Hello and welcome back to FanPost Friday! Yesterday’s “Field of Dreams” game in a corn field in Iowa got lots of folks thinking about where MLB should plan such a special event game next. A baseball roadshow is not a new idea. They called it “barnstorming” and it goes back as far as 1860 when established baseball teams would go all over the country and play exhibition games in new towns, spreading the gospel of baseball and inspiring new generations of players to take up the game.
The roadshow game has been increasingly rare in the last ~100 years since teams came to rely a lot on game day revenue generated at their home ballparks, not to mention how difficult MLB scheduling can be on it’s own. But, MLB has been losing its demographic of youth fans and youth players for decades now and so “growing the game” has become a goal again, much like the barnstormers of yore.
What's the next MLB unique field concept? They've done Ft. Bragg, Omaha, Japan Series, now Field of Dreams .. what is next?— Harold R. Kuntz (@HaroldRKuntz3) August 12, 2021
So, today’s question, which you may answer in the form of a FanPost or just discuss in the comments below, is:
Where should MLB plan the next roadshow game in order to best “grow the game?”
I can only hope and assume that the field MLB created for the game yesterday in Iowa will continue to be used by local high school teams and leagues as much as possible, which is ideal because that’s the kind of thing that will actually inspire kids to play baseball and follow the game as they get older. So on that note, it seems to me that the obvious best route for MLB to grow the game is to pick one low-income community each season and build a small ball field that is capable of hosting a one-time MLB game (and make sure the local community members and kids can actually attend, like give them free or cheap tickets) and then make sure that field can be taken over and maintained by a local municipality (give them a grant for maintenance if necessary) to be used by local youth baseball leagues, ideally with a mandate for including girls hardball and/or softball.
Making the game more accessible to low-income communities, and particularly children of color, is the single most important way to “grow the game” in a sustainable fashion. Baseball is an every day thing during the season. It shouldn’t be some massive expense to go to a game and MLB should not spend so much of its marketing bandwidth on catering to an aging white male demographic.
All right, enough from me, let’s hear your ideas for some MLB barnstormin’ action! Have a great weekend, folks!