George Brett Is Really Wrong About Why Baseball Is Losing Fans
Baseball Icon and Kansas City Royal legend George Brett has an idea that he thinks will save baseball, yet in this case, he's dead wrong.
610 Sports Radio in Kansas City recently reported on an interview Brett gave to their sister sports station 670 The Score in Chicago when he appeared on the Parkins & Spiegel Show to talk about new White Sox manager and former Royals coach, Pedro Grifol.
Sometime during the interview, Brett detoured and mentioned that he doesn't follow baseball much outside of the Royals because he can't get the box scores of the games in newspapers.
The 610 Sports Radio article quotes Brett as saying,
"I used to love to get up in the morning, and there’s not many guys I follow in baseball on other teams, but now in order for me to do that, I’ve got to go to MLB.com, pull up box scores and I’ve got to start clicking all these frickin’ buttons. Just give me a frickin’ newspaper with all the information I need. It’s not that frickin’ hard, is it?"
Brett went on to surmise that may be why baseball is losing its popularity.
On the one hand, I love that he's having a get off my lawn moment against technology. Because sometimes I'm that guy. For example, I absolutely hate online news stories from TV stations that require me to watch their stories online instead of just reading them. If I can't catch local news from Randy or Rebehka on KSIS, I'll just read the stories they write on on our websites, I don't need the radio report.
On the other hand, with all apologies to one of the best hitters in baseball and the inspiration for Lorde's hit "Royals", you couldn't be so wrong. First, as much as we old guys might complain a little about technology. Any younger fan probably loves that they can get stats and box scores from the MLB app or a variety of other online sources.
It's also not the problem with Major League Baseball. It's games that run for three to four hours. It's hitters that can't seem to learn to hit better to get around the shift, so the league had to implement a rule. It's a weak commissioner who's the owner's lap dog. It's a season that is so long that it's November by the time the World Series ends.
Can I continue? It's a television package that largely excludes cord-cutters, makes games hard to find, and excludes people who are paying for the MLB TV package from watching in-market games and certain games playing on streaming services. It's a national TV package that's dominated by New York and Los Angeles baseball teams. It's owners that are willing to tank a season or two or five to save money. It's small market teams like our own Royals, who are bad for so many years in a row the fans give up. It's a season that starts so early there are snowouts.
Yes, baseball is addressing some of these issues. I'm excited to see if the pitch clock, larger bases, and a ban on the shift will make the game quicker and a little more exciting. I like that a guy like Joe Maddon is asking questions about how analytics is being implemented and used in the game. I also don't have a problem with expanded playoffs if it makes more teams willing to go all in, instead of tanking.
Print the box scores in the papers, there's nothing wrong with that for us old guys who'd rather look at the sports section instead of an app. Yet, that's the least of baseball's problems.