MLB Needs To Embrace The Star System

MLB and baseball as a whole are going through an identity crisis at the moment. It is a sport taking a big hit right now. It’s not dead, but it’s on life support. Even with an enthralling 2016 postseason and home run numbers sky-rocketing, baseball needs a change. The solution isn’t changing the game, but rather grasping what they already have. Take a page out of Hollywood’s book, MLB, and embrace the star system.

Baseball purists have never had to promote their stars to get people to watch. The sports star systemworld has changed. I’m not a huge fan of the NBA, but you have to recognize how massive that league has become worldwide. They’ve got major fan bases in China and Spain and Brazil. Their league spans the continents. The MLB does not.

It really is that simple for the NBA. They just promote their stars more than their teams. A game of Oklahoma City vs. Houston is not billed as “Thunder vs. Rockets.” Instead, it’s “Russell Westbrook vs. James Harden.” That can really make all the difference. Within the NBA, there are legions of fans who support players, not teams. While that would probably never catch on in a city like Boston, it has made the popularity of the NBA soar. That kind of exposure of players creates an entire universe of heroes and villains, bringing infinitely more passion and hatred and a rooting interest for the league.

You don’t need me to tell you the MLB has nothing close to that. This past weekend should’ve been hyped up like a heavyweight fight, a 15-round title match between Mookie Betts and Aaron Judge. Saturday’s game was a match-up between two All-Star pitchers. One of them was Chris Sale, the best pitcher in the league. That game was on Fox Sports 1. FREAKING FOX SPORTS 1. Women’s Golf was deemed the better product to watch on Fox. Women’s golf over Red Sox-Yankees with Chris Sale on the mound.

There is really no reason why the MLB can’t be a better league than the NBA. Baseball has always been a worldly sport. Basketball has just started to be in that discussion the last decade. There are no super teams in the MLB. Aaron Judge just went 0 for the series against the Red Sox. He isn’t coming to Boston next year. David Price did not ask to go to Cleveland after they handed him his lunch in last year’s playoffs. My point is, this is not the NBA. If you take the positives from what they have done, you will far surpass the NBA.

The Star System Doesn’t Even Need Personality

The stars don’t even need personality, they just need to be promoted like stars. James Harden, Steph Curry, even Kevin Durant, these guys are dry. They’re boring. They aren’t polarizing. Yet, people would think they are because their names are EVERYWHERE. So don’t tell me Mookie Betts can’t be marketed because he isn’t as funny as David Ortiz. It’s on the league, not the players, to make this sport more popular.

So I’m calling out Major League Baseball. I don’t want more Yankees and Angels fans, I want more Aaron Judge and Mike Trout fans. I want people to know what number Kris Bryant is. Give me people who know what team Bryce Harper plays for. I don’t want a World Series of Astros vs. Dodgers. I want a World Series of Carlos Correa vs. Cody Bellinger. Give me a reason to watch the game. The sport is dying, unfortunately, but the players are still the same. Give the game to the players, not the purists.

Red Sox Poised for a Huge Yankees Series

Alas, they have come. The two most agonizing days of the baseball season are upon us. While we await baseball after the All-Star break, the Red Sox will start their second half with a bang. Yes, it’s a Yankees series that waits in the wings, and it’s a crucial one.

Mookie Betts, Chris Sale and Craig Kimbrel can enjoy their final mimosas iYankees seriesn Miami, but Friday marks their return. The trip will take them home to Boston and the business is to prove they really are the best team in the AL East. After losing a series in Tampa, four games in three days against the Yankees is going to be a great measuring stick for this team.

Personally, I think the Yankees have seen their best days already in 2017. They scuffled mightily in June going 13-15 and rode that wave into a 2-6 July. The lack of pitching has caught up to them and the holes are beginning to sink New York’s ship. The Yankees have drowned in fortune this year (Aaron Judge, for one) and are still only tied for second place with the upstart Rays.

Even though they are in something of a rebuild, albeit ahead of schedule, don’t be surprised if the Yankees make waves on the trade deadline. A starter like Sonny Gray or Gerrit Cole could very well be in pinstripes come August 1st. That, however, shouldn’t carry them over the Red Sox if Boston can handle their business like they should this month. Again, it starts with this series.

Red Sox-Yankees Series Will Start With Pitching

A red hot Drew Pomeranz will get the start Friday. Even though there’s no excuse for Chris Sale not to start and get off on the right foot, it will be Pomeranz. Although he can be frustrating to watch, Pomeranz seems to have returned to his All-Star form he had in 2016. Nonetheless, Sale will go Saturday and if the Yankees have a daddy, he wears #41 for the Red Sox. He OWNS them.

Furthermore, the Red Sox will need to get the offense back and hitting consistently. They mustered just four runs in their three losses in Tampa. They looked like a completely different team than the one we saw in Toronto the week before. It’s been all or nothing for the Red Sox offense this year. As a result ,the starter’s with the lowest ERA in the league is in danger of losing first place. It has been rare for the Red Sox to get the offense and pitching going at the same time the last two years. Obviously, they’ll need to correct that sooner rather than later to extend their lead.

So get ready to dive back head first into baseball Friday night. After that, you won’t be able to rid the sport until October so just make it to Friday people. If both these teams can continue to stay at each other’s necks this year, we could have what we’ve been waiting years for. We could have a rivalry again.