Lately we’ve been hearing about MLB’s half-hearted lip service to try and speed up games. Meanwhile in the NBA they’re actually going to try and cut a minute out of each quarter resulting in 44-minute games beginning with a preseason game.
I have sat through many baseball games, and I have some ideas of what I would do.
1. 24 second pitch-clock. A pitcher will have only 24 seconds in between pitches. It doesn’t matter if there are runners on base or the bases or empty. Pitch. 24 seconds. Pitch. In a perfect world, the pitching mound would sit atop a trap door which would open to a pit of hungry lions. But I could imagine some people might object to this. So the penalty will be a two balls.
2. Batter must stay in batter’s box. Of course a big exception would be if the batter hits himself with a foul ball, and that would be at the discretion of the plate umpire. But no more Nomar Garciaparra-like fidgeting and adjusting of bullshit. No more Derek Jeter waving his hand in the face of the plate umpire until he deemed himself ready to see a pitch. Stay in the motherfucking box and be ready to do you bloody job. Again, in a perfect world there would be trap doors and lions involved, but the penalty will be two strikes.
3. No more “Star Spangled Banner” and “God Bless America”. Baseball survived without hearing someone botch the National Anthem before games until World War II. Since then it has become an obligation. Of course, originally, organists and marching bands played the song. Now? Singers of all types sing the damn thing. With a melody that was originally an Irish drinking song, I’ve heard it sang as a proper battle song. More often than not, however, I’ve also heard it as a fucking funeral dirge which is always pretty unbearable.
So let’s get rid of it and keep the dignity of the song. I’ve sat through way too many awful awful renditions of the song to the point where I began to hate it. There were times I wanted the singer to stand atop the aforementioned trap door/lion pit. The first hint of a baroque embellishment between notes or a slow tempo, I would press a button to open the trap doors. People around me in the press box knew what I was doing.
In this year away from games, I’ve found the love for the song again.
As for “God Bless America”? Fuck it. I’m a motherfucking atheist.
4. Game of the Week Saturdays. I know Fox wanted to establish Fox Sports 1, but those exclusive Saturday games were pretty elusive. Sometimes they were on at 1 pm PT. Sometimes at 7 pm PT. Sometimes 4. Sometimes on Fox. More often on FS1. We need to get back to an exclusive 4 pm ET/1 pm PT window on Saturdays on Fox. Also, to help supplement this, every team must be featured at least once. Sure, Red Sox-Yankees might get the ratings, but I want the game to grow. I don’t want this past week to be the time we’re just learning who the fuck Lorenzo Cain is.
5. More Nerdcast. It didn’t get strong ratings in Game 1 of the NLCS on FS1, but it satisfied the baseball nerds. I would probably cut the panel down to three people: the host, an analyst and an active manager. If I needed a split screen, I would make the screen that showed the analysts a lot smaller so the game would be more pronounced. But once this got going into the later innings, it was fantastic to watch and listen to.
6. Fire Harold Reynolds. I actually prefer Tim McCarver to Harold. If you looked up all the stupid things these two said, they would probably come up even. But man, Harold loves to smother a broadcast or he loves the sound of his own whiny voice through his headset. I’m really hoping FS1 does the Nerd Cast during the World Series, because I don’t know if I can take Harold any more. Either than or pray for his voice box to jump out of his throat and go on strike.