The MLB Needs Help

The MLB Needs Help

The reasons behind the fall of Americas past-time.

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Baseball has been a staple of American culture for more than a century. There was a time where the World Series was no the most watched event in the country. Not the Super Bowl, not the NBA finals or the Stanley Cup finals but baseballs championship. Unfortunately for all of the baseball purists out there, those times are long gone. The MLB has been struggling with television viewership and attendance for the past decade. If one was to tune into a Wednesday night baseball on ESPN you could see the stadium riddled with empty seats. Or the game could be blacked out due to the lack of attendance. But how has it gotten to this point? Well, there are a few reasons.

1. Pace of Play

It's the easiest criticism when it comes to the game. Forbes recorded that the average length of a game is about 2 hours and 52 minutes, and that's actually a 10-minute improvement. There are so many nuances to the game which factor into its length. Whether it's the pitcher taking the signs from the catcher, the hitter taking years to step back into the box, or when a new pitcher enters the game and gets to throw 500 warm-up pitches. Yet a lot of this stuff is unavoidable. But what is avoidable is the new replay system. The replay system was popularized by the NFL to help slow down plays and make sure that the call was correct. Naturally, every sports league is now trying to copy it and the system just doesn't translate. The problem isn't how many times plays are looked at, it's how long each replay takes. Whenever a manager challenges a play, the play gets sent to New York so an outside official can review it and make the correct call. Even some of the simplest and most obvious calls can add an extra 15 minutes to an already long affair.

2. Quality of Teams in the League

An issue the league has avoided quite well in years past but has finally caught up to them. There hasn't been a season that I can remember that has been so top heavy. It is unquestionable that this season the World Series champion will either be the Yankees, Red Sox or Astros. This trio of teams has completely dominated the rest of the league since the first pitch of the season. All three also have more than 60 wins along with the Seattle Mariners but their best player is suspended until August and they haven't sniffed the postseason in 17 strenuous seasons. It's a shame that these teams won't meet in the fall classic because their NL competition is non-existent.

Remember when I mentioned the AL having four teams with more than 60 wins? Well, the national league doesn't even have one. What also hurts the NL's chances of winning is that the teams leading their divisions have not had success in recent years. Meaning this is their first seasons of playing winning baseball and they do not have a lot of postseason experience. The Yankees went to the ALCS last year, Boston has multiple players who have played in the playoffs and a couple who play in the World Series and Houston are the defending champions and only improved their roster since. So when most of the success/coverage is alienated to these three teams, it sort of becomes dull and not very watchable. Just look at the NBA finals the last four years. Because the Cavaliers and Warriors are so stacked, you can easily predict them meeting in the championship. This season in the MLB is beginning to mirror the NBA.

3. The Season is Way Too Long

Do we really need 162 games to decide who the best teams are? I'll admit I love baseball and the length of the season doesn't irk me that much. But if you were to ask anyone else why they aren't a fan nowadays, the answer you'd most likely get is "The season is too long." And when you combine this with three-hour game lengths, your league will lose viewers fast, especially from the younger demographic.

4. The League Doesn't Market its Stars

I have a question for everyone... who is the best player in the MLB? Let me guess you had to Google it, and you shouldn't have to. Everyone knows names like Babe Ruth, Derek Jeter, Ted Williams and Barry Bonds. Because they were everywhere. They received coverage from the biggest news-outlets and were some of the best players in the league. But today it's tough for most to even recognize a player. The reason why is because the league barely markets its players. In today's world of sports football players and especially basketball players dominate the major markets. They are on all the poster, sports drink bottles and commercials. But it's not like the MLB doesn't have the resources to put their players in the spotlight. It is one of the most diverse leagues in all of the sports in terms of back round. If the MLB made an actual effort some of these players could receive worldwide exposure and recognizability. Instead, they'll just settle for the cheap cards that no one buys anymore.

Oh and one more thing. I'll save you the google search and tell you that the best player in the league is Mike Trout. Try and remember his name because he is currently on pace to become the greatest player of all time. I wouldn't want to miss out on watching him play if I were you.

Cover Image Credit:

@mlb / Instagram

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An Open Letter To My High School Cheer Coach

Thank you for everything you have taught me.
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Cheerleading was so much more than just some after school activity to me, it was my life. I might not have always wanted to go to practice or events, but cheerleading taught me so many things. One of the biggest lessons it taught me was how to work as a team and to build a bond with your team. I hated going to cheer at basketball games, but I look back now and I would give anything to be able to cheer just one more time. I would do high school over again just to get the chance to put on that uniform and cheer our team to victory.

There are a million things I could thank you for, but for now, I will just thank you for a few.

