Five Radical Ways To Attract Young Fans To Baseball

Young Baseball FansFive Radical Ways To Attract Young Fans To Baseball

Joel Maddon, manager of the Tampa Bay Rays, recently told reporters that game length isn’t a hurdle to bringing young fans to baseball.  His comments came in the wake of a 3-hour, 28-minute tilt against the New York Yankees.  It was the longest nine-inning, 1-0 game in the history of Major League Baseball.

“I really think that if all we’re worried about is length of the game regarding attracting young fans, I think that’s probably not the actual specific or most important reason.  It’s a media-driven problem, I really believe that,” said Maddon.

Maddon is one hundred-percent correct.  No one going to the ballpark cares if the game is two and half hours, three hours, or three and half hours long.  No one goes to the ballpark and says “I hope this game is over in soon because I have somewhere to be.”

That’s not to say all MLB games should be umpteen hours long nor does it mean there should be a pitch clock.  What it means is game length isn’t nearly as import as the pace of the game.

The reason why game lengths are even an issue is the news media.  Baseball writers complain about game lengths because they have deadlines, they want to go home, and/or they are lazy.  For the most part, fans don’t care about how long a game lasts.

Maddon went on to say that if you want to involve young fans you need to use technology. Technology may very well be the catalyst that lures young people away from football, basketball, and smart phones and back to the ballpark.  However, the following five suggestions, that have little to do with technology, will definitely make baseball more attractive to the youth of America.

Truncate The Season

Baseball is the best game in the world… when the games counts.  Unfortunately, you have to wait a long time for games to matter and when it does there’s this other league going on called the NFL.  Maybe you’ve heard of it?  Playing every day doesn’t fit into our hectic schedules.

To make the season more palatable to young people’s lifestyle, have teams play one four-game series a week (Thursday thru Sunday).  This will greatly reduce the number of games played in a season but will greatly increase interest as every game will be important.  Furthermore, it will be easier for teams to dodge the injury bullet, and with three days rests each week, pitching staffs will always be fresh.

World Series At A Neutral Location

The Super Bowl is a huge event.  Part of the reason why it’s so huge is because everyone knows where it’s going to be played long before the season starts.  You can’t say the same about the World Series.  If Major League Baseball held the World Series at a neutral location then they could turn it into something like the Super Bowl.

They could incorporate Hall of Fame inductions, announce yearly awards, and generally celebrate the game.  Needless to say, they will hold the World Series in cities and venues that will be immune to foul weather.  Nothing kills the momentum of a World Series (i.e. television ratings) like a rain delay.

Start The Season With The All-Star Game

Most people don’t pay attention to baseball until after the All-Star break so why not start the season with the mid-summer classic.  Fans can still vote for their favorite players but will do so after a full season not half of one.  You can start the season with the All-Star Game and end it with the World Series.  Those events will be great bookends.

Realignment

There are fans of all ages who think there are too many MLB teams.  Remember, in baseball’s heyday, the 1950s, there were only 16 franchises.  When you talk about contraction you must talk about specific teams you’re going to eliminate.  That’s difficult because after the obvious choices of the Florida teams, Seattle Mariners, and San Diego Padres you’re left with a bunch of tough decisions.  So instead of eliminating teams just cut the league in two, an upper and lower tier.

Teams will be promoted between the two tiers based on their performance during the previous season.  The upper tier teams will play for the honor of competing in the postseason while the lower tier teams will play for promotion into the upper tier.  It will certainly make the end of the year interesting as more teams will have a carrot dangling in front of them.  Also, this new alignment will soften the woes of teams in the rebuilding process and reward franchises that are competitive year-in and year-out.

Teach The Game

I stand by my previous four suggestions.  I know they’re radical, and an affront to tradition, but they will definitely change the game (for the better).  Of course, you wouldn’t need any of my extreme proposals if kids were actually taught the game of baseball.  Baseball is not like football or basketball.  It’s steeped in nuisance.  It takes thirty seconds to learn the game of basketball and minutes to figure out the basic of football, but you have to be taught baseball.

Unfortunately, there are fewer and fewer people capable of teaching it.  Maybe this is where technology can be used.  MLB can use technology to teach young people all about the game.  Technology is causing the death of the concert ticket, the newspaper, and face-to-face conversation but maybe it can reinvigorate the National Pastime.  Maybe technology can teach a generation of young people how to play the ball.

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A Music Test To Determine If You’re Too Old

One Direction

A Music Test To Determine If You’re Too Old

“If it’s too loud you’re too old.”

That’s my motto and something I cling too as the seasons change and the moons wax and wane.  It’s hard to adhere to that simple principal.  Not because of anything necessarily associated with the aging process.  It’s just that sometimes the volume knob is so far away and I don’t want to get up.

