Drayton, sex sells
Now the powers-that-be with the Astros have stated that the primary reason for this new screen is that too many people are staying home and watching the game on their HD televisions, so putting a giant HD TV inside of Minute Maid Park will help to solve that problem.
But if the Astros are really worried about attendance, and if they really want people to come to the ballpark for the games instead of watching at home, perhaps there are a couple of things they can do that will actually improve the ballpark experience for the fans.
1. Perhaps they can hit the mute button on the ballpark volume from time to time. It's almost impossible to have a discussion about anything with the person you're sitting next to because they're playing some bad pop 40 song or a sound effect.
2. Do they really want to get fans to the ballpark? Well, the saying is that "sex sells," so perhaps they should make a return to the '70s and go with attractive women in tight clothing as ball girls.
3. Or maybe they should rip off the Florida Marlins and go with cheerleaders instead of that stupid-ass Fun Patrol thing they have.
4. Here's a revolutionary idea: Lower the concession stand prices.
5. There are rules from MLB which mandate the type of in-game replays which can be shown inside of a stadium. That said, now that you've got this nice big HD screen, how about more replays and fewer commercials and games.
6. And here's one that should make the actual baseball fans happy. How about fewer of those stupid quiz/interview things with the players and more stats and actual baseball-related items?
7. Is there anything you can do to make the ballpark any less tacky? Getting rid of those stupid cows on the foul poles would be a nice start.
8. Bulldoze that stupid hill.
9. Here's another one that real baseball fans will like: Stop catering to morons who go to games because of the size of the video boards or because there is a celebrity chef.
Go back to the future and try ball girls
11. The Astros have the best PA voice in all of baseball in the person of Bob Ford. Stop drowning him out with music and sound effects.
12. How about doing away with many of those stands you have added to the concourses over the past several years? There's so much crap that's been added to those concourses lately that even anorexic supermodels have trouble moving about.
13. Seriously, hit the mute button every now and then.
14. Here's another idea. Let the real fans sit in those expensive seats behind home plate. Stick those who are more interested in networking or being seen on TV up in the left field view deck.
15. If you're really worried about people who stay home to watch the games on TV instead of going to the ballpark, then put Milo Hamilton on the TV broadcast. With that, the only way anyone will know what is happening in the game is to actually show up at the ballpark.
16. You want more people at the ballpark? Field a decent team.
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17. Let actual fans, those who buy tickets on the day of the game, throw out the first pitch instead of corporate sponsors. Even better, how about just one first pitch before each game instead of 30 first pitches?
18. Meanwhile, would those of you who just come out to the park for things like the HD screen or the celebrity chefs please just stop coming to the games already? You really help to make the experience miserable for those of us who actually want to watch the baseball game.
19. Stop trying to make the place like the Disneyland of ballparks? I've been to most of the stadiums in the majors, and no stadium places less of a focus on the baseball than MMP.
20. On that topic, focus more on the actual baseball fans and less on the people interested in music or videos or mascots or food or quizzes. Let us talk between innings. Show us lots of stats. Make it easier for those of us who keep score in the games to actually be able to keep score during the games. Stop trying to make a trip to the ballgame an all-encompassing entertainment experience. Make it about going to a baseball game.