A new MLB proposal includes maybe the first fun new innovation for the sport in a while (no, replay does not count), as the league wants to have a tournament including all 30 MLB teams and the 120 minor league teams as well. Similar to soccer, lower-level teams would have the chance to move through the ranks and play major league teams.
Baseball isn’t the most forward-thinking sport, let’s be honest. It took them forever to introduce instant replay (making professional wrestling the final major sport without it) and most other innovations are happening in the stands (like getting stadium food delivered to your house). Baseball even has some of the most creative fans. But this tournament could bring some new attention to the sport in the way a uniform DH does not.
The proposal, according to Baseball America, is part of MLB’s negotiation with MiLB. “The Baseball Cup” would be a single-elimination tournament going on during the season (very similar to how soccer does it) and would include all the MLB teams and all of their farm teams (150 teams total).
Baseball has a robust farm system, but their draft is nothing close to the spectacle of the NFL’s and NBA’s. This is largely because it takes players a while to get used to playing at the pro level, so your draft picks don’t have the immediate pay-off they do in other sports. This extra attention on the minors would be great for fans who want to have a reason to watch the stars of tomorrow, as it would be pretty epic to see your Single-A team doing battle with your National League rival.
One new idea?
MLB proposed something called ‘The Baseball Cup.’
It’s a tournament that would potentially pit MLB teams vs. MiLB teams throughout the season, similar to some European soccer leagues.
— Baseball America (@BaseballAmerica) August 28, 2020
Let’s face it, sports thrive on underdog stories. Imagine how awesome it would be if some random AA team from a city no one has heard of makes a run in the tournament, felling MLB team after MLB team. How great would it be to watch a farm team hang with the Dodgers in Dodger Stadium?
I am, admittedly, not a huge professional soccer fan. But one of my favorite sporting events I’ve ever attended was a dramatic win for a minor-league soccer team over an MLS team in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
There are logistical challenges, sure, as some MLB teams may not want their stars playing against lower-level competition. But it would be great for baseball fans, and great for a sport that needs some new ideas to bring extra attention on the game.