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This is sort of an occasional thought I've had over the years (and sorry in advance if something like this is being discussed on a different topic) and it has to do with the idea of farm systems. I guess my main question why is it, after all these years, the only sport to successfully manage, maintain, and run a proper farm system for it's major league is baseball? Is a farm system good in all sports or is it better to have leagues scattered across the country so that many more cities can say they have a minor league, lets say basketball, team even if it's usually for around 5 years on average if that.

If football is considered our most popular sport in this country why hasn't there been a proper farm system for the NFL ever? I know back in the hayday when the original USFL was around there was a party of owners and such that long-term wanted to turn the USFL into essentially NFL's farm league during the spring but of course Donald Trump had other plans.

Personally I have an answer I wonder if anyone has thought of. What if back in its hayday, the AFL became the NFL's farm league? You wouldn't have to fill 32 teams with 56 man rosters, in terms of eye appeal 10,000 fans watching an arena football game is a much better atmosphere than having 10,000 fans for an outdoors game, and economically its cheaper to run a team playing in an arena with luxury boxes then a football stadium designed for a FCS college team (btw I'm just using 10,000 as a predictable average estimate seeing how little turnout their was in the USFL in certain markets).

And in terms of basketball I guess I ask how long do you think it will take for the NBDL to have one team for every one NBA team (they're at 16 teams right now)?

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The NFL does have a farm system, it's called college football.

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Basketball and football are sports where most rookies can come in and play right away or pretty quickly for the most part. Baseball is a sport that most young guys, especially drafted out of high school, still need development.

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Basketball and football are sports where most rookies can come in and play right away or pretty quickly for the most part. Baseball is a sport that most young guys, especially drafted out of high school, still need development.

This plus the college football thing. The college game is close enough to the professional game that players can make the transition relatively easily. Same for basketball. (Caveat, this applies to the truly talented players, obviously the minority of athletes.)

Those players that skip college for the pros are either exceptionally talented or shortsighted.

The college baseball game is much different than the pros. Metal bats, smaller fields, and less consistent pitching. Adjusting to a 98mph fastball and an 80mph changeup takes a lot of work when a college fastball may peak at 85 (aka MLB change up speed).

There are definitely adjustments from amateur to pro level sports in all sports, but I think baseball may be one of the more dramatic.

I also wouldn't underestimate the longevity of baseball and the history of local baseball clubs and barnstorming teams in integrating baseball at a more local level than other sports have.

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It is actually pretty amazing that the minor league baseball system (both the affiliated and independent leagues) is still as large as it is. It is definitely the exception to the rule when it comes to pro sports.

The typical sports fan stance in North America is one where only the top flight will do - minor league sports have fairly limited appeal because most people would rather watch one of the major leagues on TV rather than watch a minor league team in Nowheresville, AL. Baseball is a bit of a throwback to the days before TV where if you wanted to watch baseball outside one of the handful of AL or NL cities, the minors were the only option. And sure enough, the minors were fading fast in the 60s and 70s, but for some reason went through a resurgence in the 1990s when cities and towns were falling over themselves to build shiny new ballparks for AA-level teams. I don't really understand why a continent that doesn't get that excited for minor league sports fell so hard for minor league baseball in the 90s, but it happened and here we are.

That said, football and basketball don't need to capture that magic because the college leagues are more than adequate developmental leagues for the pros. Hockey's system resembles baseball's, even if it isn't quite as successful commercially.

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It is actually pretty amazing that the minor league baseball system (both the affiliated and independent leagues) is still as large as it is. It is definitely the exception to the rule when it comes to pro sports.

The typical sports fan stance in North America is one where only the top flight will do - minor league sports have fairly limited appeal because most people would rather watch one of the major leagues on TV rather than watch a minor league team in Nowheresville, AL. Baseball is a bit of a throwback to the days before TV where if you wanted to watch baseball outside one of the handful of AL or NL cities, the minors were the only option. And sure enough, the minors were fading fast in the 60s and 70s, but for some reason went through a resurgence in the 1990s when cities and towns were falling over themselves to build shiny new ballparks for AA-level teams. I don't really understand why a continent that doesn't get that excited for minor league sports fell so hard for minor league baseball in the 90s, but it happened and here we are.

That said, football and basketball don't need to capture that magic because the college leagues are more than adequate developmental leagues for the pros. Hockey's system resembles baseball's, even if it isn't quite as successful commercially.

Minor League baseball reinvented itself into something you could take the family to for an evening, with plenty of entertainment options going on between innings, playing areas, and interactive mascots. You might even pay attention to the game if you want to!

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It's not realistic for a football player to get "called up" in the middle of a season and be ready to play considering there's all new terminology, systems, etc. There's much more acclimation time in football than the other sports (hockey and basketball would also have this issue, but as far as I know a lot of the terminology is standardized as opposed to "eagle eagle check 5-6-8 texas double x 5-3 zebra dig on 3 ready... break!".

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Even the best hockey players often don't need to get their bearings in the AHL. Crosby and Ovechkin never played a game in the minors, and posted 100+ points as rookies. Datsyuk got his bearings in the well-regarded Russian league. Some drafted opt to go to college first instead of heading straight to the pros (and college hockey is in no way comparable to AHL hockey), but the best players mentally and physically can often jump straight to the NHL and be impact players.

There's a reason why it's impressive when young'ins like Crosby and Stamkos jump to the NHL and win goal/scoring titles, but it's not particularly shocking. It's shocking when a 20-year-old Mike Trout comes up to the majors and immediately becomes the best player in the sport. With all the levels of minor league baseball players have to get past (extended spring training, short season, low A, high A, AA, AAA), there's plenty of room for even the most talented players to flame out.

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The other thing with NFL is that the rosters are so big that the teams kind of have their own farm teams just with their scout teams and practice squad, though you won't find any "top prospects" on practice squads since they would have to go through waivers prior to being assigned.

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NBA and NFL minor leagues haven't worked because they are filled with players who were either busts of 7th round picks that were cut. In baseball, everyone goes through the minors so there is always the possibility that your favorite player for the Nowheresville Hicks could turn out to be a star for the Houston Astros. There is potential for baseball minor leaguers whereas D-League players are washed-up Nobodies.

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Minor League baseball reinvented itself into something you could take the family to for an evening, with plenty of entertainment options going on between innings, playing areas, and interactive mascots. You might even pay attention to the game if you want to!

Interesting that playing down the actual sport itself has proven to be an integral part of minor league baseball's success. The park in my city is the best outdoor food court in town, with all kinds of eating and entertainment options. Just don't ask anyone in the stands to name three players!

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