Take Me Out for a Pat Down
The lords of baseball giveth and the lords of baseball taketh away. This season the Major League Baseball decided that games were taking too long and fans would prefer a national pastime that had more action and less contemplation.
Baseball is a sport that honors tradition, so any effort to speed up the game would have to take place at the margins. There would be no movement to cut back to seven innings.
Instead, batters are no longer allowed to change batting gloves between pitches or leave the batter’s box to perform an interpretive batting dance before returning to the plate.
Back at the mound, pitchers were encouraged to get on the field and get ready to throw in less than 2 minutes and 25 seconds, while managers were allowed to signal an instant replay challenge from the dugout, instead of running up to the umpire, kicking dirt on his shoes and demanding he schedule an appointment with an optometrist.
Even better, these new rule tweaks are working so well the average time to complete a game has dropped by 8 minutes.
Unfortunately, while returning 8 minutes of your life with one hand, baseball is deducting 30 minutes with the other. Beginning this season, all baseball fans, with the exception of those attending games at Wrigley Field, will be doing the metal detector shuffle before they are allowed to enter the stadium.
This means baseball fans will have to factor in the added annoyance of performing in a security theatre production before they can see the game. Football fans have suffered through this for years, but they only attend six to eight games a year. Baseball fans can attend many more games during a season, but you have to wonder how many will stop attending if baseball continues to imitate football.
The average NFL fan is limited on what food, what drinks and even what kind of blanket he can bring in the stadium. The list of banned items in football is beginning to approach the length of the list of banned substances.
One of the attractions of baseball has been that it can be an impulse sport: There are enough games that a fan can attend one on the spur of the moment and enjoy an afternoon in the sun without the D–Day like planning involved in attending one of Roger Goodell’s regimented mega–events.
Sports franchise owners never tire of emphasizing how important it is for fans to come to the stadium to experience the event in person, yet for some reason they keep making changes that convince fans it’s easier to see the game on TV in their own metal–detector free living room.
Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan. He is president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation and chairman of the League of American Voters. Mike is an in-demand speaker with Premiere. Read more reports from Michael Reagan — Go Here Now.