The “old” in my motto is not an actual age.  After all, “age” is just a number and who cares about numbers?  “Old” is a state of mind, a way of acting, a condition of being.  I say this knowing full well that I’m older than the combined age of any two members of Five Seconds of Summer.

Since music is so connected to youth—sex, drugs & rock ‘n’ roll is a young man’s game—it’s a great barometer for whether or not someone is “old.”  What follows is a test to determine whether you’re “young,” “old,” or “desperately fighting the aging process.” 

This test has nothing to do with whether or not you remember vinyl records (which are awesome by the way) or where you were when you heard the Stone Roses debut album for the first time (at my friend’s house).  Nor is this test about whether or not you know the latest “hip” bands or the current cutting edge artists.  That stuff doesn’t make you “young” or “old” just well informed.  No, this test is to determine whether or not you still have enough youth in the tank to turn it up to 11. 

QUESTION #1
To meet demand, Garth Brooks is going to play two shows during select nights of his world tour.  The first concert will kick off at 6:30pm and the second one at 10:00pm.  Which show do you attend?

  1. The 10:00pm show and then afterwards we can all go out for drinks.
  2. Does he ever perform at 4:00pm?
  3. I’d loved to go to the 10:00pm but (insert excuse here).  So I should probably go to the 6:30pm concert.

If you answered “A” you’re definitely young.  If you answered “B” you’re definitely old.  If you answered “C” then you’re desperately fighting the aging process.  I know I should be going to the 10:00pm show, but how awesome would it be to attend a concert at 6:00pm?  Depending on your commute, you could be home and in bed by 9:30pm! 

QUESTION #2
Don’t worry about how, but you have to take your favorite tween girl and her two friends to a One Direction concert.  What is your immediate reaction?

  1. No way!  I’m not going to a One Direction concert even if you paid me.
  2. Isn’t that Justin Bieber’s old band?
  3. You act annoyed and inconvenienced but inside you can’t wait to hear "Story of My Life" live and see Harry in person.

Ironically, one of the best ways to stay young is to hate on boy bands.  Don’t ask me why, that’s just the way it goes.  Yet, as you age you realize that some of those teeny-boppers, especially 1-D, have some pretty catchy songs.  So you split the difference.  You accompany your favorite 12-year-old but complain enough to make it appear like you despise boy bands.

QUESTION #3
Your friend acquires several three-day passes to Coachella.  Due to the circumstances of your relationship, you must attend.  What is your initial fear?

  1. How will I score some killer weed?
  2. I thought if I had Coachella as a child I couldn’t catch it as an adult?
  3. Will I have to sleep in a tent?

One of the great things about being young is the ability to endure discomfort.  If you have plenty of alcohol, and “other things,” you can pretty much eat nothing and sleep anywhere for a long weekend.  As you age, you grow more and more in love with your bed and coffee maker.  That’s why music festivals, the ultimate bastion of youth, are very hard for those of us with a few years under our belts.  While the music is great they are the epitome of uncomfortableness.  Now, if someone could invent an outdoor music festival surrounded by hotels, I’d be there with bells on.

QUESTION #4
This November and December, Steve Hackett is touring North America with his “Genesis Revisited Tour?”  A good friend of yours has tickets and invites you to accompany him or her.  How do you respond to the invitation? 

  1. Who in the hell is Steve Hackett?
  2. Who in the hell is Steve Hackett?
  3. You say yes because you think it will be a great concert and one in which you won’t have to stand the whole night.

What is it with standing during an entire concert?  You paid for a seat why aren’t you sitting in it?  Standing was great when you were too young to rent a car, but now that you have a mortgage you want to sit.  Besides, what’s better than sitting for two hours and listening to great live music?  Well, nothing besides lying on your couch and listening to live music (unfortunately that’s never an option).  By the way, Steve Hackett was a member of Genesis from 1970 to 1977.

QUESTION #5
What kind of music do you listen to when you’re making dinner, reading, and entertaining friends?

  1. It doesn’t matter what I’m doing I always to listen to my favorite music and I turn it up as loud as possible.
  2. I don’t listen to music.  Instead, I turn on Fox News.
  3. I listen to the adult alternative station broadcasted by my cable provider.

When I was in college, I listened to Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden all the time.  It didn’t matter what I was doing.  Their music was always on my stereo and it was always loud.  When you get a bit older you tend to treat music more like a piece of furniture; it’s like a candle or a throw pillow.  That’s why the music on-demand “adult alternative” station is so perfect.  It’s relatively mellow, it’s appropriate for anything, and the artists are hip enough to make it appear like you’re still cool. 

