Just a question — do you know when MLB Opening Day is? No, seriously, without looking, when is baseball back? Have you heard or seen any advertising? I sure as hell haven’t. Coming out of a year of isolation and quarantine, where we as the sports fans are clamoring for sports back on our screens, you would think “America’s Pastime” would be screaming from the mountaintop that it would soon return.
So when does the baseball season get underway? Exactly one week from today. What a missed opportunity, MLB.
Not only is major league baseball essentially electing not to advertise at all, but they are missing an amazing opportunity to change the tone and the view of the league to the general public. Major League Baseball continues to be wrapped up in white Americana, apple pie, and hot dogs, and would rather play “Centerfield” by John Fogerty than try to be new, fresh, youthful, and/or exciting. Here’s an alternative option:
Different, right? Imagine a baseball league that promotes — and stay with me here, because it’s pretty radical — fun. You have a league full of superstar talents but no rock stars like you see in the NBA and the NFL, and that falls squarely on the shoulders of a league that is attempting to cling to an outdated identity instead of embracing hip hop culture and individuality from it’s players.
Aside from (and maybe even including) playoff baseball, I’m not sure I’ve ever had more fun watching baseball than when we were treated to the 2017 World Baseball Classic. I had fun because the players had fun. They were passionate, they were loud, they were flashy, we were celebrating their nationalities and cultures — it was everything that the MLB isn’t. Just look at this cut-up of Javier Baez, including the coolest thing I’ve ever seen on a baseball diamond — him celebrating a tag at second before even catching the ball and making a no-look tag.
This is how baseball should look. The days of hot dogs and apple pie are done. If Major League Baseball wants to appeal to a new generation of sports fans (as opposed to the same fans that listen to ragtime music while eating their 4:00 PM early bird special), we need passion, excitement, and not only an ability for players to express themselves, but a spotlight that celebrates it.