JEFF PEARLMAN

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Five ways to make Major League Baseball more engaging

That's Cesar Cedeno stealing home in 1977. When people stole home.
That’s Cesar Cedeno stealing home in 1977. When people stole home.

I was sitting here, trying to write, thinking of ways to make Major League Baseball more engaging and exciting without ruining its spirit. Here are some quickies …

• 1. Encourage bat flips: You hit a home run, flip your bat. Toss it high in the air, whip it to the side, attach some neon strings. People love bat flips. Pitchers don’t—but we do. So do it. Dramatically, energetically.

• 2. Mic players during games: Not just in All-Star Games—in all games. Pick a different guy, have him engage with announcers. Fill us in. What are you thinking? Feeling? Seeing?

• 3. Some of the uniforms simply need to change: The Angels, in particular, are so, so, so, so, so boring and dull. You have the greatest player of the past two decades, and you dress him like a librarian. Bring back vests. Go sleeveless for a day or two. Something. Anything.

• 4. Start stealing bases again: Seriously. Like, now. Rickey Henderson, Tim Raines and Vince Coleman brought more excitement to baseball than any power hitters of their era. I know … I know—it’s statistical suicide. Do you want the game to last? Or not?

• 5. Stop dishonestly selling the game: MLB’s commercials feature loud music and swinging a bat. Then we get to the stadium and it’s a guy stepping out, stepping in, adjusting his crotch, tying his shoe, stepping back in, then out, then in, then ball one, then out. Simply put: The product doesn’t match the marketing.

Wanna know what’s great about the live baseball experience? It’s chill. It’s usually sunny and warm. There are dogs and beers. You can catch a foul ball. It’s bliss for a mom and dad with a kid. Remind us all of that. The charm. The joy. Wanna leave after five innings? Fine. Have a great time.