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Country Music Concerts Are The New Shark Attacks

CountryIsNewShark

Country Music Concerts Are The New Shark Attacks

If you go swimming in the ocean you will be attacked by a shark and die!!!

Well, that’s the gist of the reporting that occurred over the Fourth of July weekend when a long distance swimmer was bitten by a shark off Manhattan Beach in southern California.

The way the media handled the unfortunate attack you would have thought every swimmer who puts a toe into the Pacific or Atlantic Ocean gets chomped on by a shark.

In 2013, the International Shark Attack File confirmed 72 incidents of unprovoked shark attacks.  That’s not in California.  That’s not in the United States.  That’s in the world.  There are more than seven billion people on the planet and a lot of them go into an ocean.  The fact that only 72 people were bitten in a calendar year is an infinitesimally small percentage. 

You’re more likely to be on the wrong end of a lightning bolt then you are to be caught in between the molars of a great white.  Also, Fido is more dangerous than Jaws.  You’re far more likely to be killed by a dog then you are by a shark.

It sucks to be bitten by the sea’s apex predator but it’s extremely, extremely rare.  That’s something the news media doesn’t tell you.

Apparently, the next deadly phenomenon is the country music concert.  If you go see Kenny Chesney or Brad Paisley you will die!!!

That’s the tone of the several articles including “Are Country Concert Tragedies The New Normal” posted on CMT.com.   Author Alison Bonaguro references recent tragedies at Jason Aldean, Keith Urban, and Luke Bryan concerts. 

One man was found dead at Aldean’s July 18 concert in Cleveland, 50 concert goers were arrested at Urban’s show on July 26, and 34 people were taken to the hospital when Bryan rocked Pittsburgh.

There is no rash of concert music tragedies.  There is no epidemic of death that breaks out whenever a guitar starts a twangin’ and a singer dons a cowboy hat.

Here’s what happened: there was a death at a Jason Aldean concert.  It’s very rare for someone to die at a concert, and it usually raises interest in the subject.  Therefore, the media begins looking for similar stories and what do you know?  They find them.

Deaths at music concerts are sensational.  They’re sensational because they’re rare.  Yet that rarity is ignored when the media reports on them.

Of course, the media was always going to find more “tragedy” stories.  Since their inception, regardless of genre, large outdoor concerts have produced arrests and trips to the hospital.

If you don’t believe me just ask the staff at Barclays Center or Staples Center.  For collaboration, speak to those who collect Chicago event tickets or Madison Square Garden tickets.  If you need more proof seek the experiences of employees at Red Rocks, Wolf Trap, and Bethel Woods.  When you have lots of people gathered in one spot bad things will happen.  Add hot weather, alcohol, and drugs to the mix and it’s not a question of “if” but “when.”

If you ask me, arrests and hospital visits aren’t tragic.  They are a staple of the live music experience.  They are no different than guitar amps, high-priced refreshments, and inappropriately dressed women.

A concert should be a joyous event that transpires without a hitch.  Most of the time that’s true as the overwhelming majority of concerts occurs without issues.  

That’s not to say tragedy is always avoided.  In 1979, 11 people died at a Who concert in Cincinnati.  In 2000, nine rock fans perished at a Pearl Jam concert in Denmark.  In 2003, one hundred people lost their lives in a fire that broke out during a Great White concert in Rhode Island.

If you consider just how many concerts go off in a calendar year tragedies like the ones mentioned in the above paragraph, and many others that have been omitted, happen infrequently at best.  No matter how you look at it, it’s incredibly safe to attend any type of concert especially country music concerts.

Bonaguro does hit on part of the problem, at least the part that pertains to country music shows, and that is the crowds are getting larger.  For the most part, genre has nothing to do it.  It’s the size of the event—more people equal more problem.

Regardless of size, there’s a surefire way to avoid most tragedies that may happen at a music concert and that’s to stay sober.  The overwhelming majority of problems at live music events stem from drug and alcohol intoxication.

Being sober won’t necessarily protect you from the stupidity of others, but at least you’ll be sharp mentally and able to react to inebriated buffoonery in a swift and responsible manner.

What about accidents?  Over the years, many concerts have been marred by tragic accidents.  For example, in 2011, before a Sugarland concert at the Indiana State Fair, the stage collapsed and killed seven people.  Severe weather conditions were largely to blame.

By definition you can’t prevent accidents and the only way to avoid them altogether is to lock yourself in your home.  That’s no good.  Jason Aldean is much better live than he is on your iTunes.  If you were to research deaths at music concerts you’d find that very few are the result of accidents.  Most are the result of direct or indirect substance abuse.

