It’s late at night on the East Coast, and numerous stars are on the move to a high-profile team out in Los Angeles. Sound familiar?
No, basketball fans, we’re not talking about the news of Kawhi Leonard deciding to take his talents out to Los Angeles to join the Clippers and taking Paul George with him. But, remember how exciting that night was? Remember the constant conversation surrounding the league for the days that followed, and all of the hype that was added to the upcoming season as a result.
Unfortunately for basketball fans, there’s no big D’Angelo Russell or Kyle Kuzma-level deal being cracked at the moment that could come close to creating the same amount of hoopla.
This time around, it’s another league’s earth that’s shattering.
ESPN’s Jeff Passan broke the news on the night of February 4 that the Red Sox would reportedly be shipping star outfielder Mookie Betts and starting pitcher David Price off to the Dodgers, even paying half of the latter’s deal to sweeten the deal and clear up some room financially.
Meanwhile, as Dodgers fans rejoiced about the trade and the added presence of one of the league’s top talents, their team was busy making other deals to perfect their roster.
Prospects were on the move, and reports indicated that star outfielder Joc Pederson would be representing Los Angeles in red and white as a member of the Angels, rather than blue and white with the Dodgers.
Stars were shooting across the country, social media turned into a madhouse, and fans were left wishing that the season could start the following day, rather than 50-plus days.
Ring any bells?
It was MLB’s version of the Kawhi Leonard night, with Betts serving as the equivalent of the NBA Finals MVP, and Price acting as the Paul George of the situation.
All in all, the night turned into a chaotic one for baseball fans with just a month and a half left until the start of the regular season, and just a few weeks worth of a wait until the beginning of spring training. And, with the Super Bowl wrapped up and the NFL season officially over, it couldn’t have come at a better time for MLB.
Attendance numbers were low in 2019, and the demographics for fans likely weren’t where the league wanted them to be as they enter a new decade.
They found themselves trying to help themselves out by tweeting after the Super Bowl was over, only to have the XFL outshine them ahead of the upstart league’s debut on TV screens on the Saturday following the Super Bowl.
But, in an age where social media rules all, the news cycle took over, and all eyes turned their focus to MLB in the wake of one of the biggest trades the sports world has seen in years.
The excitement is there, and fans are left wondering how all of the fresh-looking rosters will operate in the new year. They’re getting excited for the ability to use these new lineups in video games, and the potential of seeing their favorite stars in new uniforms in person at each team’s ballparks.
They’re circling the dates of big games on their calendars, and looking at ticket prices for the chance to see marquee matchups, and the birth of new rivalries in the process.
The opportunity is there for MLB. The only question is: will they take advantage of it?