The 2017 Major League Baseball Draft began Monday night at the MLB Network studios in Secaucus, New Jersey. Also known as the First-Year Player Draft, it’s one of the biggest dates on the calendar as teams attempt to find the players of their futures.
Hardcore baseball fans were surely following along from the first selection—Minnesota selected high school mega-athlete Royce Lewis—- to the last pick of the night— Houston scooping up Arizona (Bear Down!) second baseman J.J. Matijevic at the end of Comp Round B— with the 75th overall pick via the Cardinals and Chris Correa aka “The Spy Who Shagged BP.”
Draft night is a momentous occasion, and while baseball’s draft is unlike any other sport’s in just about every way, I believe the league should indeed stop the presses for one night and homage to their future.
Football, basketball and hockey all have the luxury of their draft coming in the off-season. A baseball calendar is different from any other sport. They play more games and they play it over a longer period of time in a different time of the year with far, far fewer off days during the regular season.
I polled Twitter (the same question found at the bottom of this article) and asked them what they thought about the league going on about their schedule on the first night of the draft.
As of this very moment at 12:37 CST on Tuesday afternoon, the vote stands at an even 50-50 through 18 hours. 76 voters are split right down the middle. I hope to expand on this proposition below with a more generous audience and extended window, hopefully bringing plentiful data.
In a response to my poll, Twitter user @Matthew_N_Day suggests to me that the draft should move to All-Star Weekend, occupying the idle days before games resume that Friday.
The All-Star Game is on Tuesday, but Wednesday and Thursday see an empty schedule. The draft needs at least three days, but putting the final 29 rounds on Friday —up against a full slate of games— would be worth having two days to itself.
Drawing upon a completely blank canvas would do wonders for the mostly-forgotten Major League Baseball Draft day.
12 teams had the night off on Monday, so there was at least an effort by the league to boost its own ratings. But that left a hefty 18 clubs still conducting games during the live broadcast of the draft on MLB Network, which almost embarrassingly had to share their screen of draft breakdown material with scoreboard updates.
It would be nice to give full attention to the first night of the MLB Draft, when the biggest and brightest and most potent young names are being announced. Instead of awkward scattered applause in a studio, the sport’s draft deserves a much bigger stage and a night all to themselves.
Which brings me to the heart of my question to you, the people: Should the MLB have games on day one of the draft?