Baseball

Baseball is back. Thursday is opening day for the major leagues. All 30 teams are in action. And while the cry of "play ball!" sounds throughout the majors, baseball officials hope the game embraces a companion cry of "hurry up!"

Since 2014, the average time of a nine-inning game has hovered at or above three hours, which may be driving away the younger demographic baseball is trying to appeal to.

Rocky Mountain Vibes

The Colorado Springs Sky Sox has a new name and logo.

The minor league baseball teams is now the Rocky Mountain Vibes. And the new logo is… wait for it… a S’more. Well, technically it’s a flaming marshmallow wearing a graham cracker jacket, jeans, boots and sunglasses.

“Our fun-loving S’more with a winning attitude,” the team Tweeted, “he’s spreading Good Vibes all across the land!”

New Colorado Sports Complex May Boost Rural Tourism

Jun 1, 2017
Rocky Mountain Sports Park

A $225 million sports complex is expected to be built in the Northern Colorado town of Windsor, about an hour and a half drive north of Denver.

As planned, the Rocky Mountain Sports Park would be home to 60 baseball fields and a 10,000 seat stadium, in the hopes of attracting a minor league baseball team.

Because college football and basketball are so prominent, when the best players move up to the pros they're already well-known.

However, baseball's different.

How many of you pretty good sports fans can tell me who won the baseball College World Series just a few weeks ago? Same with the players. Even the stars drafted highest are anonymous except to the real cognoscenti. And even then, whereas invariably the can't-miss prospects in other sports don't miss, hardly ever miss, in baseball nobody ever says: Can't miss. Fact is, the ones who miss too often are the scouts.

For those of you who haven't got your baseball All-Star ballot in, don't panic, you have until Thursday. It's convenient. You can get a ballot off the Internet, and here's the good news: You can vote 35 times.

Understand what I'm saying? Each fan can cast 35 votes. Where that magic figure comes from, I don't know. Why not 3,500 apiece? Or 35,000?

For those of us in sports who like to wallow in extended misery, this has been one terrific time. The Chicago Cubs hired a popular new manager, reminding us again, interminably, that they have now gone 106 years without winning the championship, eating up 51 managers in the process.

When the Giants' Gregor Blanco hit a home run to lead off the second game of the World Series, millions of viewers heard that satisfying crack of the bat well before watching the ball fall into the Royals' bullpen.

It's baseball's most iconic sound, and it's the No. 1 job for Fox's baseball audio engineer-in-chief, Joe Carpenter.

"The bat crack is really kinda where everything starts for us," Carpenter tells NPR's Arun Rath.

Along with the U.S. Open in tennis, early September means baseball's pennant race is in full swing ... and no sports term has become a more maddening cliche than baseball's "walk-off."

At first it was applied only to a walk-off home run — that is, when the home team would win in the last inning with a homer — game's over, so it's a walk-off, because there's no need to run. Then there became walk-off triples, doubles, singles, sacrifice flies — even walk-off walks with the bases loaded. It's creeping walk-offism.

Let's boldly confront the greatest mystery in all of sport: Why do hot dogs always taste better at the ballpark?

Baseball food has, of course, taken on a much greater variety since 1908, when "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" only celebrated peanuts and crackerjack. But it is another enduring mystery of sport why fans eat during a baseball game, while the preferred mode of cuisine for football is before the game, out in the parking lot — tailgating.

If there's one rule in American sports that is universally despised, it is the National Basketball Association's stipulation that a player cannot be drafted out of high school, but must put in an extra year playing somewhere — invariably at college. It makes a sham of both education and teamwork, and when the best kids are picked up, the policy is properly ridiculed as "one-and-done."

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