I consider myself to be a pretty big fan of Major League Baseball and I must say I love the MLB Network.
Catching the "nation's pastime, all the time" has been a huge success. Granted, they were the last of the four major professional sports to launch their own network, but it still has been mostly a success.
Now, the network is attempting its first big initative—getting the MLB Amateur Draft mainstream.
MLB Network, now in approximately 52 million households after the biggest launch in cable TV history, will televise the entire first round live for the first time.
The 32 first-round selections will also be simulcast live on MLB.com. Beginning with the 33rd pick, up-to-the-minute on-air coverage from the remaining rounds will shift exclusively to MLB.com/Live.
Will anyone care?
Even as diehard of a baseball guy as I consider myself to be, I don't see it working like they want to. It will never approach the hype that the NFL Draft demands after being televised for nearly three decades.
Here are some of the reasons it will fail:
1. Players Unknown
Unlike its football counterpart, few fans know much about the prospects. College football is showcased to the point where most fans know the big names leading up the draft and the media does a great job filling in the blanks with their analysts and endless footage.
With so many variables (colleges, junior colleges, independent leagues, and high schools) there simply isn't anywhere near the coverage to make these names mainstream.
2. Too Confusing
Have you ever looked at the rules of eligibility for the draft? What about the draft order? Like everything else it does, baseball's draft structure is complicated and not easily explained or understood by the common fan.
3. Short-Term Impact Minimal
If your favorite NFL team can fill those one or two holes on draft days with a promising rookie, that could be the difference between your team making the playoffs or not this upcoming season.
In baseball, you may never see any of these guys ever sniff the 40-man roster. Even if they do, it's more than often a few years down the road.
The best part of the NFL Draft is that it comes dead in the middle of the offseason. It takes place at just the right time to get your football juices boiling when they need it the most.
The baseball draft is going on right in the thick of the season.
If given the chance to tune in to MLB Network's draft coverage tonight or watch my beloved Reds, which do you think I am going to do? Watch the Reds, even though they are playing the Nationals.
5. Too Many Rounds
Fifty rounds is simply too much. Even on the second-day of the draft, NFL teams are still adding some valuable pieces. How many players from Round 26 are ever going to make it to the bigs? Not many.
Without any long-term interest the MLB Draft loses its luster quickly after the top 10 picks or so.