It’s time to acknowledge that MLB games will feel a little different this year. A few days ago the Bleacher Report summarized the MLB rule changes that went into effect for this season. From a sociological perspective, social change is always occurring even if its hard individuals to adapt to change.
Sociologists argue that change can be evolutionary, the product of conflict or competition, or necessary to maintain social equilibrium. So we must ask: what social forces have caused baseball to change, are such changes necessary, and how will they impact society?
On Opening Day, an editorial in the Inland Valley Bulletin (Rancho Cucamonga, CA) noted, “Baseball should remember that long games are a good problem. If fans are frustrated that they can’t stay up late enough to watch the end, it’s because the end is worth seeing.” A fan’s letter to the editor in response to that editorial added, “If losing Vin Scully from my days of summer weren’t bad enough, now I must deal with rule changes that address the false narrative that true, honest, real baseball fans have a short attention span.”
The New York Postattempted to explain “Why baseball is going up a game that’s booming.” One reason, according to the article, is to lure that elusive younger demographic.
Baseball is part of the larger society undergoing demographic change. Is that reason enough to change the institution of baseball? We’ll have to keep observing to determine the impact of MLB’s rule changes.
MLB & the MLBPA today jointly announced a series of modifications that have been approved and will be in place in the 2017 regular season: pic.twitter.com/IjVboUSCGd
I have a few heroes outside of baseball, and Mary Tyler Moore was one of them. She inspired women, journalists, and pretty much everyone (including Oprah) to follow their dreams. But this is a blog about baseball, right?
Soon after her death on January 25th, the Minnesota Twins posted a video of Moore’s 2002 appearance at the Metrodome. She did a pretty decent job of throwing out that first pitch:
Ok, so that may be the only connection between baseball and MTM, but it got me thinking of how much both baseball and The Mary Tyler Moore show are ingrained in our culture. In fact, some time ago, when Freddy Garcia was still with the Mariners, there was a Mary Tyler Moore-esque Mariners promo featuring Garcia:
President Barack Obama has been doing a lot of baseball-related things this week. On Monday, he hung out with the Chicago Cubs at the White House. On Tuesday, he pardoned Willie McCovey, who had been sentenced to two years probation in 1995.
He probably won’t have time for any other baseball activities in his last few hours as President. So, I thought I’d just reflect on his baseball highlights from the last 8 years, including that time he hung out with the Washington Nationals Racing Presidents:
May 15: Welcomes 2008 World Series champion Philadelphia Phillies to the White House
July 14: Attends his first game as President, throwing out the first pitch of the MLB All Star game in St. Louis; accompanied by Willie Mays on Air Force One
February 8: Greets the 2009 Little League World Series Champions, the Park View All-Stars from Chula Vista, CA
April 5: Throws out first pitch at Washington Nationals home opener
April 26: Welcomes 2009 World Series champion New York Yankees to the White House
June 18: Attends White Sox v. Nationals game in DC. White Sox win
August 14: Obama honors collegiate champions in several sports, including College World Series Champions, University of South Carolina
July 25: Honors 2010 World Series winners, San Francisco Giants at the White House
November 30: Meets with Dutch Prime Minister, who gives him a baseball jersey of the Dutch National Team, which won the Baseball World Cup the previous month
January 17: Hosts 2011 World Series Champions, the St. Louis Cardinals, at the White House
August 3: Signs the National Baseball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin Act into law
August 10: Announces selections for Presidential Delegation to attend the Closing Ceremony of the 2012 Olympics, which includes former MLB player and Gallaudet University baseball head coach, Curtis Pride
July 29: Welcomes 2012 World Series winners, the San Francisco Giants, to the White House
August 4: Honors former Negro Leaguers at the White House, including Minnie Minoso, Pedro Sierra, and Ron Teasley
November 20: Awards the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Ernie Banks
April 1: Welcomes the Boston Red Sox, 2013 World Series winners, to the White House
May 20: Makes surprise visit at Little League game in Washington, DC; throws first pitch
May 22: Visits the Cooperstown, NY, and the Baseball Hall of Fame to make a speech about tourism; donates the jacket he wore when he threw out his first 1st pitch in 2009
November 22: Plays golf in Las Vegas with Dereck Jeter on an off day
May 18: Gets his own Twitter account, follows the White Sox and other Chicago sports teams (but apparently not the Cubs)
June 5: Hosts 2014 World Series Champion San Francisco Giants at the White House
June 11: Attends annual Congressional Baseball Game
November 24: Bestows the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Yogi Berra and Willie Mays
March 22: Attends a Tampa Bay Rays game. With Raul Castro. In Cuba.
Deux Montréalais qui vont visiter chaque terrain de la ligue majeure de baseball pour promouvoir le retour d'une équipe de baseball à Montréal Two montrealers visiting all the mlb ballparks to promote the return of an mlb franchise in Montreal