Will you be watching the MLB draft? LOL.
The MLB draft is to professional sports drafts like the Tony awards are to major awards shows. It happens and I’m sure there are people who care but those people are the exception, not the rule. Here’s the problem.
The MLB draft doesn’t matter because the players drafted, with very few exceptions, are not going to make any sort of short-term impact. Most of them are barely known at this point because that’s not how baseball works. Sure, there may be some stud who comes out of college already boasting an MLB level pedigree but in reality, most of these guys, if they even ever make it to the big leagues, are going to be playing a few years in the minors to get ready. Baseball requires a level of apprenticeship that just isn’t necessary in other sports.
The NBA and NFL drafts play well on TV because not only have these guys already played on the national stage and in the national spotlight, fans and teams also make the assumption that they will have an immediate impact. Guys like Reggie Bush and LeBron James can start every game of their rookie campaign and instantly make a team relevant. In baseball, that just isn’t the case.
That being said, I can appreciate what Selig would like to do. Sure, MLB’s revenue may be growing but a little statistical analysis will show you that this growth is dwarfed by that of the NBA and the NFL. To keep up and remain relevant, MLB must constantly search for new ways to entertain, new ways to create revenue and new ways to attract new recruits.
Unfortunately, pimping the MLB draft isn’t the way to do it. I’ll explain by going back to the Tony awards for a second. The problem with the Tonys is that theatre is no longer relevant in the US. Film and TV have both surpassed it in terms of entertainment and cultural and societal critique. That’s why people have Oscar parties and chat about the Emmies but couldn’t care less about the Tonys. Similarly, MLB doesn’t hold the same cultural relevance at this point in time as either professional football or basketball. Sure, the fans still care but people not only watch the NBA and NFL games more regularly, they’re also willing to watch the two leagues’ drafts.
So you make a good point, Mark. And to answer your assuredly rhetorical question, no, I will not be watching the MLB draft just like I won’t be watching the Tony awards. MLB needs to make itself relevant again before there’s any chance that I will.