Baseball Finally Makes a Perfect Pitch
The MLB battles for all the marbles this season
Much to my surprise, I find myself fascinated with the baseball season that is now, officially, upon us. Why? Mostly, it’s captured by this MLB ad, narrated by Bryan Cranston of Breaking Bad fame.
So why does this catch my eye? First, because it’s an incredible 30-second ad, deserving of whatever the House of Strauss 2023 version of a Clio is (A House? A Strauss?). It effectively communicates the three primary changes (pitch clock, banning of the shift, bigger bases) while presenting the reforms as fan-informed improvements to an already great product.
Second, this ad catches my eye because it represents baseball’s big, active push to save itself and salvage its relevance. Much like the NBA in the early 2000s, Major League Baseball has decided to actively do something about its fall from grace. The NBA reversed its post-Jordan decline in what was, in my opinion, one of the great, unheralded stories in sports (we’ll get into this later on in the post). Right now, the MLB is trying to engineer its own comeback story, perhaps in more difficult circumstances.
If baseball is successful, it provides a modern model for other sports leagues as they look out at an uncertain, precarious future. If it fails, then perhaps there’s no solve to these modern problems. So the stakes are big.