The NFL has Thanksgiving.
The NBA has Christmas.
The NCAA has New Year's Day.
And now Alex Rodriguez says Major League Baseball should have theirs on the Fourth of July.
The former all-star turned ESPN baseball commentator telling the New York Post that MLB needs to have their own day, similar to the other sports leagues.
“You feed all your national partners — ESPN/ABC, Fox, TBS — and feed them with four national games. They have to be huge, dynamic matchups. You can’t set the date two years ahead of time. You have to be able to get the greatest matchup," Rodriguez said.
Honestly this makes sense. We've seen a tremendous amount of buzz these last few days during baseball's wild-card round, and a 4th of July day of baseball allows people to watch the games either at the Stadium or at BBQs or wherever else.
Everyone can watch a game, inevitably switch over to ESPN to see how many hot dogs Joey Chestnut is going to devour, and then switch back to the games. The national TV element for the games would only make it bigger and more important, something that A-Rod acknowledges.
“If the Dodgers play the Yankees in the World Series, maybe that’s how you open the season or program July 4. Be really strategic on it. Create these heavyweight battles," he said.
MLB'S EARLY SCHEDULING AT FAULT
One of the things that is holding baseball back from having more marquee match-ups is that they announce the upcoming season's schedule the previous August. Whereas the NFL and the NBA will wait not only until the playoffs are over, but also after the draft has happened and free agency has begun.
A-Rod says that by this antiquated process, MLB is actually hurting themselves. They may book games that they think matter, but then a player may be traded or a team may be suffering significant injuries, and suddenly nobody wants to watch that featured game.
“Baseball has so many great battles, but if you set up the trip to London two years ahead of time, and those teams end up going south … you should have the opportunity of being dynamic. You look at Field of Dreams this year. Cubs-Reds many years would be great! It might be great in two years. It wasn’t great this year.”
Once again Alex is right - this year's Field of Dreams game was abysmal with TV ratings falling more than 50% from last year.
He also brought up Albert Pujols. When the St. Louis Cardinal star left the team, it took MLB 8 years to have him return to his former ballpark. That is just idiocy to leave that money and buzz on the table. 8 years is FORVER in sports.
Alex agrees, telling the Post, "If you send his team to play in St. Louis the year after he signs, it’s three guaranteed sellouts. But if you wait eight years … . If your goal is to grow the game and bring popularity to it, you have to make it a priority.”
IN THE MODERN ERA YOU NEED TO ADAPT TO SURVIVE
Of course at 162 games, MLB's season is longer than the other leagues. Logistically it's much more difficult to play out, especially when they're in competition with musician's stadium tours and other summer events.
“You can probably set like 50-60 percent of the schedule early, but leave yourself some time to be dynamic. For example, if you go to London next year, why not go with our very best? It doesn’t always have to be the Yankees or Dodgers. There are other great matchups where you can put your best foot forward all the time,” he said.
Why not at least allow yourselves the OPPORTUNITY to pivot and broadcast games that matter. MLB desperately needs to continue to grow to compete with the NFL and NBA's popularity. Broadcast and make match-ups that matter and can bring in excitement, buzz and viewers.