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COMMENTS

Commenting On One of the Dumbest Ideas for MLB I've Ever Heard

Written by , Posted in General

I consider myself to be a progressive person in most areas in life, especially when it comes to baseball.  I believe the game needs to constantly look for ways to adapt and change to remain relevant.  You see, I am old. (…okay, okay only 46) Yet I reminisce about a time when the World Series was the most hallowed event in all of sport. In elementary school; every kid watched it, talked about it, and then we would go outside and emulate it after school. In present day, the NFL Pro Bowl routinely gets higher ratings than the World Series. I love the NFL, but the Pro Bowl?

So I get it. Baseball desires to stay significant in the sporting world. MLB revenues are at all-time highs, but the game must continue to grow and attract young fans. Baseball bores my 9 year old son, and many of his friends.  One of the biggest complaints that casual fans have (and even hard-core fans) is that MLB games are too long. MLB games today are averaging around 2 hours and 57 minutes. (up from about 2 hours and 30 minutes in those glorious 70s!)  That’s an average, so most games are going over the 3 hour mark.  I don’t know about you, but I won’t go to a movie if I see that it has a 3 hour price tag on it.  I think we can all agree…we love baseball, but it is just a bit long and shortening the games could be beneficial.

However, we don’t need ludicrous suggestions like the one Buster Olney reported on yesterday. Olney cited a “Major League executive” who suggested shortening the games to 7 innings.  As progressive and open to new ideas as I may be, this idea seems as sacrilegious to me as the Star Wars prequels were. (Damn you George Lucas!)

7 innings…really? I hope the person that suggested this isn’t one of those who are vehemently opposed to a National League DH.  The DH in the NL would be a “tweak” to the rules compared with the seismic shift that a 7 inning major league game would be.  7 innings? That’s for Quakers. (…obscure movie reference)

Why not two outs?  How about starting all hitters with a 1-1 count like they do in Men’s slow-pitch Softball? (not sure why it’s not just 3 balls and 2 strikes…it’s a bit like saying turn it up to 11!….another movie reference)  Of course these ideas are ridiculous (so is a 7 inning game)…but I have to offer several real and some not so real suggestions:

  • During an intentional walk, do we really need the pitcher to throw the four balls? When I coached High School, we could just say “put him on”.  When was the last time you saw something exciting on an intentional walk?
  • For replay… no challenges, no managers coming out to stall… just a person in a control room who watches every play.  If something needs to be reviewed, he turns on a red light on the scoreboard, looks at it, and then makes a ruling.
  • Although I understand the strategy, I hate the “specialist” relief pitchers that have developed over the last 30 years. As with most bad things in my life, I blame Tony LaRussa for this.  These moves make the last few innings tedious to watch.  Bear with me here as this is radical, but how about a limit to the number of active pitchers a team can have for a game?  If a manager only had 10 pitchers to use for a game, then he can’t burn a lefty to face one freaking batter in the 7th inning! I realize there are many flaws (union issues, pitcher usage,) with drastic change such as this. How about a larger roster like the NFL and NHL and then have players who are “scratched” or “inactive” that day? How about a 30 man roster…with 5 players who are inactive that game?
  • A pitch clock? This might work, and umps are already supposed to be speeding this up…but umpires don’t like to be told what to do.

…and now for the really radical (and not really serious… yet still better ideas than a 7 inning game)

  • Step one, fire every Major League Umpire. Step two, offer them their jobs back only if they can pass a “We will no longer be pompous a$$holes who are more important than the game” test. There may be some union issues to deal with.
  • A one minute between innings clock and the pitcher can just start throwing to the catcher if the batter is not up in time. To make up for lost advertising revenue, have commercials “picture in picture” during the game at opportune times.
  • Get rid of the 7th inning stretch (don’t shoot me yet)…except at Wrigley Field.
  • An extra-inning game shall be settled with a home run derby…like hockey does with the shoot-out.
  • Allow players to go into the stands to attempt to catch foul balls.
  • Fire every umpire…oh…sorry…did that one already.
  • Taking a cue from the NFL, let the pitcher and manager communicate via a microphone in the player’s cap.  Then eliminate all mound visits.
  • Instead of trotting after a home run, players can elect to just bow to the crowd and strut back to the dugout.
  • Robot bat boys on hover boards
  • Like a “Get of Jail Free” card, allow each manager 1 automatic out that they can use at any time in the game. Think of the strategy! Do you shut down the rally, or do you save it for the last out of the game?
  • No pick-off attempts on slow-players.

A couple more play-off spots added in MLB? Sure, why not?

The DH in the National League?  I will think about it.

A 7 inning major league game? You are out of your mind.

  • PLCB3

    When was the last time you saw something exciting on an intentional walk?
    Last week. An Ole Miss player socked a walk-of dinger on an intentional walk attempt.

  • AC0000000

    When was the last time you saw something exciting on an intentional walk?
    Last week. An Ole Miss player socked a walk-of dinger on an intentional walk attempt.

