MLB aims to make its draft even more boring

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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.

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  • Andy In Sunny Daytona

    I am prophetic.

  • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt ACTY

    Matt Stafford is infinitely more well known than Stephen Strasburg despite his historical greatness.

    Which is a shitty thing because what Strasburg is doing this year is just incredible. Everyone should be watching.

    • Lanny

      Stafford will also make 30 mill more than SS right off the bat.

      If there was no draft and teams could bid on these players like free agents they would make a fortune. Thats a real free market. A guy like SS would make 150 mill.

      But now hes stuck on the Nationals and the negotiations will be all summer and the MSM will paint him as greedy and Boras as a jerk and those poor Nationals being used and abused by that wily team and blah blah blah.

  • http://www.samiamsports.blogspot.com SamIAmSports

    “and I’ve taken off from work during draft week the past few years just so I can soak it all in.”

    You work?????
    Then how the hell are you able to write all these posts?

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

      Well, there are three of us.

    • http://www.samiamsports.blogspot.com SamIAmSports

      I thought that you guys are a bunch of rich people just doing this for fun …or that your a bunch of unemployed dudes that are trying to make a living out of this…..

  • Thomas A. Anderson

    The MLB draft won’t become big until College Baseball becomes a much more marketable TV product. The reason people love the draft is because they have the chance to build an emotional tie to the prospects in the draft because they watched them for 2-3 years.

    All that said, this is a bad move for MLB if they ever hope to make this thing big. Either put it on the weekend, or put it in prime time.

  • Chris

    Isn’t this basically the same thing the NFL is doing?

    http://www.dallasnews.com/shar.....d684a.html

    They focus on the first couple of rounds so the average fan can watch and start getting attached to the prospects, and then leave the last 47 rounds for the next 2 days so all the analysts can find out who the Yankees pick with the 1457th overall pick.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      I’m so disappointed with that, btw. Much worse for the fans who attend live.

      Two days on a Saturday-Sunday >>>>>>>>>> three days on a Thursday-Friday night + Saturday afternoon.

  • Rick in Boston

    Mike – Isn’t this later than usual? It’s usually around the 4th/5th/6th of June, right? Is this in response to the NCAA pushing back the start date?

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      Nah, it’s the first Tuesday of June. Last year it was a Wednesday for whatever reason.

  • A.D.

    This makes a ton of sense, now a fan doesn’t have to take off work to watch the rounds that are most interesting to them, the first few rounds. Obviously with baseball big players can be drafted later due to sign-ability.

    Plus I’m sure the MLB network will do what the NFL has done, talk about the players taken to fill time with picks happening on the bottom. When Strasburg goes first they’ll show a bunch of highlights and have Dan Pleasc talk about how he could be battling for a rotation spot real soon.

    • Lanny

      Who takes off for the baseball draft???

      Shatner had a good line about this…..

  • Lanny

    the mlb has its niche which is nice but even they cant think it will ever compete with the nfl or nba draft. Those guys are instant impact players and we have all heard about them for 5+ years. Anyone interested in college football has read or seen Stafford and Sanchez since they were in HS. How long before anyone hears about Tim Beckham?