Eric Painter of Texas has long been a huge fan of baseball and believes it is still America’s Pastime. However, it’s also hard to ignore the fact that football and even basketball seem to get more views on television and more general interest in social media. Is the sport dying? Not at all. But steps must be taken to address this failing popularity to ensure that it remains relevant and engaging.
How Eric Painter Thinks Baseball Can Regain Its Edge
The first thing Eric Painter of Texas thinks can be done is opening up youth sports again. Unfortunately, many young players are more interested in video games or electronics. Well, why not integrate these into the game? For instance, young tech-savvy players can create a video game team with their friends’ and teammates’ names, simulate seasons, and play together outside of practice and games to bond and enjoy the sport on a deeper level.
It may also be important to speed up the game without changing too much about how it operates, Eric Painter says. The MLB is clearly trying to do something about that by making intentional walks automatic instead of forcing them to pitch. Others have called for pitch clocks that could force pitchers to speed up, but others are wary of such changes. Maybe encouraging pitchers to speed up the game would help, as would encouraging or even rewarding batters for taking fewer times outs or breaks at the bat.
Other changes, such as limiting the number of fouls a batter can hit, would probably change the fundamental nature of the game too much for most fans to tolerate. For example, calling an out or a walk after a certain number of foul balls would end the unique ability of batters to “stay alive” during tough at-bats. Minor changes could help speed up the game, though, such as providing a more steady supply of balls to the catcher during these at-bats.
Lastly, Eric Painter of Texas believes it is important to create what he calls the superstar mentality. Now, obviously, there are a lot of superstars in baseball. Mike Trout and others like him are some of the biggest names in sports. However, their followers on social media and their jersey sales lag far behind football and basketball players. As a result, these superstars need to be more open and engaging.
That isn’t to say that baseball players haven’t been historically welcoming or engaging. In fact, many are often too friendly and seem too approachable. Eric Painter doesn’t believe that baseball stars need to become aloof and difficult to bring the support back to relevance. That’s more likely to drive people away than anything. Instead, the big names need to be more interesting and engaging.
After all, the big names of baseball’s history like Babe Ruth, Ken Griffey Jr, Ty Cobb, and many others all have a very specific image and a lengthy reign of success. Modern baseball players seem to lack that cache and interest, meaning that steps should be taken to get them to engage with the audience and inspire more legions of followers. Addressing team balance issues may help here, though some teams will always struggle due to poor history or management.
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