Thank you for never letting me give up. You always pushed me to be the best I could be. You would tell me when I was doing something wrong or compliment me when I did something right. There were days I just wanted to walk out and be done, but you telling me I could do it made everything worth it. You didn't have to be there to coach and be away from your family, but you were.

Thank you for teaching me how to work with others. You showed me that cheerleading is so much more than a sport; it is a family. The bond the squad forms is strong. We might not have always gotten along, but at the end of the day, we were a family. We were sisters. I met some of my best friends at cheerleading. We might not talk very much now, but at the time, we were the best of friends and I am thankful for those memories.

Thank you for never letting us fail, or fall at that -- literally. You told us we could do it even when we were all worn out and over everything. When we all wanted to just be done with competition, you pushed us and told us we could do it, we just needed a little more practice. You made practices fun. I will never forget the days we would all just bust up laughing because of something you or one of us did.

Thank you for taking time away from your family to be with us and to teach us. You didn't have to take that time, but you did. You cared enough about us to spend endless hours with us, pretty much everyday of the week. You even had sleepovers with us. Your family basically became part of out cheer family and they were all so welcoming.

Most of all, thank you for just being you.

Thank you.

Thank you.

Thank you.

To most, cheerleading is just some simple activity, but to me, it is a challenging sport.

To those of you who still have the chance to cheer, enjoy every minute of it because when it's gone, you'll want nothing more than to do it all over again. Go out there and give it your everything. Cheer your heart out.

Cover Image Credit: Breonnah Carden

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Will Bryce Harper And Manny Machado Ever Sign Anywhere At All?

So please, Harper and Machado, put us out of our misery and just pick a team and sign somewhere already.

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As the MLB offseason is coming to a close, I can't help but feel like it has barely started. Why? Pitchers and catchers report to their respective spring training camps in less than two weeks, and many free agents have yet to sign with a team.

Needless to say, it has been an unusual baseball offseason. This offseason has left me with so many unanswered questions. Even though my beloved New York Mets have made many respectable signings, and trades, this offseason, I am still left pondering the fate of other major league teams.

Where will the superstars that everyone can't stop talking about, Bryce Harper and Manny Machado both 26 and together possessing 10 All-Star berths and 61 career bWAR sign? Will they join a rival team of mine? Or bolster a team in another division's line-up? Where will the rest of the free agent's sign?

Trade rumors are spreading like wildfire, and yet, baseball fans including myself are left with no definite answers. Yes, apps like MLB At Bat and Bleacher Report may be blowing up our phones with alleged rumors and clickbait written by esteemed baseball writers, but no progress has been made.

So please, Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, put us out of our misery and just pick a team and sign somewhere already.

Regardless of the recent release of the MLB: The Show 19 Cover, Bryce Harper did not announce where he was going to sign. Though Phillies fans are believed to have Harper in the bag, no official news has been released. Honestly, the suspense is killing me!

Philadelphia met with Harper in his native Las Vegas to pitch to Harper, and the pitch allegedly went so well that the ball club decided to focus solely on Harper instead of both Harper and Machado.

Other teams such as the Chicago White Sox and the Los Angeles Dodgers have each shown a great amount of interest in both free agents Harper and Machado.

The Chicago White Sox have a stockpile of prospects and have kept payrolls low. They've also been collecting members of Machado's inner circle including Jon Jay, whom he trains with over the offseason and Yonder Alonso, his brother in law.

Could these all be signs that he could be going to the White Sox? According to ESPN's Buster Olney, the White Sox gave Machado a formal offer of $175 million over 7 years. Yet, no further progress has been made on that front.

The Los Angeles Dodgers had previously acquired Machado from a trade with the Baltimore Orioles. Machado even said he loved playing in Los Angeles during the second half of the 2018 season, so why wouldn't they try to bring him back? They should be in on Harper too, which would be more logical for the Dodgers, since they need a superstar bat and can accommodate his salary.

Though Harper has received some incredible offers, some forget that he could stay with the Nationals, a ball club that he has been a part of for 17 years, after all. Personally, I wouldn't be surprised if he stayed put and didn't go to another team at all.

The New York Yankees who were said to be interested in Machado never made a formal offer to him, and never truly seemed interested at all. The Chicago Cubs, who were said to be interested in Harper never made an offer either, despite Kris Bryant being one of Harper's friends, and Harper having a dog named Wrigley.

Most recently, there have been said to be mystery teams in on Machado, including the San Diego Padres and who knows who else. Obviously, this offseason is far from over and who knows, maybe these two won't even report to spring training after all.

This new trend of free agents waiting to sign with teams is a hint to all of us invested in the baseball world that something deep within the offseason free agency is broken. Hopefully somehow, someway, we will get the answer to the question: Will Bryce Harper and Manny Machado ever sign anywhere at all?

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