Keller @ Large: Baseball Better Wise Up

BOSTON (CBS) – We are a culture in a hurry, no question about it.

We want fast transportation with fast lanes for those in a special rush, fast food, high-speed internet downloads, instant access, immediate results, and so on, all designed to accommodate our rapidly dwindling attention spans.

Candidate Donald Trump completely understood this.

No long-winded policy discussions in his stump speeches or on his website, no way, just bite-sized thought nuggets, compact and memorable slogans, and if your attention starts to flag, a steady diet of Twitter bombs to grab you by the… oh, never mind.

So I can’t really blame Major League Baseball for worrying about their ability to attract short-attention-span customers with a sport that has no game clock, and features games that routinely surpass the limits of TV viewers’ ability to focus.

However, I had to laugh at their latest attempt to speed things up, a new rule that allows a manager to order an intentional walk with just a hand gesture to the umpire.

This, of course, will do almost nothing to cut the average game time.

Last year there were about two intentional walks every five games, which means roughly two minutes saved over that span, by my crude math, an average of 24 seconds per game.

And while the free pass is far from the most exciting part of a baseball game, this move violates a key part of baseball’s appeal – that the actions required are so varied and complex, the failure of even one of them can cost you a win.

That’s exactly what happened the other day when a college baseball team won on a game-ending wild pitch – during an intentional walk.

Baseball better wise up.

There’s no way they can ever match the tempo of basketball or hockey.

Better to focus on growing the fan base that gets and enjoys your game, than to ruin it by chasing a ghost.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

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