One quality of outstanding leaders is their foresight to look ahead and see
extraordinary possibilities for their organization. In this regard, it’s nice to remember that the Commissioner has board authority to implement new ideas, such as Commissioner Selig did to finally bring Interleague Play to fruition nearly 70 years after it was first proposed by Bill Veeck’s dad (Source:”Veeck as in Wreck” by Bill Veeck with Ed Linn. ISBN #0226852180). In the spirit of breaking old norms
and bringing a new idea into the game, I’d like to make a proposal that
I think would not only be cool, but coincides with MLB’s mission of expanding the popularity and visibility of the sport.
short, I propose 24 consecutive hours of regular season Major League
Baseball games be played as the Opening Day to a season. The goal is to
have at least one MLB game in progress from 12am Eastern Standard Time until 12am Eastern Standard Time the next day, with games in locations all over the world.
For MLB to become a truly global sport, people outside North America and Japan will need to have some familiarity with the sport of baseball. The “Day of Baseball” would generate public relations interest not only in the United States, but could introduce people to baseball in places like Cairo, Egypt, Moscow, Russia, Sydney, Australia, and any other foreign
locations games were played in.
As part of this, I also see at least one game being played in each U.S time zone, ending in Hawaii.
Possible Event Schedule:
(I’m using the matchups on 4-23-2008 as the basis for this example)
12am EST: Rangers vs. Tigers, Beijing, China
2am EST: Phillies vs. Brewers, Tokyo, Japan
4am EST: Marlins vs. Braves, Sydney, Australia
6am EST: Twins vs. A’s, Auckland, New Zealand
8am EST: D’back vs. Dodgers, London, England
10am EST: Orioles vs. Mariners, Rome, Italy
12pm EST: Yankess vs. White Sox, Cairo, Egypt
1pm EST: Astros vs. Reds, Moscow, Russia (get it; the Reds are playing in Russia!)
2pm EST: Angles vs. Red Sox, New Delhi, India
4pm EST: Cardinals vs. Pirates, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
6pm EST: Nationals vs. Mets, New York, USA
8pm EST: Indians vs. Royals, Mexico City, Mexico
9pm EST: Cubs vs. Rockies, Denver, USA
10pm EST: Padres vs. Giants, San Francisco, USA
11pm EST: Blue Jays vs. Rays, Hawaii, USA
As with any business venture, there are potential downsides (but without risk, there isn’t much reward). First, the program could be a money loser if TV rights throughout the day don’t generate enough revenue here in the US, and if the international games are met with apathy. For the individual clubs, if they didn’t at least meet the ticket revenue they would generate from an average crowd, it might be a no-go. Also, considering the USA is fighting a war or terror, security costs might be high from some locations, or may not be worth the risk of playing
there all together.
Most importantly, appropriate facilities will have to be found in each location. Perhaps cricket and soccer pitches can be adapted for one-time baseball use. If not, the most daunting task would be creating baseball fields from scratch, which would not only be costly, but would have minimal spectator seating due to the one-time nature of the event.
Imagine a baseball event so captivating and unique that baseball fans talked about it for years afterward; that’s the potential upside to “24 hours of baseball.” Heck, throw in a cross promotion with the TV series “24”
and have even more fun with it. As a baseball fan, I know I would
follow the games online and on TV during the course of the day; it’s
very exciting to think about. This would be ton of positive PR for MLB, which is sorely needed after the recent steroids coverage. Maybe it even brings in the cash too, like selling out large venues in the international locations.
consider this specific blog post to be an open letter to Commissioner Selig; my hope is
that other baseball fans will be interested in this idea, and that this
idea will receive even some contemplation by the Commissioner’s Office.
Remember, by no means is this proposal definitive, but is just a rough outline to
introduce the idea.
(Photo Credit: http://www.thatsmyroom.com)
1.) Would it be safe to play games in some of the International locations proposed above?
2.) Would the player’s association agree to this idea?
3.) Could MLB make lots of money from this idea?