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Twins/MLB Apathy


25 minutes ago, Major League Ready said:

1&2 as well as 3&4 are basically dealing with the same time allotments.  It does not matter what batters do if you have a pitch clock and reducing warm-up pitches reduces time between innings.  If not, it's a meaningless change.  Having said this, I agree with doing these things.  I do not agree players would see them as not altering the game.  I also think these are minor influences in comparison to;

1) Pitching dominance / balls not being put into play and hits nullified by shifts.  

2) The very nature of the game taking time between "plays" not appealing to a younger generation.  Even the older generation like me records the game and watches it in an hour.

3) Interest switching to Soccer / Lacrosse / other

4) Shifts taking away hits.  Average is at a historical low by a considerable margin.

5) Restrictions on access to free Broadcasts.

6) Cost - The league may have priced themselves out of a significant segment of fans.

Yep, your bullet points are the crux of the problem. Pitch clocks and reducing commercial breaks are a temporary band-aid and won’t fix the real issue why people are growing apathy for the sport. 
 

It’s not a compelling event to watch players work 3-2 counts hoping for a walk, strikeout, or HR. I shake my head in disgust watching 5’8” 160 lb players swing out of their shoes for a HR when they would be contact slap hitters any other time in MLB history. And the shift has taken away most of the satisfying hits we saw in the past. 

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3 hours ago, TheLeviathan said:

I can get behind your ideas!  Reach out to someone under 50 and white somehow.  Anything is better than the increasing speed of death currently.

Not sure why racism would be related to my opinion? I'm also not sure if you're partially serious or your sarcasm skill level is 10/10, lol.

I've been to a lot of ballparks which have little kid play areas, little kid events, discounted family seats, alcohol free sections, opportunities for little kids to run basebaths, maintain the field between innings and/or meet the players. There are family bathrooms, changing stations, kids meals, etc. So it seems like baseball is super kid and family friendly to me... but since I don't have kids, I'm not directly experiencing the issues you're feeling. It would make sense personal context is a big part of the perceived game day experience issues fans might have.

17 hours ago, wsnydes said:

...I am curious though.  If you don't make games and the gameday experience more interesting to younger generations, how would you work to grow the game?...

I'm definitely talking about marketing to younger generations, just not the youngest generation. I don't think it's significantly harder to create a 12 year old fan than to grow a 5 year old fan into a 12 year old fan, and the younger the sport aims to create its fanbase, the more years before those fans can grow into paying customers. Market by giving away season tickets to middle schools and high schools. Say 300 or even 600 tickets a game or something. Distribute them in a lottery system to schools in the area. I feel like I should be paid for these amazing ideas and here I am giving away pieces of my astounding intellect for free... ahem, back to reality of my mediocre intellect... well, I do think it's a good idea to get groups of classmates together to share in the experience. Give them a fan experience. Have them meet a couple players for a few minutes. 

MLB still won't be successful, in my opinion, if they don't address the level of action and speed of the game, but I do believe they've noticed some issues and are trying.

 

 

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On 6/28/2021 at 12:00 PM, howeda7 said:

I am seeing a lot of the same things. I think the biggest factor for the Twins is the terrible start. A lot of people tuned out around May 1st and aren't going to re-engage unless there's a major extended run. The Bally Sports issue is also significant. And frankly there are still some folks reluctant to go downtown Minneapolis.

If I were the Twins, I'd be looking to give away free tickets and gets butts in seats any way I can. They seem to have ticked off a lot of people with how Saturday's game was handled. They should have given everyone a free ticket to any other game AND honored those tickets for the make-up.

Longer-term, MLB has to do something about pace of play. I still watch almost every game, but on DVR and watch the whole game in less than an hour. On the rare occasion I have no choice but to watch live, I find it very difficult to stay engaged. There's no way you're going to get anyone under 30 to routinely watch a 3.5 hour game. A pitch clock is obvious. But maybe 7 inning games are necessary too, even though the purists will be in revolt.

Finally, the Twins need to find a way out of this Bally Sports contract if they can. 30% + of homes have no cable/streaming in MSP. Now add the cut off from the streaming services and half your fan base can't watch the games. That can't work. They need to get back to having games on regular over the air TV at least once a week. It can't go on long-term that it's easier to watch the Saints on TV than it is the Twins.

