Will you be watching the MLB draft? LOL.
The MLB draft is to professional sports drafts like the Tony awards are to major awards shows. It happens and I’m sure there are people who care but those people are the exception, not the rule. Here’s the problem.
The MLB draft doesn’t matter because the players drafted, with very few exceptions, are not going to make any sort of short-term impact. Most of them are barely known at this point because that’s not how baseball works. Sure, there may be some stud who comes out of college already boasting an MLB level pedigree but in reality, most of these guys, if they even ever make it to the big leagues, are going to be playing a few years in the minors to get ready. Baseball requires a level of apprenticeship that just isn’t necessary in other sports.
The NBA and NFL drafts play well on TV because not only have these guys already played on the national stage and in the national spotlight, fans and teams also make the assumption that they will have an immediate impact. Guys like Reggie Bush and LeBron James can start every game of their rookie campaign and instantly make a team relevant. In baseball, that just isn’t the case.
That being said, I can appreciate what Selig would like to do. Sure, MLB’s revenue may be growing but a little statistical analysis will show you that this growth is dwarfed by that of the NBA and the NFL. To keep up and remain relevant, MLB must constantly search for new ways to entertain, new ways to create revenue and new ways to attract new recruits.
Unfortunately, pimping the MLB draft isn’t the way to do it. I’ll explain by going back to the Tony awards for a second. The problem with the Tonys is that theatre is no longer relevant in the US. Film and TV have both surpassed it in terms of entertainment and cultural and societal critique. That’s why people have Oscar parties and chat about the Emmies but couldn’t care less about the Tonys. Similarly, MLB doesn’t hold the same cultural relevance at this point in time as either professional football or basketball. Sure, the fans still care but people not only watch the NBA and NFL games more regularly, they’re also willing to watch the two leagues’ drafts.
So you make a good point, Mark. And to answer your assuredly rhetorical question, no, I will not be watching the MLB draft just like I won’t be watching the Tony awards. MLB needs to make itself relevant again before there’s any chance that I will.
Would someone please explain to me how MLB.com (in all its ballsy-get-outta-my-way glory) has no problem calling Washington Nationals’ first round draft pick, Stephen Strasburg, a “future ace” before he has ever put on a Big League uniform? I speak Chinese. I speak it really well. That does not make me the “future ace” of Sino-US diplomacy.
Or does it?
Now that I have suffered through Bud Selig mispronouncing Cincinnati as “Cincin-nattuh”, Harold Reynolds beating the meaning out of the word “signability” and the absence of MLB Tonight (perhaps the most entertaining baseball program on the planet due to its painstaking efforts to suck in the ADD crowd), I think I have a solution to all this draft hoopla.
Listen up, Washington Nationals. Quickly, throw all the money you have at Strasburg, give him a private jet, a harem fit for a politician and whatever else he could possibly need, then let that boy prove himself at the Major League level. Right now.
The current state of the Nationals is, at best, barrenly bleak: their pitching staff is five Shairon Martis wins above absolutely atrocious, their defense makes Alfonso Soriano look like a diamond wheel gold-glover, Adam Dunn can’t get a properly fitted jersey to save his spare tire, the jerseys they do have are highly susceptible to the occasional spelling blunder (*ahem*, make that, blunders, plural), they suffer from an extreme identity crisis (are we the Nationals/Expos/Senators/Twins/Rangers/the other Senators?), enlist low-brow stomach-churning marketing, are exposed by their inability to properly discharge sausages into the stands, still employ Kip Wells and now they can’t even shoot off fireworks without dumping debris on their own city fire chief (thanks for the tip, Matt).
What the hell could it hurt to put Strasburg in the rotation?
Throw him into the D.C. fire already. Let’s see if this kid is indeed a “future ace”, an ace, a back-end starter or a just a plain old joke like the rest of the Washington Nationals.
Do it, do it quickly and do it now. Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Listen up, Major League Baseball. I love you. I really do; and sometimes being in love means having to bring you back down to earth, to be horribly blunt and to shower you with lots of smack (the slang, not the drug, though sometimes the drug seems like a better option in extreme cases, like when you overflow my inbox with crap I don’t want and never asked for).
MLB, you are not the NFL. You are not the NBA. You are MLB.
So while I commend you for trying to drum up interest in something — the first year player draft — that is, on the surface, boring and otherwise three to four years removed (if that) from the current game, I must ask you to please snap out of it!
For the record, I do not care about the NFL and NBA drafts either, but I can certainly see why people do. If you are a basketball and/or football fan, you have seen the potential draftees come up through the highly competitive elite forces of the NCAA. Bowl games are slammed down your throat. March Madness is so mad that it doesn’t end until April. You know the players. You’ve seen their talents. You hope your pro team gets a shot at their services.
In contrast, the potential baseball draftees are as familiar to us fans as is a logical, amicable, non-infuriating Ann Coulter. In the NFL and NBA, if you get drafted, your chances of seeing playing time at the top are almost a given, while most of the guys drafted in the MLB draft will never put on a big league uniform. Sure, your Griffeys, A-Rods and Verlanders — guys who go in the first round or two — will most likely make it; but the majority of the rest will wallow away in the minor leagues, battle disillusionment, come to grips with not being good enough and before you know it they’re faxing TPS reports behind a desk while reading RSBS for giggles.
So as MLB pats itself on its self-aggrandizing back about televising this overblown shindig so they can sell lots of advertising to companies gullible enough to think that it will actually rival that of its football and basketball brethren, you can be sure that I will be spending my time wisely. Dear readers, I advise you to do the same; and just in case you can’t think of anything better to do, here are some suggestions:
- Remember, question and lament the hype of Pete Incaviglia
- Write hate-mail to Rush Limbaugh and sign it “Jesus”
- Clone Chris Carpenter
- Come up with clever gimmicks to sell your new religion start-up (worked for me!)
- Or, God forbid, watch an actual Major League Baseball game with real-life Major Leaguers
Indeed, that is but a short list of things I will be doing instead of watching your draft, MLB. I will not be listening to Harold Reynolds start every sentence with “Now, here’s a guy…” nor will I sing praises of your precious college phenom Stephen Strasburg when he is — as you already told me he would be — drafted in the first round. I’ll wait until he collects the league minimum $400K for that.
I know a poser when I see one and it is because I love you, MLB, that I have to call you one to your face. Go ahead and hate me ‘cuz I’m critical of your identity crisis, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.