Yesterday, I spent some time explaining why replacing a coaching legend/Hall of Famer was not a good career move for the successor. I was gently reminded later in the day that I had missed an obvious situation of this type that is going to happen in less than a month. Indeed, I had…
Vin Scully was not a coach or a manager, but he was a broadcasting legend. His 65+ years at the microphone doing Dodgers’ games – from Brooklyn and LA – were magical for most of his tenure there. He is in the Hall of Fame; he belongs in the Hall of Fame; his voice was an iconic presence in the MLB cosmos for at least 5 decades. And … he retired last year.
Replacing Vin Scully on the radio calling LA Dodgers’ games this year is 29-year old Joe Davis. Vin Scully worked solo for all those years – a style that has gone the way of the starting pitcher who throws 10-15 complete games in a season. Davis will call the games with “help” in the booth from either Nomar Garciaparra or Orel Hershiser or both. If you want to criticize Davis from Day One, you can point to the fact that Scully never needed help and this “whippersnapper” needs it from the start. I think the more rational way to look at this is that having a sidekick in the booth is something that will minimize the direct comparisons between Davis and Scully. The more diminution there is on that axis, the better it will be for Davis and the Dodgers’ radio network.
Scully took over for a legend in Brooklyn – – Red Barber. Scully did so successfully and hung around for more than 6 decades. Davis is 29 years old. If he can avoid the initial complaints that “He’s not Vin Scully!” and settles in as a great broadcaster – we won’t know about that for at least several years – he may be with the Dodgers for the next 5 decades himself.
Bonne chance, Joe Davis…
While on the subject of baseball – at least peripherally – the KC Royals are using Spring Training to prepare for the regular season on the baseball front and on the culinary front. At their Spring Training stadium in Surprise AZ, the Royals will offer this to fans in attendance:
- A hot dog, wrapped in bacon then wrapped in a cheeseburger.
- The “official name” the Triple Play Dog. I think it should be named the Gut Bomb.
The stadium concession folks say that this concoction checks in at 850 calories. If so, my calculations say that this is either a small beef patty or a minimal amount of cheese. My back-of-the-envelope calculations say that the Triple Play Dog should check in between 1000 and 1100 calories. And we will not discuss the grams of fat in there…
Here is the question that folks who order the Triple Play Dog must be wondering:
- What do you get for dessert?
- Answer: How about an ice cream sandwich where the external “sweet things” are chocolate donuts instead of cookies? How did the concession company miss that opportunity?
Sticking with baseball topics for a moment more, lots of people have opined that MLB needs to do more to cultivate its next generation of fans. The simplistic explanation for the basis of this assertion is that millennials do not have the attention span to enjoy baseball and its leisurely pace of play. Hence, the movements to “speed up the game” by the powers that be.
I certainly do not object to measures that will prevent 9-inning games from becoming 4-hour marathons; I have suggested in previous rants some modifications to the rules that would speed up the game and I have another one a few paragraphs down today. However, I think that there is something else that MLB can – and should – do to cultivate a younger fanbase. I ran across this stat:
- The last time that a World Series Game was played in daytime was in October 1987 – – thirty years ago this Fall.
In days of yore – the 50s, 60s and 70s – the World Series was must-see TV. People took off from work to do just that. Kids rushed home from school to do that; I know I did. Today, all the World Series Games are at night and for fans on the East Coast – – where there are LOTS of fans and LOTS of future/potential fans – – World Series Games rarely end before midnight or 1:00AM. That is not a scheduling strategy to win over new and young fans to your game… Perhaps the Commish and the union mavens for baseball might consider playing the opening game and the fourth game of the World Series in the daytime for the next several years to see if this skews the viewing audience a bit younger…
I said I had an idea for a rule change that might speed up some MLB games. Specifically, games in September can drag on and on because managers then have 40 players at their disposal making pitching changes and pinch hitters/runners and the like much easier to do. I understand that teams want to have their young minor-leaguers up for a taste of what the big leagues are like but maybe MLB can take a lesson from the NFL here.
- Why not expand the rosters to 40 in September but only allow 27 or 28 players to be eligible to play in any one game?
- Managers can declare some veterans ineligible for some games to give the youngsters a chance to play and to give the vets some time off.
- Hey! It’s a thought…
Finally, Brad Dickson of the Omaha World-Herald noted the beginning of the college baseball season and reminded readers of the dumb rule change that will be experimental in the lower minor leagues this year:
“Big Ten baseball teams begin play next week in mid-February. Once again, ties will be broken by a two-man luge competition.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………