Rob Manfred’s signature isn’t even dry on the official MLB ball and already the referendum is clear: Bring the next generation to the ballpark. He’s looking at you The Millennials.
A tall order for the Harvard attorney who graduated high school the same year Dean Wormer tried to expel all members of Delta Tau Chi from Faber College.
As the game has been deemed too slow for the swipe-right generation, Manfred may be advised to immediately change some fundamental tenants, like adding a pitch clock or expanding the instant replay rule.
Both would be mistakes.
Beyond abolishing the DH and getting rid of any night to honor firefighters unless the theme is recognizing all municipal workers who abuse the overtime system, below a short list of Manfred to-dos that would guarantee packed houses rife with the most coveted generation of fans in a generation—those born between 1980 and 2000:
- Personalized Bobblehead Nights: With the help of a 3D printer and a photo you take of you yourself at the turnstyles (#selfiebobblehead) the first 3,000 through the gates will get a custom Bobblehead featuring their dome jiggling and wearing the home team’s uniform. Because why would you want to put anyone but you up on the shelf, duh!
- The F*ck Cam: Kiss Cam is cute but so provincial and so 1992. Because, really, kissing is sooooo overrated, so let’s get to the real deal. Imagine the jeers and cheers when couples are caught canoodling behind the cotton candy guy or she’s getting a polish while in line for a polish. Bonus points for the mom and dad who still show they’ve got some lovin’ spark after all these years. Hey, it’s all going to end up getting hacked and posted by someone anyway so why not fulfill your sex-in-public fantasy at the ballpark? Just tell young Jayden he can uncover his eyes when the cheering (or moaning) stops.
- Artisanal fanwear: Sorry, but that Majestic Cool Base Convertible Gamer jacket is made in fucking Shandong creating rivers of industrial sludge. As for the 11-year-old workers who don’t make enough to keep from having to spend their free time selling mercury from cell phones so they can afford to eat and have soap, a portion of each sale of crafty gear can go to help to keep a child out of a sweatshop. Each MLB stadium will feature a bespoke shop where fans can get fitted for custom jackets, jerseys, hats and sweatshirts in-game. The hipster haberdasher and his team of Etsy-approved seamstresses will have your new artisanal outerwear ready to rock by the seventh-inning stretch.
- Legalize it: This season, Coors Field should change its name to Cush Field and feature at least one hash bar. As long as it keeps getting legalized, all 30 stadiums should follow suit (especially the ones in Florida because glaucoma). But why stop there? Athletes and drugs is a relationship as old as a game of pepper and look what silent approval of most drugs (recreational and professional-grade) has done for football. Boom! $6 billion in revenue for all ownership to split.
- Step up to the mic: What other sport has more downtime filled with off-color conversation than baseball? None. All players do once they reach first is either a) talk shit to each other or b) talk shit about everyone else. The secret of the sport is there’s more cattiness than one of Dennis Hof’s W2s and the fan misses ALL of it in the stands. This is the era of transparency, duh. So, bring it. Let us in baseball, because it’s about time we know how many guys on the field banged the starting pitcher’s new girlfriend, who in the clubhouse is getting treated for herpes, where the afterparty with the good blow is and which relief pitcher is taking pulls off a pint of jack stuffed in his glove.
- Lil’ Wayne re-imagines “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”: You can have your traditional Peanuts and Crackerjack, but a second verse should be written and performed by a lyricist of his time, Lil’ Wayne. I’m just guessing, but I think it’d go something like this: Okay I fuck a bitch and I’m gone/That’s gangsta, surgical like Tommy John/I make that pussy spit like David seeds/Throwin’ that heater heater heater heater/I lose my mind before I lose my bitch/I wait in line in concessions, I don make concessions/Bitch I ball like two eyelids/I make her ass scream and holla like big crowds on Fuck cam/I’mma beast, I’m off the leash/Legalize like the NFL/I am rich like a bitch putting pitchers on layway like the Nats/Pop that pussy like i’mma bat boy carrying bats/Your girl is a groupie/I seen her in back of the dugout wit me/Blowing up like Double bubble/Her ass wid him now, trouble …At the OLD BAAAALLLL GAME!
- Have Lena Dunham throw out the #firstpitch at least once a week at Yankee stadium: Just discourage her from doing it topless.
- Let players sit in the dugout all day and update their LinkedIn: Instead of having to get traded, if they find a better spot on a better team, they just get to walk out mid-game and join that team. Or if they don’t like the manager then he can fuck off and they’ll get another, often better job with another team that’s got a nicer/better manager like the next day after they go out and get really fucked up and tweet about how bad the old team was. Or, if he goes through a bunch of teams and decides he’s got a BETTER idea on where a team should be and how it should be run then he can go raise some money and START HIS OWN TEAM and then hire a bunch of other like-minded players who think he’s great and want to play beer pong all day and fuck around and blow through the start up money and eventually have to shut the team down but in the meantime he pocketed about $28 million and then he can always go get hired back by his original team because that’s the way it goes.
- In-game Tinder-style dating app for players: Get in the stadium and get on Ballerz, the disruptive dating app where players can vet the fans in the stands who want to bang him (guys, girls—doesn’t matter). If he gives you a thumbs-up you can start texting with him in the dugout as the conversation goes up on the scoreboard in real-time. After the seventh inning stretch, the FANS begin to vote who he’s going to bang after the game. Ballerz: The only dating app that lets you get in the box with the pros and take a swing!