Opinion -- Keep the purity of baseball
By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on August 20, 2008 1:46 PM
During my time in college I spent two summers working as a camp counselor in Asheboro.
Our camp director often reminded my fellow counselors and me the importance of stopping a game or activity at its highest point. The purpose was to keep campers interested in the event when it continued.
Major League Baseball could benefit from this philosophy.
Spring training starts in late February or early March. After the 182-game season is completed, the playoffs nearly consume the entire month of October.
I enjoy baseball immensely, more so than the average fan. There's something refreshing and at times therapeutic about simply being around our nation's pastime.
It's a sport that transcends language, ethnicity, race, gender and just about any other social barrier that seems to frequently handicap our society. However, other professional sports such as the NFL and NASCAR thrive off the 'absence makes the heart grow fonder' mentality with mostly-weekend competition.
Perhaps 182 regular season games per team coupled with the fall classic stretched over eight months is having a negative impact. The 2007 World Series received the second lowest TV ratings in the history of the fall classic. The Daytona 500, according to Jayski.com, had 17.8 million viewers.
By shortening its season to somewhere between 130-150 games baseball could still produce the same exciting pennant races, reduce injuries, keep players fresh for the postseason and keep the fans' interest.
I'm all for preserving the purity of the game.
Major League Baseball continues to heal from the steroid era, an episode that drained the purity from a sport where grown men -- at its core -- are playing a child's game. The sport is about to undergo a facelift since instant replay will be found at a Major League park near you.
Taking a quick glance at the current MLB standings, eight games or more separate the first- and third-place teams. I find it difficult to believe that shaving 30 to 50 games off the regular-season schedule would make the playoff chase lose its luster.
A revised schedule could place more focus on divisional rivalries, while producing fewer cross-divisional and interleague matchups.
Similar to debating that third trip through the line at Thanksgiving or breaking out the extra strand of Christmas lights for the roof, Major League Baseball should look at its schedule and realize less is more.
Brielle Meno became just the 13th girl to play in the Little League World Series as her Guam squad rallied from a four-run deficit to defeat Italy 7-6 on Saturday.
In a world dominated by million-dollar contracts, endorsement deals and controversy, it's encouraging to see innocence and the love of the game put a smile on the faces of boys and girls.
Tampa Bay appears to be getting pretty comfortable in its glass slipper.
The Rays have won nine of their last 11 games, are tied with the Chicago Cubs for the best record in baseball and have surpassed the franchise record for regular-season wins (now 77).
Equally impressive is Tampa's 28-19 record against its American League East counterparts. The true measuring stick for this Cinderella will be proving it belongs at the ball when the postseason gets underway.
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