A couple years ago, MLB began its quest to speed up the game of baseball by using its favorite guinea pig, Minor League Baseball, to see whether a pitch clock might do the trick. It didn’t, but commissioner Rob Manfred hasn’t stopped running experiments in the minor leagues, like this season’s new extra-innings rule.
These and other pace-of-play initiatives make sense. Manfred has access to mountains of data, no doubt, which tell him and the rest of the braintrust in New York that people today don’t have the patience for 3-hour-plus games. I mean, look around. We barely have time for anything anymore, right? We’re guzzling venti Starbucks, slender cans of Red Bull and goodness knows what else to stay alert all day and night. We’re binging on self-help videos and lists to get more done in a 24-hour period than is humanly possible. Not coincidentally, we’re not getting nearly as much sleep as we should.
Look, baseball is what it is. It’s not a clock-driven sport. It takes as long as it takes. We can keep fighting it or steer into it. The latter is what this promotion idea is all about — embracing things in life that take time and are worth it. Meat smoked over an open flame. Strong coffee cold brewed overnight. The last car or mortgage payment. The sense of accomplishment after the DIY kitchen remodel is done.
I’d put baseball in there, too. I enjoy the game itself, but I also enjoy sitting way up top in the grandstand for the view while I watch the game. I enjoy eating whatever the ballpark specialty is. I enjoy walking the concourse. Baseball — and I’d argue Minor League Baseball in particular, is a holistic experience.
Remind fans that slow is good with this promo. Here’s how:
- Did I mention slow-cooked meats? That needs to be featured at the concession stands.
- How about a slow-cooker cook-off in which a select number of fans get to be judges? Winner gets a rocking chair to use while waiting on future slow cooker dishes!
- Speaking of rockers, I know a few teams put them out for fans to use. If there’s ever a time to do so, it’s this game. Encourage fans to kick back!
- Craft-o-rama! Creating cool things like family scrapbooks and accent tables for the living room take time, but that’s the fun of it. Line the concourse with DIY demos by local businesses.
- All video highlights and replays on the big board must be shown in slow motion.
- And, speaking of slow motion, perhaps hold a “slow motion” race in which the last place finisher gets the gold?
- I feel as if knitting should be involved somehow. Knitting lessons for the kids in the KidZone area?
Naturally, a cool special event jersey with an in-game auction (good things come to those who wait … and bid) will add to the occasion. I did this first design because I’m a dog lover and former basset hound owner. Yes, bassets are deceptively quick when a piece of cheese hits the floor, but generally these dogs slumber and lumber. I thought long body makes a perfect backdrop across the chest and long basset ears make a nice shoulder stripe, eh?