Watching the Red Sox game Thursday night on NESN and Jonny Gomes is in as the color analyst with Dave O’Brien. Gomes makes the occasional entertaining or insightful comment, but he says a lot of dumb stuff, too. Has a tendency to explain some obvious things and talk….really…slowly…in the process.
He actually brought up something that could help with pace of play in baseball that I’ve never heard before.
Though I don’t think he meant for it to be perceived that way, he was discussing how he and O’Brien had to stall while Greg Gibson put on his gear to take over umpiring duties behind the plate after Jerry Lane was smoked by a Mike Trout foul ball.
Back to the point, here’s what Gomes said:
“With (Shohei) Ohtani here we were talking about (the) Japanese rookie. Let me tell you something. Over there, in Japan — when we were doing the broadcasting and you go to the commercial break — they don’t have commercial breaks. We’re kind of inventing stuff to cover right now, but they have advertisement(s) on their jerseys, advertisement(s) all over, so they don’t have to go to the commercial. So it’s a true three and a half hour, non-stop broadcast.”
Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.
You would think Major League Baseball has to be aware of this. They’ve made some changes on the NESN broadcast where they keep it at the field and essentially display a double-box with the commercial on one side, while its audio plays, and the players warming up between innings on the other side.
But if what Gomes said is accurate — which I really have no idea if it is — then they’re doing next-level things in Japan. Even if that’s not the case, if MLB could maintain it’s revenue by doing this, that would be a game changer.
This would allow play to start as soon as pitchers are ready. And I know I’ve seen guys be ready to go before commercial breaks end when I’m covering games.
Now fans don’t have to sit and wait, and wait…and wait, for a game that already has a generally slow tempo. More importantly: it’s not effecting play in-between the white lines.
Will this move the game along by a half hour? No, I’d probably guess around 10 minutes, which is pretty good. But like I said, it effects the tempo, which is just as important in a game filled with players TRYING to work pitchers into deep counts.
There are of course issues that come up with this. Two come to my mind.
One, you put advertisements on the jerseys. Old school baseball fans would hate that change. As someone who used to identify as a baseball purist, there’s not a shred of doubt in my mind that this would annoy people.
Seriously though, they’ll get over it. Nothing’s changing with the actual game, so I know they will eventually move past it. Plus, who likes commercials anyways? If this eliminates commercials no fan should be complaining.
The other issue is a bit bigger: the money. Again, I don’t know how valid Gomes’s statement was (and I say that again because I’m looking up Nippon Professional Baseball jerseys and not seeing advertising on the uniforms). So I’m not entirely sure how this would affect finances. There’s certainly money to be made by selling real estate on the jerseys with the NBA and European soccer leagues serving as evidence.
Would it be enough to make up for the revenue from commercials? Not a clue. If it can, the change HAS to be made.