Lance McAlister

Lance McAlister

Lance McAlister covers everything in Cincinnati sports! Host of sports talk on Cincinnati News Radio 700WLW and ESPN 1530!Full Bio


Fixing the MLB draft

Hey MLB, here is some advice

I love major league baseball, but I'll never understand major league baseball. 

The sport continues to miss golden opportunities in marketing and presenting the sport. 

Exhibit A: Tonight's MLB Draft. 

I get it, the MLB draft is not and will not ever be what the NFL Draft, or even NBA draft is. There are 40 rounds and over 1,200 players selected in the MLB Draft. Those players come from the high school ranks and the college and junior college ranks. Few of those players have been seen or even been discussed by most casual baseball fans.

But where MLB drops the ball for an error is when and how the draft is presented.The draft is tonight at 7pm. MLB has four games scheduled today, three of them under the lights.

Four games is better than previous years, which had as many as 14 games scheduled. But why split the coverage and attention, at all? 

I get MLB is unique in that the draft occurs in-season, while the NFL and NBA hold drafts out of season. But if seasons/draft dates were reversed, do you think the NFL would hold a draft on a Sunday afternoon during the regular season?

The MLB Draft should be a stand alone event, taking center stage, not sharing a stage. As it is, beat writers for the teams spend draft night covering a game AND trying to cover the draft. That makes no sense.

In a perfect world the draft would take place the week of the All-Star game, taking advantage of the days offs for MLB teams. But MLB can't wait until the third week of July due to the fact that minor league seasons wrap-up at the end of August. Teams need to get players signed and get them game action.

Here are two solutions:

1. Hold the draft on a Monday

Have the MLB schedule go dark for the day, no games. Make it a collective day off for the league and funnel all attention to the draft and the future stars of the sports. Draft Monday!

2. Hold the draft on a Thursday night and play all day games 

Make it a "Skip work for a day at the ballpark," promotion. Turn back the clock to the days of pre-1935 baseball and no lights. Promote the day as "old school" baseball" meets "new school baseball." Spend those afternoon broadcasts promoting the fact that the "future stars" come out that night with the MLB Draft. Heck, have each franchise host a draft watch party at their ballpark. The players would like it, they get home or out of town early. I know, I know, owners will complain they'll lose money at the gate because attendance will be down. Well, for one day of the season, promoting the sport can supersede the bottom line.

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