  • PLCB3

    30 man roster with 5 inactives:
    The 4 starters not going that day will be on the list, allowing teams to have 1 starter and 10 relievers.

  • AC0000000

    30 man roster with 5 inactives:
    The 4 starters not going that day will be on the list, allowing teams to have 1 starter and 10 relievers.

  • PLCB3

    Re: HR derby. There needs to be some extra innings before doing that. Just like there is a 5-minute OT before the shootout.

  • AC0000000

    Re: HR derby. There needs to be some extra innings before doing that. Just like there is a 5-minute OT before the shootout.

  • PLCB3

    I was watching the Simpsons episode MoneyBart last night, where Lisa manages Bart’s Little League team, and in one scene Lisa has a player in the stands to catch a foul ball.

  • PLCB3

    Re: Free out: How about add a stipulation that it can’t be used in the 9th inning?

  • AC0000000

    Re: Free out: How about add a stipulation that it can’t be used in the 9th inning?

  • Yes. Two outs, four innings, microphones and the whole works so we can get back to watching cool shows about fat people losing weight and dancing celebrities.

  • Doug S.

    Man, there’s so much to comment on here, I don’t know where to start.

  • Doc Raker

    A decade to late, the Cubs are in the World Series in 2003 if the games were 7 innings long.

    • PLCB3

      Wrong. Because the Marlins win game 3 under those rules, going back to Chicago with a 3-2 lead. Every other game would have been won by the team who actually won it under those rules. (Game 1 was tied after 7, and again after 9).

      • Doc Raker

        Looks like you spent some time on this. Thanks for the effort. What would the Cubs record of been last year had they only played 7 innings?

      • PLCB3

        Not really much effort. Easy to look up a 7-game series when all the box scores are on wikipedia. Plus I remember late inning rallies in those games. I don’t wish to look up 162 games.

      • Doc Raker

        Looks like you spent some time on this. Thanks for the effort. What would the Cubs record of been last year had they only played 7 innings?

  • Seymour Butts

    A breakdown of game times by team:

    http://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/2011/5/26/2190937/game-duration-2010-I

    As expected the red sox and yanks are the big offenders, but not by as much as you would think. 20 min from slowest to fastest on average.
    The big problem I have is the issue that the games are too long. 3 hrs seems fine when you are in the park, and goes by too fast when working in the garage at home. About the only circumstance where it seems too long is watching a game on TV doing absolutely nothing else. If that is how you watch anything, get off your lard ass and do something.
    If one insists on shortening the game I was hoping for some more rational solutions:
    1. Replace 1st, 2nd, and 3rd bases with coffee tables stacked with egg rolls. A batter who strikes a ball in play must run to each table, consume, 1 then 2, then 3 eggrolls at each respective base and must continue to home before being tagged.
    2. In order to balance the ease with which a runner now will make an out, the fielders are limited to one each infielder and out fielder who is not blind folded. He can yell instructions to the others as to how to get near the ball and what to do with it..
    3. Any coach or manager who comes on to the field to discuss something with a player, must forfeit 1 inch of any bodily appendage for each trip. This will make sure these are really important. A manager must retire when he has been whittled away.
    4. Post pitch track results on the jumbotron after each pitch and supply all fans in the diamond section with remote control dog collars for the plate ump. It won’t speed up the game, but will add so much to the entertainment value that nobody will care.

  • PLCB3

    Thanks for jinxing Hamel’s perfecto Len.

  • AC0000000

    Thanks for jinxing Hamel’s perfecto Len.

  • Sherm

    How about this? You can use as many relief pitchers as you wish – but no warm up pitches. They get plenty warm in the bullpen. Downside, of course, would be the lost commercial revenue during said warm-ups.

    • PLCB3

      What about replacing someone for injury or ejection? Do you still allow them whatever time they need?

      • Sherm

        of course – the point isn’t to promote injuries, but relief pitchers get ready in the pen. If the coaches knew they couldn’t finish getting ready on the mound, might change the strategy, but certainly would speed up the game

      • cap’n obvious

        but bullpen mounds could have a different “feel” than the field mound. The Belichek-type Manager/GM could make the visiting bullpen mound 2 inches higher or lower…this would put the visiting team at a disadvantage. MLB hates cheating. Unless its a pitcher with a palmful of pine tar. That’s cool.

      • Sherm

        two thoughts come to mind –

        1. MLB Department of Mound Measurements
        2. Tough shit. Adapt.

      • Sherm

        two thoughts come to mind –

        1. MLB Department of Mound Measurements
        2. Tough shit. Adapt.

  • Sherm

    How about this? You can use as many relief pitchers as you wish – but no warm up pitches. They get plenty warm in the bullpen. Downside, of course, would be the lost commercial revenue during said warm-ups.

    • AC0000000

      What about replacing someone for injury or ejection? Do you still allow them whatever time they need?