I love the draft. It’s easily my most favorite baseball day of the year, and I’ve taken off from work during draft week the past few years just so I can soak it all in. Just a few years ago the thought of a televised draft was unthinkable, but the past two drafts have aired on ESPN (well, the first round anyway). As expected, the draft will shift over to the recently launched MLB Network this year, but there’s bad news. From Maury Brown’s The Biz of Baseball:
Major League Baseball announced today that the 2009 First-Year Player Draft will be held in Studio 42 at MLB Network in Secaucus, New Jersey. The Draft will begin live on MLB Network at 6:00 p.m. (EDT) on Tuesday, June 9th.
The 2009 First-Year Player Draft will expand from two days to three days, with the final two days being conducted via conference call from MLB headquarters in New York City. The first day will consist of the first 111 picks, including Round One, Compensation Round A, Round Two, Round Three and Compensation Round B. On Wednesday, June 10th, the Draft will resume in the fourth round at 12:00 p.m. (EDT) and will be tentatively scheduled to go through the 30th round. The Draft will conclude on Thursday, June 11th, which is set to cover the 31st-50th rounds.
The draft is long enough as it is, but now they’re adding a third day? And they’re going to start it at 6pm?!?! As much as I love the draft, it gets boring after a while. Once you go beyond the first five or six rounds, almost all of the players are complete unknowns and frankly will never see a big league roster. It’s hard to maintain that enthusiasm after the first few rounds, and dragging this thing out even more will make it even worse.
The baseball draft isn’t the NFL draft or even the NBA draft. These players are not recognizable because amateur baseball doesn’t receive nearly the same amount of media coverage as it’s football and basketball counterparts. Matt Stafford is infinitely more well known than Stephen Strasburg despite his historical greatness. It’s just the way it is. Teams aren’t drafting for need and the vast majority of players will have zero immediate impact. There’s just no reason for the average fan to worry about who their team takes with it’s top two or five or ten picks.
I applaud MLB’s efforts to increase interest in it’s first year player draft, but baseball’s amateur draft just isn’t made for TV. I miss my rapid fire, ten seconds between picks conference call.