Can always stream the games for free. I hook my laptop up to my TV and use SportsSurge to watch every game. Works great, have been doing it since 2019. 

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21 minutes ago, bean5302 said:

I've been to a lot of ballparks which have little kid play areas, little kid events, discounted family seats, alcohol free sections, opportunities for little kids to run basebaths, maintain the field between innings and/or meet the players. There are family bathrooms, changing stations, kids meals, etc. So it seems like baseball is super kid and family friendly to me... but since I don't have kids, I'm not directly experiencing the issues you're feeling. It would make sense personal context is a big part of the perceived game day experience issues fans might have.

I'm definitely talking about marketing to younger generations, just not the youngest generation. I don't think it's significantly harder to create a 12 year old fan than to grow a 5 year old fan into a 12 year old fan, and the younger the sport aims to create its fanbase, the more years before those fans can grow into paying customers. Market by giving away season tickets to middle schools and high schools. Say 300 or even 600 tickets a game or something. Distribute them in a lottery system to schools in the area. I feel like I should be paid for these amazing ideas and here I am giving away pieces of my astounding intellect for free... ahem, back to reality of my mediocre intellect... well, I do think it's a good idea to get groups of classmates together to share in the experience. Give them a fan experience. Have them meet a couple players for a few minutes. 

MLB still won't be successful, in my opinion, if they don't address the level of action and speed of the game, but I do believe they've noticed some issues and are trying.

 

 

Target Field has all of the kid friendly amenities that you list.  They have two sections devoted to a family section.  They also have a beer stand every 4 paces.  

I don't have kids either, but my issue is going to be the amount of alcohol consumed and the behavior and atmosphere that it creates.  I'm definitely not against the sale of beer/booze at a game, I imbibe myself at times.  Some people simply can't control themselves and it becomes problematic, in my opinion.  I don't like being subjected to a drunken idiot yelling at the top of their lungs all game long, let alone exposing a kid to it.

I do like your ideas for the marketing.  The only thing I would add is that it would be nice to give the experience to families as well.  They do have some, and they're pretty popular.  I think your ideas are great to get that initial exposure, but if they don't have that ability to go again and again, then I'm not sure that it goes anywhere.  That's where the parents come in, in my opinion.  The Twins do have opportunities like that, but I'm not sure that they're advertised as they could be.

And yes, MLB has many other issues besides growth that they need to address.  Address the in-game issues and attendance should improve organically to some degree, but other things will need to be done to keep that growth.

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I'm going to talk myself into a circle here somehow, but I've loved the game since I was a little kid. A large part of it was digging into the pitcher's (catcher's) strategy of working the batters; Where is the batters' hot zone? What pitches are working for the pitcher that day; The choices of up and in vs low and away; show all your pitches this AB, or keep something back for the 2nd (or super rarely nowadays 3rd) time you face a batter.  A good friend of mine (may he RIP) and I would be on the phone arguing the game calls live in two different cities -- game after game. My wife had the littlest amount of interest in the game until I told her how that aspect of the game worked. Now even she is yelling at the TV with "WTF is he doing throwing that pitch"?  I think kids, at least the gamers of them would get into this part of the game a lot. Trouble is, pitchers don't seem to have enough control anymore to "hit the glove" with any sort of repeatability; they rarely see the batters more than twice; and, you don't get the "over the pitcher's shoulder" view of the game when at the park. Maybe that's something that they could add, you buy a ticket, you get access to an "in house" app that live streams the game so you could listen to the broadcast and get that view. Get the "at home" view while at the park.

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I keep the box scores of a double header I went to in 1963 in Washington between the Minnesota Twins and the then Washington Senators (now Texas Rangers). Twins won both games 10-1 and 14-2 and Harmon Killebrew (Number 3) hit 1 home run in game 1 and 2 in game 2 but that is not the point. Both games went the full 9 (not 7) innings and it was a good old time double header 2 for the price of one. Point is that the time for game 1 was 2:19. Game 2 was 2:23. That is the end of my post.

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2 hours ago, Major League Ready said:

 

5) Restrictions on access to free Broadcasts.

6) Cost - The league may have priced themselves out of a significant segment of fans.

Bingo.

