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To Fix Baseball, Rookie Players Need A Chance To Shine

harryreardon
ANALYST
News
27   //    21 Jun 2018, 13:39 IST

Seattle Mariners v. New York Yankees

Longtime fans of baseball understand that the sport is in a dire place right now – attendance is way down, and players are striking out at levels never before seen. Across the league, spirits are low, and America’s favorite pastime appears to be losing more and more of that lustrous shine that once made it one of this nation’s defining social activities. If we want to get serious about fixing baseball, we need to give rookie players the chance they need to shine.

Here’s why the MLB’s existing salary system is rotten from the core on outwards, and what the league needs to do if it wants to start batting a thousand again.

The MLB has seen better days

There’s no use in dancing around the issue – the MLB has seen better days. League-wide attendance is down by more than 8 percent overall this year alone, and we’re consistently seeing flagging enthusiasm across the fan base. What’s worse, our problems seem to be getting progressively worse, and no fix seems to be in sight when it comes to re-lighting the spark that once made baseball America’s greatest obsession.

The solution to our problems is actually laying before us, however – we just need to give rookie players a chance to shine. Time and time again, fans around the country are turning out not to see established veterans round the bases (or more likely these days, to strike out) but rather to see their favorite up and coming all-stars on their journeys toward the hall of fame. Given that current attendance levels are at the worst levels we’ve seen since the mid-1990’s, it’s safe to say that some drastic changes are in order to give the sport of baseball the kick in the pants it needs to get back on its feet.

Virtually all suspense has been sucked out of today’s baseball, which is seeing strikeouts occur left and right in a dull display that’s leaving fans on the verge of tears for want of some action. One of the greatest issues besetting the MLB right now that no one’s talking about, however, is the existing salary regime that’s keeping rookie players down for the benefit of team owners and veteran players. Much has been written about the payroll woes that beset the MLB right now in the past, but nothing really is being done about it, and league officials seem content on paying as little attention as possible to this issue.

If rookies don’t start getting a better deal when they’re negotiating contracts with teams, there’s little incentive for up and coming all-stars to remain in the sport for long. Fans are desperate for some new talent in the MLB, because new talent means innovation and energy. If there’s one thing flagging attendance numbers tell us, it’s that the game is just too dull to succeed right now. A fresh shot in the arm that helps rookies succeed and get a bigger piece of the pie will help the league turn its flagging attendance numbers around.

Young players give baseball life

It’s always been true that young baseball stars are what gives the sport some life. From the early days of the history of baseball, new talent being brought in to shake up the game has been one of the fundamental drivers of the sport’s success. If we place a higher value on the talent that rookie youngsters can bring to the table, we’ll help push out older players who are far past their prime but are still taking up valuable spots on the field, much to the chagrin of the audience.

Given that it’s also been established that players are seeing their skills degrade at a faster pace than originally thought possible, it also stands to reason that an influx of new talent will help up the efficacy of today’s teams who just aren’t putting in the kinds of performances that fans have come to expect. Modern athletes are supposed to be paragons of fitness, capable of handling an array of dexterous tasks that would put many of us ordinary players or fans to shame. On the field today, however, we’re too often punished by being forced to watch players who are past their prime shamble towards the ball during a low-energy play.

Nobody wants to be an active participant at the ongoing funeral of baseball that we’re currently undergoing. If fans are serious about saving the sport of baseball, we need to get proactive and inject more enthusiasm for rookie talent into the game. Until managers and owners start giving younger players opportunities to prove themselves in the arena, baseball is going to continue fading into obscurity. Our greatest national pastime deserves better than that – let’s give baseball the chance it deserves to shine again. 

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