ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon maintains technology and not shorter games is key to attracting young fans to baseball.
Maddon's comments followed Monday night's 1-0 win over the New York Yankees, a game that lasted 3 hours, 28 minutes -- the longest nine-inning, 1-0 game by time in major league history.
"I really think that if all we're worried about is length of the game regarding attracting young fans, I think that's probably not the actual specific or most important reason," Maddon said. "It's a media-driven problem, I really believe that. I think to involve youngsters technologically speaking is much more important."
Nine-inning games this season are averaging 3:03, according to STATS, up from 2:33 in 1981.
"I believe you need to really focus on getting the kids more involved based on what kids are digging these days, and that's technology, their devices," Maddon said.
Maddon thinks Twitter and Skype would be good tools.
"I think Skyping and getting kids to connect with players in an organization during the course of a school year primarily could really draw young people to an organization or a bunch of players," Maddon said. "Even one guy per week Skyped a classroom from each team, just think of the impact that would make. I think once a kid has been touched by an athlete, I don't care what sport it's in, he's going to become a fan of that player and that team."
Maddon thinks discussions on the matter are needed.
"Somebody needs to sit down and really come up with an interactive kind of a situation in the ballpark or at home that engages youngsters, that's what I'm looking at," he said. "Be more creative. Get us in touch with them, get players touching kids more technologically and you're going to get more fans."