I am not a huge baseball fan - for me, the game itself is too slow, too boring, and takes way too long. I understand, and appreciate the history of the game, and as a born-and-raised Cincinnatian, you really have little choice in the matter. However, with each passing generation our society has shorter and shorter attention spans, MLB knows this and is trying desperately to find ways to fix the game. Here are 6 simple Douggiestyle ways to do just that…
Fouling out. As a casual observer of the game there is nothing more painful than watching a batter foul off 32 pitches in a row. You might as well paint the wall and watch it dry. 25 minutes later he might actually get a hit, or just strike out and go sit down. Exciting! My friends who are die-hard baseball fans describe this as the ultimate dual - mono e mono. Who is gonna crack? Who is gonna give in? In other words - which of these two millionaires is also bored and just wants it over? Skywalker v. Vader, that is a great dual, pitcher v. batter, well after the 13th pitch - who cares? Bottom line, give them 3 Strikes, 4 balls, and if they have 2 strikes the next foul counts as a strike. Simple, effective, and enjoyable.
Pitch out. Another example of how boring baseball can be. A great batter comes up to plate with a runner on second. Lets not show how good a pitcher we are, lets not see one of those great duals mentioned above, nope. Lets walk the guy. BORING. IF the die-hard fans who ‘get the game’ like the strategy of pitcher v. batter, then why are they OK with the pitch out? Force the pitcher to throw at the plate. They can be in the dirt, they can be high. But make them throw at the plate. Maybe, just maybe the millionaire batter will connect with one of them. And maybe just maybe we can move on before the paint dries.
Throw to 1st. We get it Mr Pitcher. The guy you put on first is a liability. You know he potentially represents an earned run. And God forbid one that one of those useless stats be impacted by your inability to do your job. Soooo let's make the fans, who pay you to do your job in the first place, sit here and watch you try to correct the mistake - over and over. I just went and painted another wall. Picking a runner off at first is exciting, but what is the percentage of success? Yes, I understand the idea of keeping him close to the bag. But let's put a limit on these things. Maybe count each one as a ball. That makes the at-bat more fun, and increases the potential for stealing second. Who knows it might add some excitement.
Meeting at the Mound. I have never pitched or been a catcher. I was relegated to right field - that spot where they try to hide the worst players in little league. The point is I really have little to no idea what is discussed when the catcher runs out to the mound to chat. My guess is the catcher is saying "hey dumbass throw the pitch I am telling you to throw!" Or maybe..."What the f*** are you doing!" Either way both of these conversations can be handled by throwing the universal sign for both - the middle finger. Message received and we go on. It doesn't take a 5 minute conversation when I am driving so why does it on the field?
And don't get me started on the manager and his leisurely stroll to the mound. Its 2017 let the old over weight guy in the ridiculous uniform pick up his phone and call the pitcher, or send a tweet #dumbass - he will get the message.
Video Review. This isn't just baseball, it is every sport today. But get rid of the video review. It slows down the game and has proven to be about as imperfect as the original call. Umpires and refs are human and they make mistakes. ( I think they should have an official eyewear supplier for the officials in all leagues - but that is another blog.). Since every ball, strike or double play where they NEVER touch second isn't being reviewed then don't review any call. It just doesn't make logical sense, it slows down the game and cuts down on the number of times the manager gets to blow spittle in the face of the ump arguing some meaningless call.
Mix up the Season. What makes the NCAA tourney so fun? Because every game counts. What makes the 32nd time the Cubs play the Reds so boring? Because it is the 32nd time they played. And generally it means nothing. Tommy LaSorda said...you win 60, you lose 60, it's what you do with the balance that matters. So cut 30 games. Those ratios change but the result is the same, and each game means just a little more.
If you are gonna have inter-league play (which i am not a fan of) do it right and play EVERY team at least one series. Let's see every team every season and alternate at home every other year. You can keep the home and home series with your nearest inter-league rival. That would be more fun, interesting and break up some of those 32 against the cubs.
In-season tournaments. How about the Battle of the Midwest? Cleveland, Cincy, White Sox and Pirates playing a 12 game round-robin. Underground Railroad Challenge, with Atlanta, Cincy, Baltimore, Red Sox. The Border Dispute, with the Rangers, Astros, Diamondbacks and Padres - you get the picture. If each team played in 4 of these you would break the season up into fun, meaningful(??) segments.
That's it folks. Six simple changes to make baseball a bit more fun and the game a bit faster. None of them risk injury or fundamentally change the game. Since it is unlikely that the powers that be would ever let us have full contact base running, or free beer, this is the best we can do to fix the game.
Next up - Volleyball - there are a few things we can do to fix that game too. Don't worry guys I would never propose changing the shorts for the college girls.