Baseball’s uptight image might be its biggest barrier toward growing the game with young fans — even more so than pace-of-play or anything else. Baseball has traditionally been a sport that squashes big personalities and polices fun.
Last year, before the postseason, Major League Baseball made waves by releasing a very in-your-face ad titled “Let the Kids Play” that featured many of MLB’s vibrant young personalities and a guest spot by Ken Griffey Jr. The message was clear: The unwritten rules should be a thing of the past.
On Wednesday, MLB unveiled its 2019 hype ad, a sort of “Let the Kids Play 2.0” that starts with players doing a very cliche press conference-style interview, saying the usual tired stuff. Until Alex Bregman jumps in with some personality.
From there, it’s a back-and-forth of trash-talking, competitiveness and bragging with the game’s brightest young stars. Among them, Mike Trout, Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Carlos Correa, Francisco Lindor, Ronald Acuña Jr., Christian Yelich, Shohei Ohtani and others.
It seems like another step toward baseball loosening up. And it’s another strong indication that the league office is being more proactive about marketing the game around its stars’ personalities and not just outdated constructs from the past.
But in case you’re thinking MLB played puppeteer on all this, league sources tell Yahoo Sports that the ad used only a loose script with players adding their own voice and improvising lines.
Here’s hoping someone does hit 80 home runs this season — for the sake of making baseball fun again.
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