By: Riley Suszkiw
To me, baseball is more than just a game. It is a major part of my life, and something that I have always had to keep me busy. Most recently, it has helped me get into college. The feeling of hitting a baseball has never gotten old. The ping it makes and watching the ball fly has always been my favorite part of the game. Rounding the bases and being able to roll around in the dirt isn’t too bad, either. The excitement never left, and I like to think that it will never leave for anyone who is choosing to play baseball, regardless of the level.
It’s disappointing, then, from a fan’s perspective, to see the excitement of the game taper off, most recently evident in the decreased viewership in the 2022 World Series that saw the Houston Astros defeat the Philadelphia Phillies.
There is no doubt that viewership in Major League Baseball has decreased in recent years. As a spectator and player, I want the game to be popular and exciting. Today's game is just too slow and boring.
Baseball has no time limit or guaranteed end time. Theoretically a game could go on forever. With no quarters or halves, the game moves at its own speed and today's game is moving slower than previous years.
In recent years, the average time of a game has jumped from 2.5 hours to 3 according to statista.com. A very drastic jump in time makes things far more difficult and honestly boring to watch.
I realize that in today’s age of TikTok and shorter video clips on social media, no one wants to sit down and watch a three-hour game when they could watch a 30-second clip of the highlights of the game. Baseball's tempo needs to speed up and keep things interesting.
The MLB realizes this. They have tried to make the games shorter and more appealing to younger viewers by forcing pitchers to reduce time in between pitches. Umpires now encourage batters to step back into the box and not take their time.
League officials may think that quickening the gameplay may help fix their problems with viewership, but I think there is more to it.
The game today seems to favor the pitchers, which makes watching strikeout after strikeout lead to boredom. No one wants to watch a game full of strikeouts and ground balls, opposed to home runs and big hits that bring excitement and viewers.
It’s not just Major League Baseball, but baseball as a whole that needs to be more fan focused. If the younger generation of baseball players focus on it more, then in the long term more people will watch baseball in the future.
In an attempt to bring excitement to the game and keep fans engaged, the Savannah Bananas have added a new spin to the average game of baseball.
On its website, the Bananas’ motto reads “We make baseball fun. Fans First. Entertain Always.”
Since debuting on June 26, 2020, Banana Ball – think professional baseball meets a carnival – has steadily increased in popularity, especially due to its presence on social media and its viral videos. And in the two months since the Bananas announced their 2023 World Tour schedule, they’ve had more than 250,000 from around the world join their pre-sale alert list.
And all it took was taking a functioning product (baseball) and connecting it to those who keep the game in business (the fans).
The rules that govern Banana Ball are purely for fun, but they keep the game moving quickly and keep the crowd entertained for the duration of the two-hour event. If the objective of Major League Baseball and all professional sports is to entertain, then perhaps the exhibition game holds more weight, especially because of baseball’s
As a player, my views on baseball will never change. Hitting a baseball will always have the same satisfaction. But playing a sport and watching a sport sometimes live in different worlds. I am hopeful that some change can come to professional baseball to create a product that draws more interest and generates more excitement.