I spent Wednesday night waiting for ‘The Office’ to begin from the time I arrived home from work right up until 9pm when I realized it was not Thursday. It was an unpleasant ‘I have to deal with another TWO days this week?’ realization and did nothing to temper my mood.
Even beer didn’t help.
When I slogged my way through my second Thursday in a row, I got home and started watching some of the Angels – Yankees game. When the home umpire didn’t call Posada out on an obvious third strike (prompting John Lackey to justifiably lose his shit), I decided it was time to head to bed.
Upon waking I see the Yankees put up six runs in that inning. Not bad for something that should never have happened in the first place. Since I didn’t see the game after Lackey walked Jeter, does anyone happen to know how many of those runs were scored with two outs? Because every single one of them shouldn’t have counted.
This kicked off another of my irrational thought processes that concluded it’s time to make some changes with baseball.
Some thoughts on how to make MLB better for everyone.
SHORTEN THE REGULAR SEASON
Considering we’re a week away from Halloween and the World Series hasn’t started yet should tell us baseball is dragging on waaaayyy too long. The other night Johnny Damon was at bat and the announcers were reminding everyone of the Game 7 grand slam he hit in the 2004 ALCS. ‘That was five years ago this very night,’ Joe Buck says.
It was Game 3 of the current ALCS. In five years, we are now four games behind schedule.
Suggestion: Cut the regular season by 12 games. Make it a nice, neat 150 games. Not sure where 162 came from anyway, but it’s too many.
Pros: A lot. Let’s run them down.
- The playoffs start two weeks early which will eliminate these ridiculous early November games in the north east. Just look at last year’s Series with monsoon’s postponing and ruining several of the games. Sure, there is still the risk in late October, but it’s less of a risk. If this keeps up we'll be seeing Christmas ads during the playoffs.
- Players will be healthier. Not all, but eliminating the wear and tear from those extra 12 games will mean a lot. Ask any baseball player and they’ll tell you the September run is the worst. Everyone has aches and pains, the weather is getting colder, and older players just want to get things over with.
- All those inflated numbers of the steroid areas that will never be touched? Now we can explain them away. ‘Of course Bonds hit 73 home runs. He was juiced and got to play 12 extra games’. Immediately, we can rationally dismiss all those steroid tainted records.
- Each game takes on slightly more importance. Especially during the dog days of August.
- Players can now tell themselves they are making more per game than ever before. This makes them feel better about themselves thus making them more motivated and happier. At least that’s what I’m telling myself.
Cons: Several here, too, but we can’t please everyone.
- Lost revenue. When you look at it, the teams will only be losing six home games a year, but that’s still lost cash. However, how many teams actually sell out home games near the end of the season, anyway? Other than 2-3 teams, nearly everything has already been decided.
- The previously mentioned season records. This pretty much ensures most will never be broken. Although, I highly doubt 73 home runs in one season will be reached without some pharmaceutical assistance.
- By extension, career records will be affected. A-Rod or Pujols will have fewer games to make a run at the all time home run record. Of course, fewer games could mean they wind up playing more seasons.
SPEED UP THE PLAYOFFS
If the players and owners don’t want to shorten the regular season, then let’s pick up the pace during the playoffs.
Suggestion: Make the first round best of three.
Pros: Will intensely heighten the drama and tension of every first round game. Can you imagine the Yankees losing game one at home? One more slip up and they’re out. It will also increase the number of first round upsets and make this possibly the most entertaining round of the playoffs.
Cons: Lost revenue. Again. And, yes, this is the main reason neither of the first two ideas will ever happen. Money is everything.
Suggestion #2: Fewer days off between games. I understand the travel days between east and west coast, but when both American League Division Series are over in three games, do we really need to wait four fucking days before the LCS starts? That couldn’t have been cut in half?
Pros: Fans don’t forget the playoffs are still going on.
CHANGE THE PLAYOFF OFFICIATING
These playoffs – more than any in recent memory – have illustrated that the umpiring crews feel playoff pressure, too. I haven’t seen so many bad or outright blown calls in my entire baseball watching life. And I’ve been watching since the 70s.
Suggestion: Keep it simple stupid(s). There is a saying in baseball: ‘Go with what got you there.’ This should apply to umpiring, too. Now that there is instant replay, there is no reason to have two more umpires down the left and right field lines. The entire reason they were put there in the first place was to help decide whether a ball was a home run or double. Now that there is instant replay to help in such matters, these extra officials are unnecessary and just clog up the works. Keep it the same as the regular season when we don’t have so many blown calls.
Besides, even when they are right on top of a play they STILL get it wrong.
"I'm on it..I'm on it..FOUL! Oh, shit! I meant the other F word"
Pros: Don’t have to pay extra officials; no worries about standard four man crews learning to deal with extra umps on the field (I’ll bet this is a bigger issue then we even know); umpires not getting tarred and feathered.
Cons: If I cared enough, I’m sure I would think of something…
I’m sure I’m not the only one sick of listening to Joe Buck’s condescending play by play and Tim McCarver’s increasing dementia. It’s time to change things up.
Suggestion: New broadcast teams. Let’s use the Dodgers and Phillies as an example. Instead of hiring mercenaries that have barely followed the league, why not have the Philly crew do the games in Philly and the Dodgers television crew do the games in LA? This doesn’t just apply to the broadcasters, either. I’m talking about the director, producer and technical team, as well. They’ve worked all year together and when the games are more important than ever, you shouldn’t bring in strangers to run the show.
Sidenote: Anyone else completely annoyed that whoever is directing the Fox games relishes showing the reactions of everyone in the dugout though out the game? Between every pitch there are shots of each manager and random players who are simply watching the game from the dugout. Only none of them are ever doing anything! Show the action on the field, you asses! I don’t need to see Jeter getting a new piece of gum for the fifteenth time or Manny spitting his wad on the floor. This is especially disturbing in HD.
Pros: Quite a few here, as well.
- Improved chemistry. These guys have worked together since April. They know each other’s quirks and how to play to each other's strengths. Plus it allows them to reach a much broader audience.
- They are more familiar with their team than anyone. They’ve watched nearly every single game since April. Who better than to educate new comers to their team than those most familiar with them?
- No more Buck and McCarver. You, too, Joe Morgan. Don’t want to hear you, either.
- Fox saves money by not flying their own guys all over the country, setting up the production trailers and having to pony up hotel rooms for every single crew hand.
- No more Buck and McCarver.
Cons: There is the possibility that the local team would be worse than Buck and McCarver, but I’m going with the odds on this one. I guess what I’m saying is I would listen to anyone other than Fox’s current baseball announcing crew (with the exception of Joe Morgan).
That’s it for the week. TGIFF!!
Today’s distraction: According to this story, the World Series will only employ experienced umps. So, who have been umpiring so far? Guys off the street?