MLB: The Struggle with Identity and Injury

It’s Spring Training and, once again, my beloved Texas Rangers are at risk of of starting off the season damaged and in a weakened state with the possibility of our expensive ace pitcher, Yu Darvish, in need of the dreaded Tommy John surgery. A surgery that can lay a pitcher out for anywhere from six months to a year. A trend that is seemingly unavoidable with pitchers nowadays with an average 18.6 pitchers per year going under the knife since 2000, has led to questions wide and far regarding player safety and health from pitch counts to inning limits even talk of lowering the mound to reduce strain on the elbow.

Simultaneously, Major League Baseball (MLB) has been struggling to retain a young audience with an average fan age of 55 (the only sport with an older fan base is golf) according to an April 2014 Bloomberg report. The MLB has been attempting to speed up the game to address the complaint that games are too long and too slow. In talking with some of my non-baseball-watching-friends, they have continually expressed how there are flat out too many games.

Which brings me to my thesis. Baseball needs to shorten the season to 81 games. Cut it in half. Play every other day. There is no need for back to back games and people get tired of watching baseball games by the All-Star break. Here is why a shortened and spread out season will help MLB’s players and draw in a younger crowd:

  1. Playing less games means less strain on the players who play during the hottest months of the year. Rest will keep your pitching arms fresh, batting back’s strong, catcher’s knees limber. With a healthy roster, each team will be able to field a better team which makes it more interesting to watch.
  2. With a spread out season, pitchers will get more rest than ever. This means we won’t need more than 4 or 5 starting pitchers. Each of the best pitchers throws once a week. It will always be a show down between good teams and their best pitchers. This also means a better bullpen, better closers, and all around better games.
  3. The emphasis will be on the week long series and making sure to win each one to insure a place in the playoffs. each series becomes a bigger event and a loss is much more devastating. The reasons football is so popular is because it only has one game a week. It’s easy keep up with when most of us are off on Sundays and have the overwhelming feeling that each game matters. If the MLB put emphasis on how important each series is and how few there are, it would make for a more intriguing event where young people will not get worn out like they do on 162 games.

With this basic layout of a plan, we can solve the identity crisis which would drive ratings, attendance, and player health all at once. It’s highly unlikely that this will ever be the case. So in the meantime, enjoy the injury talks and seeing AAA ballplayers taking ace roles when they aren’t ready. Enjoy seeing teams take years to rebuild, as the Rangers seem to be stuck doing. Enjoy the lack of urgent competition that keeps the young people from thinking that each game is important. I try to stay a romantic tradtionalist when it comes to baseball, but the times have come to show that baseball has to evolve of watch its fan base die off of old age.

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One Year Married

I am two weeks away from my first anniversary of being married to my wonderful wife. As much as I am not a fan of lists, this is the best way to fit this all in one blog. Here is what I have learned in a year (in no particular order):

  • Happy wife does mean happy life: If you love and care for someone enough, you want them to be happy. Sometimes that means going out with her friends, letting her pick the movie, cleaning up without being reminded, cooking her favorite meal, etc… It isn’t a sacrifice making her happy in turn makes you happy.
  • I am the one who steals the covers: I thought it was her, but it isn’t. She’s taking back what is rightfully hers.
  • If you don’t feel like cooking, don’t critique the way she’s doing it. That is a fast track to an empty belly. Don’t like how she chops veggies? You have two options, step in and do them yourself or shut the hell up. Complaining only leads to a fight and no food in the belly.
  • She will not love everything you do. I will not watch the Bachelor, she doesn’t like wrestling. She hates apples, I hate bananas. She thinks root beer is disgusting, I don’t like sweet tea. Who cares. Who wants to spend the rest of their lives with themselves?
  • Even though you won’t like the same things, it’s fun to try liking what she does. Not only am I addicted to Big Brother now, because of her, but I have had a pedicure that felt amazing. I also learned how keeping the house clean as you go makes it easier when it is time to deep clean things. She has learned to try any kind of food at least once with me and we have found some pretty amazing things with that.
  • Every married couple should have one morning person and one person who is not.
  • Marriage is having someone to support you in the hard times.
  • Every marriage is different. There is no need to try and compare yourselves to someone else’s story, or what they have, or how they do things. Just be yourself in your own relationship.
  • Compromise means pooping with the door closed.
  • Getting home to your wife is more important than happy hour with work friends.
  • Be goofy and laugh often.
  • Say “I love you” everyday when you leave in the morning and before you go to bed everyday.
  • Rainy days stuck inside aren’t near as bad when you have someone to watch movies and play Yahtzee.
  • Going to new places is always better than the same ol’ same ol’.
  • I suck at rock paper scissors. I used to be good, I swear.
  • Hearing “I love you” everyday means more to me than I ever thought.

Of course this list could go longer. But we can save that for another time.

“I urge you to please notice when you are happy and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, “If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is” ¬†-Kurt Vonnegut¬†