Every year, in the month and half between the Super Bowl and Opening Day, there is this kind anxiousness in the air. Media outlets go straight from the Super Bowl to Spring Training and baseball fans everywhere can start to feel it move. The only issue is, it’s a fucking tease!
There is no competitive baseball to be played until the last week of March and we are still in mid-February. Everyone watches the first couple of Spring Training games because of the excitement that it is finally back, but let’s be honest here. After a week it gets old because you know the games don’t mean shit. You kind of pay attention from that point on, but you’re still just impatiently waiting for Opening Day for some real baseball. Well I have a solution!
MAKE COLLEGE BASEBALL MORE MAINSTREAM!
College Baseball Season
NCAA Baseball started on February 14th. That is just 12 days after this year’s Super Bowl. There would be almost no lull if big media outlets like ESPN, Fox Sports, MLB Network, etc. would air the games live. I know it’s all about deals and rights, but come the fuck on.
During the week, MLB Network replays their morning shows in the afternoon. That is fucking asinine. I can only listen to Harold Reynolds and Ken Rosenthal talk about the Astros for so long. Give me some actual fucking baseball.
The NCAA Baseball season only runs until the end of June. The season only lasts 4 fucking months! There is really no excuse for not having at least a few games a week on, even if most of them occur during the day.
ESPN posted an article about ‘swinging for the fences’ for this year’s NCAA Baseball season. All you need to do is actually read the article to realize that is all a crock of shit!
All we are asking is that you fill this time period with some competitive baseball. The NHL and NBA are both kind of in the middle of their “dog days” at this point and College Baseball is the perfect gap stop to get people ready for Opening Day. College Basketball would be the biggest competition for NCAA Baseball at this time, but if you strategically placed games on ESPN/ESPN 2 during the day, in place of some of the scheduled programming, people may actually watch it!
Actual NCAA Baseball Coverage
In the article mentioned above, there is a long list of games played between February 18th and May 16th. The only problem is that about 90% of these games are on conference specific networks (ACCN, SEC Network, Longhorn Network, etc.). Then, the first game doesn’t air on any of the ESPN Networks until March 26th, the same day as MLB Opening Day. What a fucking nightmare!
39 of the games ESPN is “airing” will air on an actual ESPN network. 38 of those are on ESPNU, with the 39th game being aired on ESPN2. They also have a list of 106 games that will be aired on ESPN+. In terms of ease of access, it does not get much more difficult than trying to watch College Baseball.
The College World Series gets covered by ESPN and has been very successful. Sometimes, even more successful than MLB games that air on ESPN.
Last year, as of the day that Vanderbilt beat Michigan in the College World Series Final, that game was the highest rated baseball game on ESPN in the year 2019. With almost 2.1 million viewers, the Michigan-Vanderbilt game beat out the “best rivalry in sports” for the most watched baseball game to that point.
The point I am trying to make is that if you make it easy to watch, people are going to fucking watch. Especially in the February-March time-frame where baseball fans are just jonesing for some baseball.
Build Future Stars
Another huge impact that more college baseball could have is that the stars in the game will be noticed! Right now, the average baseball fan cannot name anyone on any college roster. That needs to change!
Zion Williamson was a bigger star in college than 90% of the guys in the NBA. The stars of this game need to be marketed, earlier and more often! It’s a fucking joke that if a guy throws a no-hitter in college he gets maybe 25 seconds of fame on ESPN and then it is never heard of again.
Plenty of these guys are star-worthy and we may just find the perfect marketable star that the MLB has been starved for. College brings out the best in athletes and I feel like there is no better way to market future stars than by starting with NCAA baseball.
The Games Are Actually Fun To Watch
Believe it or not, college baseball games are fun to watch. The use of the metal bats add a dimension that most fans are not familiar with. The ping that the bat makes as it makes contact with the ball is an exciting sound for all baseball fans.
College kids play for pride, not money. These kids aren’t out there dogging it, ever! They play their asses off every single game! They show passion. They actually give a shit about what happens. A lot of stuff that gets bashed in the MLB, like bat flips and celebrations, happens on a regular basis in college baseball. College baseball is fun to watch, and the media might realize that if they allowed us to watch it.
I know it fucking blows, because of how hard they are to find, but go ahead and watch as many of these games as you can! That way ESPN and other networks will be forced to continue making it easier for us to watch!