The MLB Draft is coming to Los Angeles. Should he stay? – Orange County Registry

As a spectator event, the Major League Baseball Draft is an oddity.

Viewers are encouraged to find out which teams will select the best amateur players in the world. But that’s not entirely true. Some of the best high school players choose to go to college. Almost all of the top amateurs in the Caribbean and Asia are ineligible to be drafted.

Like any good reality TV show, the project relies on certain ceremonial elements to heighten the suspense. A ceremonial ride is countered if the conscript is absent and does not come on stage to shake hands with the commissioner. It’s common in the MLB draft, but it doesn’t usually happen in the first round of NFL, NBA, or NHL events.

By organizing the repechage during the offseason, these leagues take advantage of the dead time in the calendars of their sport. What else will fans be talking about during draft week? In baseball, historically, the first day of the amateur draft fell not only in the middle of the major league season, but also in the middle of the college season. It was tough on the fans and even tougher on the players, some of whom would learn they had been drafted after a game in progress.

Last year, the draft was held in conjunction with the All-Star Game for the first time. Draftees and their families gathered in Denver on an empty day in the MLB schedule in July, heard their names called on a Sunday, and then watched the Home Run Derby in person the next day. TV ratings jumped 100%, said Chris Marinak, MLB’s director of operations and strategy.

It’s no surprise, then, that the league awarded the 2022 draft to Los Angeles, starting July 17 — two days before the All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium. The first round will take place in the pavilion area outside of LA Live.

While the Home Run Derby, All-Star Game, and Futures Game formats are fundamentally optimized for fan-friendliness, the Draft is not. MLB is still experimenting. To that end, the next draft will go a long way in determining the future of the event, unlike other LA Star Week events.

The baseball draft faces several logistical hurdles that its football, basketball and hockey counterparts do not. Perhaps the biggest hurdle was cleared last year, when the draft was moved to one of the few days between March and October when no major league player plays a game. According to Marinak, this was the main reason for the increase in television ratings.

Additionally, moving the draft to July ensures that no college or high school player will miss a season game by attending. Holding it in conjunction with the All-Star Game provides an added incentive – rookies can extend their stay in the host city for a day and mingle with the All-Stars at a major league stadium.

Baseball still faces a major problem: its best amateur players are relatively unknown. Last year, MLB featured a “Draft Combine,” held June 20-28 in Cary, North Carolina. It was a far cry from its NFL counterpart in style and hype, but it was something to expand name recognition for top draft-eligible players beyond the College World Series.

This year’s combine will take place at Petco Park in San Diego from June 14-20. Those dates overlap with the College World Series, but the venue should entice any draft-eligible player whose season is over to attend.

If incentivizing attendance is high on MLB’s list of priorities for the future of the draft, it could do worse than anchoring the event in Los Angeles. The site for next year’s event has not been officially determined. The 2023 All-Star Game will be held at T-Mobile Park, making Seattle the “clubhouse leader” to host the draft, Marinak said, but the league is taking a wait-and-see approach.

“I think one of the cool things about the draft that we’re planning for this year is that it’s going to be outdoors,” Marinak said. “We’re going to take advantage of the Los Angeles weather. It’s going to show off the iconic Los Angeles location. It adds a unique factor, compared to just being in a traditional theater format, it’s something perhaps worth repeating.

Rather than marrying the draft with the All-Star Game and its surrounding events, the best game in MLB is to couple the draft with the combine. By moving the combination date past the end of the College World Series, it removes the last possible conflict of interest for participants. It also allows the stars of both events to stay in the same city for, say, a week.

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