So don’t let a little ink scare you.  It’s safe to go into the water and it’s safe to go to a country music show.

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Kanye West Dazzles On Jools Holland But Frazzles Staff

Kanye WestKanye West Dazzles On Jools Holland But Frazzles Staff

“God I love Kanye so much. Later with Jools is incredible tonight!”

Those words were lifted from Adele’s Twitter account.  She commented on Kanye West’s recent performance on the British show “Later… With Jools Holland.”

If Adele had known Kanye’s pre-performance antics she might have alter her Tweet.

It’s being reported that Kanye West was a bona fide prima donna leading up to his live recital on the popular British program.

West demanded that the set be rebuilt to his specifications, insisted everything in his dressing room be white, and he and his crew used half of the available 15 dressing rooms.

Of course, all that pales in comparison to his demand that the carpet in his dressing room be ironed.

Can you even iron carpet?

The 36-year-old rapper said the carpet was too bumpy.  And you thought your job was tough.

Now, many stars make odd requests like the one Kanye reportedly made.  Celebrity insiders say they make those crazy requests to see if their list of demands were actually read.  I think that’s a load of crap.  Celebrities aren’t that smart.

They make crazy requests because they’re spoiled and pampered.

In West’s defense, witnesses said he was fine “once he got to the performance.”  One of Jools’ crew members commented that Kanye West was “very quiet and unassuming” leading up to his set.

There is where I will give West a break.  The rapper’s product is himself.  It’s understandable that he would be protective and vigilant of his image.  So I’ll let his tantrums about the set slide (to a point).  He gets no pass however for wanting his carpet ironed.  That’s just ridiculous.

You can’t deny that West is a musical genius but it’s getting to the point where he’s also “musical sausage.”

Sausage is a delicious meal but you don’t want to know how it’s made.  Kanye West’s music is awesome but you don’t want to know how he made it… or anything else the man does (award show outbursts, calling U.S. presidents racists, posing as Jesus on magazine covers).

On Oct. 19, Kanye West tickets will be collected in Seattle, Washington.  It’s the opening date of West’s 1st solo tour in half a decade.

The high maintenance rapper is bringing along Kendrick Lamar to warm up audiences.

There are 23 cities on West’s route.  That’s a lot of carpet ironing.  This could become a cottage industry.

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Rihanna Is Three Hours Late To Concert: How To Prevent Artists From Being Tardy

RihannaRihanna Is Three Hours Late To Concert: How To Prevent Artists From Being Tardy

The city of Boston has been through a lot lately. In the realm of things this is fairly trivial, but it’s still a “wicked pissa.”

Monday night (May 6), Rihanna was three hours late to her show in Bean Town. When she finally appeared on stage she offered no apology—not for being late nor for actually showing up.

No offense to anyone, but Rihanna isn’t good enough to warrant a three-hour wait. McCartney and the Stones are, maybe U2 if you have VIP tickets, but not Rihanna.

To make matters worse, her opening act, A$AP Rocky, canceled. So there was no opening act just hours and hours of silence.

Thankfully, when Rihanna did finally take to the stage, the crowd booed her. You don’t mess with Boston concerts.

Why was she late? Some speculate it had to do with her boyfriend Chris Brown. Others think she was watching the Bulls game—which makes sense since they defeated the Miami Heat that night.

This is becoming a trend for Hanna-Mana. In March, she was four hours late to a charity event. She told the children waiting for her that she was caught in Chicago traffic.

If you’re delayed by traffic then call the venue and tell them you’re running late. There are these things out now called “cell phones.” They allow you to make a phone call from just about anywhere.

If traffic is the culprit then say so. Chances are good that those waiting for you will understand your delay. After all, they live in the city and frequently experience heavy congestion. They’ll wonder how they made it to the venue on time and you didn’t, but still, they might understand.

Now that we’re blasting Rihanna for being late let’s talk about solutions. After all, there’s an easy way to fix this.

If the artist doesn’t take to the stage in a certain amount of time (say 30 minutes plus an hour for each warm-up act) then all holders of concert tickets are entitled to a full refund including service charge.

Since Ticketmaster won’t be returning the service charge, it will be up to the artist/promoter to make good. Promoters are business people; they will make damn sure the artist is on time. They don’t want to be on the hook for a hefty refund.

If they can pass laws about paperless tickets then they can pass laws about artists performing on time. Of course, the law will be applicable to other forms of entertainment but not sports.

Unlike the popular music world, sports league and sports promotions want their fans to be happy and will naturally do right by them. Music artists, since there’s only one of them, and they perform in a particular city with far less frequency, have no incentive to be fan-friendly.

The proposed law would change all that.

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