MLB has been dead to me since August 12, 1994, when greed shut down the season early by the players strike.
I don't listen to it on the radio, I don't watch it on TV, and I certainly don't line the pockets of the owners and players by attending in person and paying the exorbitant prices to enjoy "America's Game". I enjoy going to minor league games, where it is still affordable for a family to enjoy an afternoon without breaking the bank.
It lost me sometime in the nineties. I watch a bit here and now as I am exposed to it in certain group watch TV sets. The game is slow. There are nine aside or 18 players total "playing" the game and yet only three of those eighteen are usually playing the game most of the time. (Pitcher, catcher, and hitter. The rest are spitting and scratching themselves.)
The game of baseball officiating IMO produces the lowest level or officiating of any professional sport. Umpires more than any other official in any other game that I know of make incredibly obvious bad call or miss calls on a consistent basis.
There are way too many eccentric egocentric players that have a mindset of I'm for me and I don't care about the team except on how it makes me succeed.
They get in team brawls over some really minor stuff. They all fight like sissies.
About the only thing that I do enjoy about it is when I see a pitcher that rises to a level of power and dominance where the hitters are helpless and the pitcher is so good at the moment the hitters have no chance and are made to look stupid and feeble in trying to swing at and hit some awesome pitches that have velocity and movement on them.
I first became aware of baseball in 1956 when my third grade teacher brought a small TV to class for us to watch the World Series. Almost all my class was for the Yankees so I rooted for the Dodgers and have been for the last 62 years. I seldom watch baseball unless the Dodgers are playing. I subscribe to MLB.COM to watch on my second monitor so I see almost all their games every year. But I am also reading a book, using the Internet, or watching TV at the same time. The game must be sped up.
Righting a wrong is what many above are complaining about. The wrong was the Reserve Clause which bound players to one club that had complete control of their career to include money and trading to another club with no say by the player. When that was abolished the game went past the man on the street. When players put their talent out there for the highest bidder the prices of everything went up. When MLB.COM got formed it took away almost everything else away from the fan unless the fan paid. When I was growing up in Peoria, IL I could listen to my Dodgers when they played Chicago, St. Louise, or Cincinnati on the radio for free. After the Internet came I could find any game I wanted to listen to, again for free. When MLB.COM was formed I had to pay to listen, pay a little more to watch on my computer, or pay a little more to watch on any device I had. Convenient? Yes. But now it was not free and little 8 year old was not looking for the games. And with the reserve clause in effect all teams could be competitive.
The Reserve System was wrong. But when we have average players making 5-20 million a year and stars making north of that there is no longer a connection from players to fans. Fans find it expensive to attend games. Last time I attended a game, Dodgers at Marlins, the seats were $80 each and they were nothing special.
The games needs to speed up. I like the proposal for a pitcher to have to face at least 3 batters. But the union will probably keep that from happening. Another rule change that would speed up the game would be for batters to be out after so many foul balls.
I don't know it will ever happen but it would seem to be ironic if baseball were to fail because the players and owners became so greedy. Football, particularly pro football, is the only thing worse to watch. They have what appears to be more action but it is as boring as watching baseball. Any other activity that has been proven to cause as much head trauma as football would be banned but there is too much money for that to happen.
Oh, and umpiring has been proven to not suck as bad as we once thought. Instant replay has shown the umps get the close plays right most of the time. Now if we could only have electronic ball and strike calling.
Shiny, you make your case, as usual, eloquently. Most I agree with. That part first. Regarding salaries and ticket prices or costs to fans to watch plus free agency consider the following:
The NFL, NHL, and NBA teams all have salary caps. MLB does not.
In his prime, Sandy Koufax was the most dominant pitcher in MLB history. His top salary in 1965-66 was $130,000 per year. By today's standard if he was pitching it would be virtually impossible to calculate his worth.
In 1962 the ticket prices for the SF Giants were $3.50 for box seats, $2.50 for reserved, (I forget the price for left field stands) and the price for the right field portable bleachers was 90 cents. I went to the World Series there that year and the WS price for the right field portable bleachers were $2.00.
The rest: My take on MLB replay differs to a degree from your perspective. The number of MLB video instant officiating replays I've seen is far less than the number that I'm sure you have seen. However, based upon what I have seen MLB instant reply is IMO much less accurate than their NFL instant replay, (though they too have had their "moments." (NCAAFB is not so great.)