I listen on radio, often,  as I have no cable at one location.  Not being able to watch on over the air broadcast is good way to lose long time fans.

Cost is ridiculous , no more going to ball game for beer and hot dog for those who are stressed for dollars.    Now rather than being a way to get away from nasties of life, it has become one of them.

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This is a GREAT discussion....with lots of well thought out ideas. I have followed the game since 1959. I love baseball. But not all the stuff that has happened over the past few years. I live in a minor league city (Rochester) with a top notch GM who is on top of the marketing game. Sadly, he recognizes that to get families with kids to the games now, you need entertainment beyond the game itself. It burns me to think this is true, but apparently it is. So we live with ungodly loud music...having nothing to do with the game...practically non-stop at times. (its worse in hockey BTW) We have contests, fireworks, all kinds of different food, special guests...you name it, Every night . It brings people in.

The price of admission is also a factor. I have often said I don't know whether to bless or curse Curt Flood. Free agency has resulted in the completely outrageous salaries major leaguers get..and that 'cost' gets passed on to the fans in the form of outrageous ticket prices. No family needs to pay $50 per ticket (or more) to watch the RedSox play the Royals at Fenway. Yes I get the players are 'entertainment', but there has to be a reasonable ceiling. In this, both players and owners have gotten too greedy.

The minors have tested new things to speed up the game. Most of it is legitimately good. Pitch clock...absolutely needed. Even Morneau was grousing about one of the Twins relievers who took waaaay too long between pitches...grinding the flow of the game to a standstill. And if the batter constantly leaves the batters box...he gets timed too. Automatic strikes and balls are rung up. What we found is that the players quickly adapted. There weren't very many automatic calls and the game moved along. Less time between innings. Absolutely. The advertisers can learn to get their message out quicker. Changing pitchers...also timed and also needed. What can even be better is to reduce the warm up pitches from 8 to 4. Why do they need 8 when they have been heating up forever in the pen. 4 pitches is enough to 'get used to the mound'. Tosses to first. Another game killer. The lower minors are experimenting with limiting tosses to 3. I'd rather see stolen bases than a litany of wasted tosses to first.

Eliminate the shift! Oh please do that. No need to elaborate. Return baseball strategy....the bunt, the stolen base, hitting to the opposite field. Those added a lot to the game in the past. Lower the mound or push it back. Strikeouts are the most boring thing about baseball.

Lastly (and most here won't like this) but the game has become to technical. I guarantee you kids aren't going to games talking about exit speed, launch angle, and all the unnecessary many lettered acronyms you need a dictionary to translate. Too much. Bring back basic baseball...BA, HR, RBI, ERA. Its still a game. Not an exercise in computer science.

The average length of a well played game should be 2 1/2 hours, give or take. I still love the game but i fear for its future if we can't get the next generation on board. Theres a lot of work to be done.

 

 

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3 hours ago, Major League Ready said:

1&2 as well as 3&4 are basically dealing with the same time allotments.  It does not matter what batters do if you have a pitch clock and reducing warm-up pitches reduces time between innings.  If not, it's a meaningless change.  Having said this, I agree with doing these things.  I do not agree players would see them as not altering the game.  I also think these are minor influences in comparison to;

1) Pitching dominance / balls not being put into play and hits nullified by shifts.  

2) The very nature of the game taking time between "plays" not appealing to a younger generation.  Even the older generation like me records the game and watches it in an hour.

3) Interest switching to Soccer / Lacrosse / other

4) Shifts taking away hits.  Average is at a historical low by a considerable margin.

5) Restrictions on access to free Broadcasts.

6) Cost - The league may have priced themselves out of a significant segment of fans.

#2 just amazes me the responses we get on Twins Daily of members not really liking to watch an entire MLB game (or even not really enjoying watching a game at all) . It's just fascinating. I personally like the ebbs and flows and the feel of watching a game as it happens. Skimming through a game or just watching the highlights doesn't do it for me. 

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43 minutes ago, theBOMisthebomb said:

#2 just amazes me the responses we get on Twins Daily of members not really liking to watch an entire MLB game (or even not really enjoying watching a game at all) . It's just fascinating. I personally like the ebbs and flows and the feel of watching a game as it happens. Skimming through a game or just watching the highlights doesn't do it for me. 

