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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

MLB could be in trouble

Major League Baseball’s opening day was supposed to be last Thursday, but we all know that the season is currently suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As of now, a date for the season to kick things off is still unknown. The hope is to begin in June, and then shorten the amount of games that take place in order to still hold the playoffs October. While there definitely is a positive to this, the negatives absolutely outweigh them. 
Let’s start with the good news. For the better half of the 2000s, baseball has been struggling to retain its popularity, largely due to excessively slow pace of play, leading to long games, and an even longer 162-game season. Each year there are talks of not only implementing a pitch clock, but also shortening the season by shaving off some games. Usually that means a 144-game season, but it has even been suggested at times to go down to as little as 126 games. Well, although by default, the MLB is going to get its wish. One way or another, the season is going to be considerably shortened. As previously stated, an official start date has yet to be set, and that is what the number of games played will really depend on. The NFL is proof that the model “less is more” is absolutely the truth. Pitchers will be much healthier come playoff time, which makes for more competitive games and different strategies. 
Now for the bad news. Personally, while I do love opening day, baseball does not begin for me until the NBA and NHL postseasons come to an end. I basically put the MLB on hold until about the second week in June, and I know that there are a lot of people who are with me. So, here is the problem. NBA teams have roughly 17 to 18 games regular season games remaining on their schedules, while NHL teams have 12 to 13. Both of their postseasons run from mid-April to mid-June. That is a full two months, a considerably large amount of time. Also, April, May, and June are fairly busy months. Graduations, job applications, the list goes on…but people still follow the NBA and NHL with a close eye. America has never seen the playoffs for these two sports take place in the summer. When life is generally stress free, people have time on their hands, they will now most likely have two postseasons to watch (assuming the seasons do resume and are not canceled). As far as baseball goes, I do not think it wants any part of competing with basketball and hockey. Especially not during its most important time of its year. With both the NBA and NHL postseasons going on during the heart of the MLB season, baseball could take a huge hit ratings-wise. Its ratings have been trending down for multiple years now, while the NBA’s have been skyrocketing. Putting them up against each other could hurt the MLB to a large extent. 
With all of that said, one thing that is in baseball’s favor is all of the shuffling around that was done this offseason. Mookie Betts is now in Los Angeles, while Gerrit Cole is in New York. Not to mention the hatred that has now been built for the Houston Astros.  For the first time in a long time, it seems like there are some really interesting storylines that are all going to come into play. A big part of that is the fact that this was the first exciting off-season in a while. Players were traded, players were signed, and of course, some teams cheated. Who knows when the 2020 season will start, but let’s really hope baseball can withstand the NBA and the NHL.