12, 2020 Permalink

    Consider:
    *The owners made an agreement with the players towards the end of March…now they want to redo it.

    * The owners have been making historically large profits the past few years according to Forbes Business.

    * The owners are using the “luxury tax” as a quasi-salary cap.

    * The owners are manipulating service time keeping guys in the minors longer to gain more advantages regarding arbitration and free agency.

    *A new labor deal has to be agreed upon since the current one expires after the 2021 season. A number of players have already used the word “strike” because of the factors I’ve already listed.

    The players DO NOT and SHOULD NOT be pressured into agreeing on anything under the current circumstances and with the virus still raging (Oregon rolled back their opening-up today and Houston has warned its citizens that a new stay at home order may be a possibility as hospitals get slammed) and social unrest across the country baseball and sports in general SHOULD NOT BE PLAYED not yet anyway.



  6. Shredder
    11:55 pm June 12, 2020 Permalink

    The owners had a contract with players that they are supposed to pay a guaranteed salary. Players initially agreed to a pro-rated salary over the number of games played. When it was announced that games wouldn’t have fans, the owners realized they were going to lose money every game supposedly, so they tried to decrease the number of regular season games played to around 50 and increase the number of playoff teams and games. It was a dumb move on the owners “anonymously” making the negotiations public.

    The players are right to be upset about being asked to give up more since that first agreement pro-rating salaries. With that said, the MLBPA holds a lot of power. Guaranteed salaries aren’t going to happen in 2021 negotiations. Service time is too long before players are eligible for free agency as well. The luxury tax, minor league system, etc…it’s all going to be interesting how it turns out. As for this year, they’ll play. It’s a game of chicken at this point though. Who will blink first?



  7. panicpat
    1:58 am June 13, 2020 Permalink

    I hope they don’t play



  8. SillyW4bbit
    9:46 am June 13, 2020 Permalink

    “I’m not saying I’d become a die-hard fan and root for the Cincinnati Reds (I at least know better than that) ”

    The Reds spent big in free agency and have a solid looking roster. They could have been in a position to win it all. Save your digs for sports you actually know something about.



  9. Megan
    12:10 pm June 13, 2020 Permalink

    I’ve been watching replays of the Braves’ 2019 season on Fox Sports South, and I swear they never lose a game! It’s true. They must have been the best team in the history of sport. I suggest Zak watch tonight’s game. If they get down to their last out, I just feel they’re going to find some way to pull out the victory. Most. exciting. baseball. ever.