We are having this conversation because a large segment of the population is finding baseball far too slow.  My wife is a sports fan but she finds baseball booooooring.  I appreciate the ebbs and flows and sometimes I watch all of the game (minus pitching changes and between innings) and sometimes I watch portions.  For example, I watched every minute if the innings Ober threw.   

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1 hour ago, Major League Ready said:

We are having this conversation because a large segment of the population is finding baseball far too slow.  My wife is a sports fan but she finds baseball booooooring.  I appreciate the ebbs and flows and sometimes I watch all of the game (minus pitching changes and between innings) and sometimes I watch portions.  For example, I watched every minute if the innings Ober threw.   

People have been calling baseball boring for decades. As the culture and nature of entertainment has changed, the contrast with the pace of baseball has become more pronounced. I fall back on the theory that people have been predicting the demise of baseball since nearly the beginning of the sport and it still somehow survives and maybe even thrives. I suspect that the sport of baseball will always have the "slow and boring" narrative attached to it by those that don't enjoy the game. I'm just surprised by posters here that say they don't even like watching the games. To each their own, we all engage on different levels and if watching 5 minute highlight reels on MLB.com satisfies then more power to you. My last thought is that youth participation in baseball is still healthy. It was hard to find anything post pandemic for participation numbers in youth sports. Through 2019, youth participation in baseball was remaining somewhat strong. Surprisingly strong, in my opinion. Baseball will be fine, it is a great game. I don't mind some tweaks by MLB, just don't go too far and damage the integrity of the game. 

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7 hours ago, bean5302 said:

Not sure why racism would be related to my opinion? I'm also not sure if you're partially serious or your sarcasm skill level is 10/10, lol.

Well, race and demographics are a huge part of the problem.  It's bad enough that your average (average!!!) TV watching fan is 55+.  It's even worse when you consider those near-elderly folks are almost exclusively white.  

Anyone with any business acumen or ability to project trends should be quaking at that thought.

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5 hours ago, TheLeviathan said:

Well, race and demographics are a huge part of the problem.  It's bad enough that your average (average!!!) TV watching fan is 55+.  It's even worse when you consider those near-elderly folks are almost exclusively white.  

Anyone with any business acumen or ability to project trends should be quaking at that thought.

Makes me feel young. 

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On 6/29/2021 at 6:06 PM, howeda7 said:

Most casual fans aren't going to seek out illegal European streams to watch games.

They aren't illegal to watch. That's what most people dont understand and it scares them away when there is literally nothing to be scared of. And sportssurge is based out of the US in Cali last I checked their webserver location. Im just saying its a good option, and its free. Just trying to help. 

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I'm sure I'll get criticized for this, but about the only sport I watch now is European football. Baseball is interminable; rarely a game under 3 hours and many closer to 4 as players make constant equipment adjustments on every pitch and natural breaks in the game keep getting extended to sell more commercials. I still subscribe to MLB.TV, but have probably watched 100 innings this season. For many years, nearly all of my watching has been while doing something on my other monitor. It's nice to "keep track of the game," but I can't imagine how people can watch it. Going to games upon occasion, it seems that most people are just there for a night out to drink beer with their friends or to have a family activity, Almost no one is keeping score and at any given moment many (most?) are not actually watching the game.

In fact, this has become true of all of the American sports I used to watch. An American football game is hours of commercials interrupted by minutes of concussions (and, of course five or more substitutions before every play). I recently watched some of an NHL playoff game with my son-in-law after not having watched hockey for years. Long commercial breaks in the middle of periods? Where did they come from?

There is certainly a lot to hate about FIFA (not least selling the World Cup to one of the hottest places on Earth), but some of the things I love about European football broadcasts are: 

  • No commercial interruptions other than halftime, which is 15 minutes long and easy to FF through or spend away from the TV
  • Continuous flow of play where anything can happen at any time
  • Low scores so that a brilliant play (whether leading to a goal or preventing one) nearly always changes the balance of the game
  • Very limited substitutions (3 total in England with no re-entry) so that all of the players play all aspects of the game rather than an army of specialist coming on to do one specific task
  • British commentators who know and respect the game, and whose broadcast style conforms to the pace of the game (Vin Scully-style) rather than constantly trying to hype what's going on and citing endless (!!) arcane historical statistics

I've been watching every minute of the European Championships this summer with (usually) rapt attention. I can't devote that attention to any American sports any more. But baseball will still be on the other monitor!

