Well, I promised that I would always try to find new ways to thank you for your support and friendship here at JoeBlogs — thank you again, by the way — so today, I’m announcing another new series. I think you’ll like it a lot, but I will admit, it is a little bit hard to explain. I’ve already had a hard time getting people to really understand what this will be. So bear with me.
The idea is: Throughout this offseason, I will be writing (and, I think, doing some audio as well) on this subject:
What is the future of baseball?
Right away, when I tell people my plan, they immediately groan and think that this is another of those tiresome “How can we fix baseball?” things. I understand the instinct. But that’s not the idea, or anyway, it’s not the idea the way I have it dancing around in my mind. I don’t think baseball needs “fixing.” And neither do you. I posed this question on Twitter.
You are named Baseball Commissioner. Which of these is closest to your point of view of the game.— Joe Posnanski (@JPosnanski) October 30, 2018
As you can see, almost none of you think baseball needs a complete makeover. But most of you think the game could use some tweaking. What kind of tweaks? Where does baseball go from here? How does it stay true to its beloved past and also move into an exciting future? What is the role of analytics in all this? What is the role of tradition? What should the game look like? Feel like? How do we get more kids to love the game?
One of the smartest people I know — in or out of baseball — told me not too long ago that what we need to do is come together and ask: “What do we want baseball to be?” And that includes everything. Do we want more triples? How would the ideal game be paced? What would uniforms look like? Are there too many strikeouts now? Are there too many pitchers? Should players be more demonstrative? Less?
I see this series as an exploration. I’m hoping to talk with a lot of really smart people about where baseball is, and where it can go. Of course, it won’t be worth much if there are not concrete suggestions for improving the game. But I would hope that the point isn’t just to offer up more of my ideas for getting rid of the intentional walk. (Oh, you KNOW that will be in there.)
The idea is to create a more engrossing conversation about baseball. There are some things we know. Attendance is flat over the last 20 years. Television ratings are difficult to read — in part because the television landscape has changed so dramatically — but there are some concerns there. Baseball participation is on the rise in all age groups. Major league games are much longer than they were a couple of decades ago. There’s less, but harder, contact. At the moment, there’s very little parity and a lot of incentive to lose big now in order to win later.
These are things we know. But where is it all going?
Let’s find out together.
Next — Chapter 1: Where we are.