Thursday, November 5, 2009

6 ways to fix baseball

The World Series wrapped up last night and the Yankees are the champs. I watched parts of the final game mostly because I thought I should. Like always though, I could not bring myself to watch every moment of it because it is simply too boring and too long.

I am not a baseball hater. I played junior baseball and loved the game growing up. I have, over the years, become disenchanted with baseball simply because it takes too long. The last numbers I saw show that the average NHL game goes 2 hours and 22 minutes. The average baseball game goes 3 hours and 7 minutes.

I have friends who are hard core and tell me I simply don’t appreciate the tactics and subtleties of the game or its traditions. I have great appreciation for both, but what baseball fans don’t realize is those traditions have changed and those changes have made the game too snail like to be an enjoyable watch. Back in the old days players picked one of the 4 bats the team had and warmed up then walked directly to the plate to hit. Now players scan through their bin of 25 specially made personal bats before heading to the on deck circle and somehow still manage to appear rushed when its actually their turn at bat.

Here are my 6 changes to baseball that will speed it up and make it fun to watch again.

1-When a player steps into the batters box. He must stay there for the duration of his at bat unless he is knocked down by a pitch or has to leave the box because of a running play at the plate. No backing out to tap the cleats, adjust the batting gloves, spit, play mind games with the pitcher, tighten the hitting elbow, shin, or wrist protectors.

2-Pitchers may not leave the mound until an at bat is over unless they leave for injury reasons or to play a ball. No more standing on the grass bouncing the rosin bag off the back of their hand. No more rubbing the ball and spitting. No more walking off the mound to reset ones hat. Its one of the reasons I love Roy Halliday. None of that crap happens when he pitches.

3-If you can’t run in the equipment you wear to bat then don’t wear it. Why does the entire game have to stop because a guy gets to first base and calls time out so he can remove his batting gloves? Put on his sliding gloves. Change from his hitting helmet to his running helmet. Remove all of his protective elbow, shin, wrist and ankle gear and then stand there and spit 3 times before telling the ump he is ready to go.

4-You are not allowed to stop a game because you are dusty. If you slide into 2nd base and you get dirty, that’s life. Why does the entire game stop so that one man can wipe the dust off his uniform?

5-Each team is granted 10 time outs per game totaling 30 seconds each. A pitching change gets 60 seconds because the guy has to run in from the bull pen and yes he is required to run not walk. If you are a pro athlete and can’t run 400 feet then I am not sure this is still a sport. Calling all the players to the mound to talk to each other with their gloves over their mouths is a joke. If you need more than 30 seconds to have something explained to you during a game, then you are not smart enough to be a major leaguer.

6-And finally relief pitchers. No practice pitches while all of us sit there and wait for you. The relief pitchers have been in the bull pen for hours and know when they are likely to be called. They have been warming up for 20 or 30 minutes and in fact we often see them stop warming up because they are getting tired. If you are not ready to pitch when you get to the mound, they shouldn’t have called you in.

This tradition started when often outfielders came in and yes they needed to get their bearings from a raised mound after playing the earlier part of the game in the outfield. Also in the olden days the bull pen (when they even had one) often didn’t have the same height and distance as the game field. That is no longer the case. Run to the mound and throw the damn ball.

I apologize to baseball purists, but if you want me back stop wasting my time.

See you at the rink.


Kal Cole said...

I agree with most of your points Dean but what would be the penalty for calling "time" (as in options 4 & 5 which you proposed) when you're out of Timeouts?

To your suggestions I would alter these:

1-Right! Actually players CAN back out of the box but they'll have to live with the pitch thrown. Pitchers dont have to wait for the batter to be ready.

2-Right on!
3-True. Players can take off their armour but they must do it in between pitches. Game doesnt stop for them.
4-5-6 True!

Funny how baseball is a rare team sport which doesnt utilize a clock...yet has players constantly calling "time".

Now Dean, got any suggestions for golf?

Tom said...

7. Bring back the Expos