Wednesday, August 27, 2014
In 2000, the late Hunter S. Thompson wrote a Page 2 post about the need for baseball games to be shortened. I recommend reading the full article, but here are the main thrusts of his proposal:
1. Eliminate the pitcher, replace with a pitching machine that can throw curves and sliders, controlled by the catcher
2. All games to have a 3 hour time limit. Highest score when time runs out wins.
3. Score determined by total bases, not runs.
4. Runners can run to any base.
5. No balls or strikes, each batter gets 5 pitches to get a hit.
All good proposals, but few have a chance of gaining acceptance. Here are my less entertaining but more feasible suggestions.
1. No timeouts for batters or pitchers with nobody on base
Except for unusual circumstances, like a batter getting dust in his eye, batters and pitchers shouldn't be allowed to step out of the box or off the rubber. When they request timeout, they must give an explanation to the umpire. If pitchers hold the ball too long, the umpire can call timeout and issue a warning, and the next violation will result in a ball.
2. No warm-up time for relievers
When a pitcher comes in from the bullpen after warming up, why does he need 2 more minutes to warm-up? If Tom Brady goes down in a game, Jimmy Garoppolo won't get 2 minutes to warm-up. If a reliever needs 2 more minutes to warm-up, he ain't warm.
3. Time limit on manager's deciding to review a play
In other sports, coaches have a limited time to decide to challenge a play. But in baseball we've seen managers and players delay while managers decide to review or not to review. So even if no challenge is made, time is wasted. Managers should have 20 seconds to decide whether or not to review a play.
4. Fewer reviewable plays
Fair or foul, homerun or not homerun, and plays at the plate. I'm tired of seeing neighborhood plays at second, and bang-bang plays at first being reviewed. There's too much philosophy involved. When do the ball and glove become one? When is the ball "in" the glove, when it's surrounded by the glove, or when it's secured? What if the ball is within the glove, but the ball is still moving? Does an umpire falling in the forest make a sound if no one is around to hear him?
I'll end this post the way Thompson ended his.
"Purists will bitch and whine, but so what? Purists will Always bitch and whine. That is their function."