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53 minutes ago, PDX Twin said:

I'm sure I'll get criticized for this, but about the only sport I watch now is European football. Baseball is interminable; rarely a game under 3 hours and many closer to 4 as players make constant equipment adjustments on every pitch and natural breaks in the game keep getting extended to sell more commercials. I still subscribe to MLB.TV, but have probably watched 100 innings this season. For many years, nearly all of my watching has been while doing something on my other monitor. It's nice to "keep track of the game," but I can't imagine how people can watch it. Going to games upon occasion, it seems that most people are just there for a night out to drink beer with their friends or to have a family activity, Almost no one is keeping score and at any given moment many (most?) are not actually watching the game.

In fact, this has become true of all of the American sports I used to watch. An American football game is hours of commercials interrupted by minutes of concussions (and, of course five or more substitutions before every play). I recently watched some of an NHL playoff game with my son-in-law after not having watched hockey for years. Long commercial breaks in the middle of periods? Where did they come from?

There is certainly a lot to hate about FIFA (not least selling the World Cup to one of the hottest places on Earth), but some of the things I love about European football broadcasts are: 

  • No commercial interruptions other than halftime, which is 15 minutes long and easy to FF through or spend away from the TV
  • Continuous flow of play where anything can happen at any time
  • Low scores so that a brilliant play (whether leading to a goal or preventing one) nearly always changes the balance of the game
  • Very limited substitutions (3 total in England with no re-entry) so that all of the players play all aspects of the game rather than an army of specialist coming on to do one specific task
  • British commentators who know and respect the game, and whose broadcast style conforms to the pace of the game (Vin Scully-style) rather than constantly trying to hype what's going on and citing endless (!!) arcane historical statistics

I've been watching every minute of the European Championships this summer with (usually) rapt attention. I can't devote that attention to any American sports any more. But baseball will still be on the other monitor!

Must be a Portland thing....though I can't give up the Vikings, only watch soccer on over the air tv, and do watch some golf (with the sound off). 

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Strange because during the 2020 COVID season the Twins played well and it was partial summertime sports entertainment.

 

But, yes, Bally is killing the Twins product for those still COVID scared.

 

But the team is also now drawing close to 20,000 fans a game, which in the scheme of things would be tremendous, especially when playing badly...so the people who want to go the game are there. But, you may notice, there are also tickets available for Saints games. 

 

I must say, I went to the Twins store a couple of weeks ago, and they hadn't printed a yearbook for 2021...yet. Maybe they still have too many leftovers from 2020. Of course, part of the advertising sell is that x-amount of these things will end up in the hands and be seen by the eyes of x-amount of people.

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Here are the reasons why I am apathetic about MLB,

 

Three true outcome baseball... boring! Move the fences back in all the stadiums where the fences have previously been moved in. Blow up Yankee Stadium. The last thing I want to watch is another Aaron Judge pop up home run to right field.

Rule changes- I refuse to watch an extra innings because of the random runner on second rule, I hate 7 inning double headers, if any of these idiotic minor league rules make it up to MLB it will be even worse. Expanded playoffs? Yuck. I haven't watched a non-Twins playin or wild card game in at least five years.

Roster management- There are just way too many players that play for each team each season. Just 20 years ago a typical team would go through 32-35 or so. Now, teams cycle through 50 guys a season, of which half have no business being on a major league roster. I know I will never see or hear of most of these guys ever again so what's the point of caring about them? And I certainly do not want to see 15 man pitching staffs.

My own increasing age- I used to love baseball because I loved watching guys do what I wanted to do when I was their age. Well, the only way I'll do what any of these guys are doing right now is if I somehow get younger.

I used to get MLB Extra Innings every year and spend at least part of each night watching some random game. Now, I would rather watch about anything else other than MLB.

During Covid, when MLBN and FSN would air classic games I watched every one I could. Even if it was some random game from 1993 between the Padres and Giants. "Oh, Andy Benes! I like him better than anyone in this entire league right now!"

To be fair, I also used to love the NBA and NFL but haven't watched either in about ten years and NCAA basketball is also unwatchable at this point as well.

 

 

 

 

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