Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

HERMAN | Baseball Fans Just Wanna Have Fun

In this edition of “Out of Left Field,” Eilat Herman (CAS ’26) calls on MLB teams — especially her beloved Yankees — to evolve with the times and embrace fun over outdated traditions.

My brain is wired for watching baseball. I can sit still for three hours, watch nine innings of play and not descend into boredom. 

And I do mean “sit still.” If I freeze in a certain way, and Aaron Judge happens to hit a moonshot, I will remain in that exact position for the rest of the game. I’m superstitious.

Still, I recognize that not everyone agrees with me — in fact, my friends think I am a lunatic. But I understand why. Three hours is a long time, and people just might have better things to do than melt into the sofa and watch baseball. 

Some people even have the audacity to call baseball “boring.” And though I vehemently disagree, I understand where they are coming from. 

The truth is that baseball is fun, but Major League Baseball (MLB) is failing to prove it.

That needs to change.

From a business standpoint, MLB must make its product more appealing so that everyone — not just those who are crazy enough to write a baseball column for fun — has the impulse to turn on a game. 

To its credit, MLB implemented its pitch clock prior to the 2023 season. This innovation has slashed around half an hour of dead time from each game, and television ratings have responded accordingly.

Less to MLB’s credit, Shohei Ohtani exists. He pitches, hits, collects unanimous Most Valuable Player awards and sets records for jersey sales. It is hard to imagine that a single player has ever impacted viewership more than he has.

However, the pitch clock and the fortuitous existence of Shohei Ohtani are not enough — not when teams like the New York Yankees have maintained a stronghold on their outdated traditions. MLB must appease its younger audiences, and baseball’s most historic and popular franchise cannot sit this movement out.

We cannot point fingers at the Yankees’ players. Starting pitcher Nestor Cortes’ infamous mustache has earned its place on fans’ signs and T-shirts; former outfielder Brett Gardner firmly established himself as the class clown; and Aaron Judge’s record-breaking 62 home run season certainly qualifies as “fun.”

But the Yankees’ ownership is laser-focused on the past, and they appear too stubborn to invite change. 

The Yankees will reportedly be the only team to refuse to don a City Connect uniform, an alternate jersey sporting vibrant designs that reflect the home city’s personality. The team claims their home pinstripes are too iconic to forgo, even for a day. 

The Yankees also cling to their strict facial hair policy, banning beards and long hair — a measure more reminiscent of the military than of a professional sports team. 

This adherence to tradition for the sake of tradition is lunacy.

Young viewers do not want to see a corporate product. They want to see a modernized game — complete with fun jerseys, reflections of players’ individual styles, playful social media accounts and some occasional shenanigans. 

Yankees’ ownership must realize this. They should take it from a die-hard Yankees fan that dropping the old-school schtick will not erase their successful past or make fans think any less of them.

The Yankees are not the only team that should embrace a more relaxed style of play, but they have the opportunity to be a catalyst for league-wide change. 

Let players wear neon green baseball gloves. Let them have elaborate bat-flipping routines after a home run. Let them play catch with fans, harmlessly troll their opponents on social media or dance to Taylor Swift on the field like the Savannah Bananas, an exhibition-style baseball team whose goofy antics are inspired by the Harlem Globetrotters, do.

Take it from the famous line from “Field of Dreams”: “If you build it, they will come.”

If teams make an effort to allow personality to shine through the monotony of an over-a-century-old game, fans will come.

Maybe, just maybe, they will even stay for the whole three hours.

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