Does baseball need to change to win some new fans?
That’s the theory of an unnamed high-ranking Major League Baseball executive.
In a subscriber-only blog post, ESPN’s Buster Olney quotes an anonymous baseball exec as saying that the sport’s audience has changed and MLB games should be shortened to 7 innings to accomodate it.
According to Olney’s post:
The games are often played too slowly, he noted. The audience of Major League Baseball is aging, with polls indicating that the youngest generation expects faster and fastest in what it consumes.
At the same time, the exec said, teams are struggling to find enough good pitching — and, at the same time, the number of injuries is skyrocketing. If oblique strains were the prevalent injury two years ago, ulnar collateral ligament strains are the ailment du jour. Top prospect Jameson Taillon of the Pirates is the latest pitcher to be headed for Tommy John surgery; maybe he’ll bump into Bobby Parnell along the way.
So this exec’s solution is to shorten the games. A seven inning game would run about 2 and one half hours, instead of the three plus of the current length games.
Last year, aWall Street Journal study estimated that there are about 18 minutes of action over the course of three hours of a baseball game.
Does the game need a drastic change to cater to the younger generation’s need for instant gratification?