• Mark T. Williams

    Mark Williams

    Mark T. Williams is a BU Questrom School of Business executive-in-residence and a master lecturer in finance and holds the James E. Freeman Lecturer Chair. He is the founder of UmpScores, a performance app used to measure MLB umpire accuracy. Profile

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There are 4 comments on POV: Baseball Needs to Shake Up the Game—or Risk a Slow Death

  1. Great article! I didn’t know that “In 1974, the NFL moved the goalposts to the back of the end zone”

    To your broader point, no sport has a guaranteed, perpetual right to popularity: it has to be continually earned. I sometimes think fans would watch (and gamble on) two caterpillars racing if you promoted it right. Just look at the growth in MMA or F1 in the US or, per the recent Boys in the Boat movie, crew being the number two sport after baseball back in the 1930s.

  2. Interesting article and I agree with a number of your takes on how to improve the game, particularly awarding a run to a defensive unit that is able to make that elusive three-out play!

    It’s difficult to compare baseball to football, America’s most-watched sport. Baseball season is long and grueling, and there are multiple, back-to-back games every week. Football is a once-a-week blast for fans, with buildup throughout the week as we look ahead to the next matchup. Baseball season, in and of itself, is just not structured to deliver the same jolt of excitement week in and week out.

    Most casual fans (or those not really into baseball at all) still have no idea, in 2024, that a pitch clock has been instituted and they certainly don’t know what an infield shift is. For them, these rule changes haven’t moved the dial at all on their interest to see a game or their understanding that the game is now a little bit shorter, as they just haven’t been informed and marketed to by MLB.

    I might suggest that, in addition to some of these novel changes you suggest, MLB just has a marketing problem at the end of the day. Are they not getting the right sponsors or flashy public figures to help make baseball more fun? Should ticket prices just be lower?

  3. I love baseball and have watched games in 14 different MLB parks (working on getting to 30). The recent rule changes – pitch clock, mound visits, and disengagements – do speed up the game and also alter strategy & gamesmanship on the field.

    And then there’s scarcity, or the lack of it…162 games in a season is a LOT of baseball. Football regular season games are scarce at 17, and the perceived value is higher.

    Changes I’d like to see are limiting the number of pitcher changes in a game, and restricting the number of foul balls allowed, to shorten the at-bats. I’m looking at you, Dustin Pedroia.

    The change I hate the most? starting the 10th inning with a runner at 2nd.

  4. Judging by the obscene number of red sox fans that clog the green line at Government Center, I wouldn’t say baseball is going anywhere

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