To the Editor:
I am fully aware of the tough times universities are going through. There is uncertainty about how they will fund activities/sports that are not revenue producing.
Presidents and athletic directors have hard decisions to make. I do not envy them.
Recently, college baseball programs were cut at Bowling Green University and Furman University.
I do have a dog in this fight. I played college baseball at the University of Northern Iowa. The program was cut after I graduated. I was done playing, but it did not make it any easier. I thought about those who came behind me. We tried to mount a campaign to save the program, but were not successful.
It felt like no matter what we did, how much money we raised, the administration had predetermined the outcome.
As I have gotten older, my anger has lessened. Make no mistake though, the frustration is still there and what I have seen at BGSU and Furman has opened the wound again.
My frustration has turned to Major League Baseball.
Our game has been fighting the battle for years for kids’ attention. Other sports compete for their time and energy. Baseball can be considered a “slow” game.
MLB invests in youth baseball to some degree. Once a kid hits high school, MLB forgets about them until they are 18 and then they only think about them if they have a 95 mph fastball or an exit velocity of 95+ off the bat. If a kid does not fall into that category, they are forgotten again until they are 20. If they have grown enough and can now hit the metrics, they might get another look.
When they are not one of those “lucky” enough to slog through the minors, we are still left with an army of ambassadors to continue to grow the game for future generations. How can MLB not see this as an opportunity? The longer you keep players playing, the more love they have for the game.
Baseball is the greatest game we can play. The nuances and micro situations in every game are fascinating. Plus, name me another sport where the defense controls the ball.
MLB has an opportunity here. It will take some thought and creativity to figure out how to keep what is happening in places like BGSU from happening in the future.
Kansas City, MO