If you read my blog last week about MLB eliminating pitchers actually throwing four balls for intentional walks, you saw that I was pretty apathetic about the whole situation. As I said, this rule won’t damage the integrity of baseball, but it won’t have any effect on the length of the game either which was allegedly the goal.
Now I personally don’t think there’s anything wrong with the length of a baseball game. Reading tweets and articles over the past few days I actually think a lot of baseball fans feel the same way too, so I guess my thought is why would they try to shorten games when it would just piss off the already strong fan base they already have? Shortening a game by even five minutes is not going make some ten year old lax bro exchange his stick for baseball glove. And even so, the only way to really shorten a game on TV is to cut down on the commercials. I don’t have anything to back this up, but I would bet that nationally televised games (ESPN Sunday Night Baseball and Fox Saturday Baseball etc.) are on average significantly longer than a Tuesday night game on NESN or SNY. I don’t think any MLB official has ever come out and said “hey maybe we shouldn’t have such long commercials,” but if they want a cure, that’s their answer.
Here’s a question though, are people complaining about the pace of play in baseball any different from the people complaining that the last two minutes of a basketball game takes a half hour? Or that there’s a commercial break after a score, an extra point and kickoff in football? Me thinks no. But regardless, it got me thinking what I would do if I was the commissioner of MLB to “improve” the game. Here are some of my ideas, some of which are realistic, some of which are not. Some of which could affect pace of play, some of which would not. So here’s Commissioner Ketch’s ideas:
Revise the replay system: I am okay with replay in baseball. But I would vote to only allow replay in three scenarios: Fair vs foul balls, home runs (if the ball did make it over the fence), and force plays. What about tag plays? No. I’m #done with tag plays being reviewed. I’ve wrote this multiple times that managers are abusing the system and challenging every goddamn slide knowing that a runner probably came off the base for less than a fraction of a split second due to momentum. That is something that changes the game. Ricky Henderson probably “came off the base” in a lot of his steals. If you want to still have the tag play be reviewable, then give the managers ONE challenge. I thought a few years ago when the implemented replay that managers were only supposed to have two challenges. Now it seems like every goddamn play they’re reviewing. Review fair/foul and home runs whenever. But then give the manager only ONE challenge. I hate the idea of “well in the last two innings they’ll review everything because that’s when it could really affect the outcome of the game” because who’s to say a blown call in the second inning that stopped a rally couldn’t have affected the outcome? I know a lot of people aren’t but I’m okay with the human element in baseball.
Alright, I just like to take any chance I can get to bitch about replay, the rest will be shorter I promise:
2:00 Between Innings: It’s not that hard. The minors already do this and it works fine. If it’s a nationally televised game you can bump it to 2:15 if you want.
Stop Being Social Media Nazis: MLB is notorious for flipping out when people take vines (RIP), videos or whatever of their games and post them onto Twitter or Instagram. Even some Joe Shmow like me can get suspended from Twitter for posting a video of a big homer or something. Uhh hey MLB, if you want to reach the younger fan, how about allowing them to use social media to spread your sport?
Start Playoff and National games Before 9:20: I think part of the reason people get pissed at baseball is because you have to wait until like 9:30 for a World Series game to start. The game is going to take between 2.5-3.5 hours, but if you start a World Series game at even 8:30, it makes it way more accessible for fans. And don’t give me shit with the whole “what about California?” They have great weather all year round. Us east coasters can have this.
Have Goose Gossage Broadcast Every National Game: As commissioner, I would make sure Goose Gossage was the color commentary guy on all the ESPN and FOX games. Nobody hates these young MLB punks more than Gossage. Last year he called Joey Bats a “fucking disgrace” and this year he popped off saying Mariano Rivera was an overrated closer. Even I, a Red Sox fan scoffed at that. Gossage is a dickhead, no doubt, but if he was behind the mic in front he the nation, it would be ELECTRIC. He would just be bitching about everyone and everything that popped into his mind. It’s funny, actually because a few years ago I got to see Gossage speak along with Johnny Bench and Joe Morgan and Gossage was like the nicest more sincere guy. He gave time to as many fans and signed autographs while Bench got out of there like a bat out of hell and denied signings to fans because he wanted compensation. (For the record, Joe Morgan was great. Just a borderline senile old man who was laughing and giggling and having himself a rip-roarin time).
Reinstate Pete Rose: Putting aside the whole “it’s bullshit he’s not in the Hall of Fame,” it would definitely get the people talking. At the very least, the MLB should sponsor a reality show that puts Rose and Dontrelle Willis in a house together. The two were on Fox Sports during the playoffs together and the chemistry was palpable to say the least.
Put Bryce Harper on the Yankees: We all know it’s going to happen anyways. Just do it so I can fully decide whether I like or hate him (I would hate him by the way). I’m not a big “the league would be better if the __________ were good,” but Harper on the Yanks would certainly generate a lot of interest from the casual fan, which is what these rule are aimed to do. The story lines would be on fire especially if he (hopefully) sucked on the Yankees.
Bring John Rocker Back in Some Capacity: Make him commissioner or something. He’s too electric to just be selling cars in Georgia.
Allow Steroids: Chicks dig the long balls.
Get Sweet Lou Pinella Back on The Bench: Lou Pinella tantrums are historic. Up there with Earl Weaver in my opinion. Get him back managing a team so that we can watch him melt down and kick dirt and spit dip onto umps.
Remind Everyone That Carl Everett Doesn’t Believe in Dinosaurs: People were losing their minds when Kyrie Irving was saying he thought the world was flat. Bring Everett on Baseball Tonight and just pepper him with questions about dinosaurs then maybe throw it in the twitter bio or something: “The Official Twitter account of Major League Baseball. Also Carl Everett doesn’t believe in dinosaurs.”
Make one First Baseman Wear a Helmet in the Field:
It’s been like fifteen years since John Olerude was patrolling first base. We need another guy like that solely so fans can see him and say things like “Well would you look at that. Wonder why he’s wearing a helmet out there. Must be a great story!” It’s minor, but it’ll get the people talking.
Make the All Star Game Decide Home Field Advantage in the WS: They just got rid of this rule literally like a month ago. Honestly, I loved that the ASG decided home field advantage and was a little upset they changed it. But if we are looking to make rules that will make people talk about baseball more, this would do it.
I could go on for a while here, but I won’t. Maybe I’ll do a pre-season State of the Union of baseball or something in a few weeks. Obviously the last eight or so rules aren’t realistic, but you can’t tell me that all of those wouldn’t change baseball for the better. Commissioner Ketch to the rescue again.