BASEBALL IS BACK!!!!!
It may come as a surprise to some people. I know for the purpose of starting my fantasy leagues it was very perplexing to me. But the 2012 season of major league baseball started today with the Mariners playing the A’s in Tokyo. You may be confused because next Wednesday is baseball’s “Opening Night”, or so they call it. And next Thursday is the “Opening Day”. Essentially what we have is three different days that open the season which baseball created to keep buzz up and have three different days to tout the opening of the season. It was a business move, and you can’t deny that baseball is a business. They do things like this to make money, even if it’s mildly irksome to fans. However, I don’t understand the logic behind taking your actual opening game of the 2012 season (whatever they choose to call it) and setting it outside of the U.S., playing it at a time when most U.S. citizens are asleep (3:00 AM Pacific, 6:00 AM Eastern and 5:00 AM Central time), and only televising it live in the markets of the two teams that are playing. If you live outside of Oakland and Seattle, as shockingly most people in this country do, you didn’t get to see the game until the MLB Network showed a delayed broadcast of it a few hours later. By that time you already knew who won. The fact is the Major League Baseball season goes on about 6 months and many people lose interest in the middle of it, and some are too baseball-ed out to even watch the playoffs. One of the most highly rated games of the year is the first game of the season. Tons of baseball fans watch it, even if their team isn’t involved. However when you move that game to another country, at a time when most people can’t watch, you are robbing yourself of a great opportunity. Or so I believe. I didn’t go to business school. But I’m starting to suspect the people in the MLB offices didn’t either.
(Interesting side note….the majority owner of the Seattle Mariners is Hiroshi Yamauchi, the retired Nintendo Chairman. He has never attended a Mariners game in his life and is the only majority owner in American Pro Sports history to never attend a game the team he owned was playing in. And since his Mariners are coming to Tokyo he decided….not to go. Didn’t want to travel a few hours to see the game. Rumor is he doesn’t even like baseball. For the whole story check out the Big League Stew blogpost.)
But back to the issue at hand, I am a huge baseball fan. I would have liked to watch the game. But I couldn’t. I can’t go to Japan to see it. I would have recorded it, but it only played in Oakland and Seattle. It just blows my mind. I don’t know what sort of marketing wizards they have in the Commissioner’s office, but if I was their professor at Marketing Wizard School, when it came time for final grades I would go all Gandalf on them, emphatically informing them, “YOU SHALL NOT PASS!!!”, as a result of this decision. Swing and a miss MLB. (That pun couldn’t have been more intended).