Just yesterday, we wrote about how kids these days prefer playing sports video games to watching the actual game. It's not too surprising, really -- as the video game lets them really take part in the action, rather than sit passively and consume the content. Clive Thompson writing about the same story pointed out that he'd probably rather watch skilled video gamers' games being broadcast on TV than actual athletes efforts -- something that's already happening in South Korea. Well, now, it looks like a couple of independent minor league teams are trying to deal with this issue by merging the two. The first two innings of the game they're supposed to play next month will actually be played by two skilled video gamers on an Xbox, sitting in recliners behind the plate. The resulting game will be broadcast over the stadium's screen. After the two innings are up, the two teams will actually take the field, and continue the game from exactly where it left off virtually. If there's any doubt that this is designed to capture the attention of kids, the idea was first proposed by the six year old son of one of the teams' community relations director. However, while this may seem odd and a big publicity stunt, it's definitely completely within the spirit of Bill Veeck, who always knew that baseball was entertainment, first -- and the crowd deserved a good show, even if it was a bit different than what they expected. If anything, this should bring out the crowds -- which is why minor league baseball is often the place to look for the best innovations in sports. They don't have the star players to bring out the crowds, so they're more willing to experiment with fun promotions. What's next, though? Having the real-life players play themselves in the video game? Johan Santana might have an advantage, as that's how he prepares already.
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