The DEFEND Cleveland Show

I Have Fixed Baseball

Baseball has never been healthier.  Well, so say the out of touch owners and Roman Senators that run the game.  While ticket sales are strong, and overall TV viewership is good, these old men seem to miss the point.  Most people just DON’T CARE.   You would think that people would be all jacked up with the Phillies and their multi billion dollar pitching staff coming up empty.  Maybe they would be excited to see the hated Yankees lose in the first round again.  Not really.  Most people care more if the 1-4 Broncos are going to start Tim Tebow on their way to a 4-12 season than who wins the World Series.  So, what’s the problem?

I have a few immediate changes that could be made that would cause some short term pain for Baseball, but would probably help stop its freefall in popularity before hockey flashes by it. These aren’t very difficult to follow, and the fact they haven’t been employed shows you how out of touch the ruling class of baseball chooses to live.

 1)      Regular season baseball games don’t matter.  The season never ends.  Baseball is something to do in the slow and easy days of summer.  That’s why you don’t really care if the Indians are playing on the West Coast for a week in August and you won’t see the games.  It’s why people don’t tailgate at the Muni Lot before a Wednesday night Royals game waving around rubber tomahawks screaming “Woo! Woo! Woo! Woo!’.  The games start late, and there’s another one around the corner.  It’s like a ticket to a Ted Leo show, you miss it, and you’ll catch the next one in a few.

The Playoffs do matter.  That late inning pitcher vs. batter showdown can decide all 162 games that came before it.  A half a year of effort comes down to one single pitch.  That’s really great actually.  It provides much more drama than a Buccaneers v Colts game, and you don’t need slow motion to get into it.  It’s just too bad that Baseball televises their dramatic climax at 12:35 am when most of the nation’s population centers are sleeping.  Does the NFL put the AFC Championship game on Wednesday at one in the morning?  Fuck no they don’t, because they aren’t 83 years old and convinced it is 1958.  Those sharks know how to run a business.

You know why no one cares about the World Series?  Because no one has actually been awake to see the Series since the mid 1970s.  Start the games at 7:00 eastern.  You’ll get your big prime audience for advertisers; the West Coast just will miss the first hour.  It’s OK.  Their kids will see the whole thing, and maybe become fans.

 2)      Start the games on time.  We don’t need 30 minutes of pregame and the national anthem sung by some douchbag from whatever Network American Idol karaoke crap show you are trying to promote.  Back when there were 3 networks, that pregame was useful.  Now, everyone who cares has heard 7 hours of sports talk radio and highlights cranked on a loop on ESPN.  We already know that Verlander can pitch, and Hamilton has a drug problem.  Let’s go.

While you’re at it, can “America the Beautiful” in the 7th inning.  In 2001 when 9.11 happened and the games were in New York it was emotional.  It’s ten years later, and now it’s just another promotional tool.  We get enough Nationalism with the Star Spangled Banner.  That was added in the Second World War.  9.11 added America the Beautiful.  By the time we get out of Afghanistan, we’ll be doing “Stars and Stripes Forever” with Kathy Lee Gifford doing crotchless cartwheels in an Uncle Sam outfit in the 4th inning.  Enough already.

I was at a Sunday game with a friend of mine from Germany once.  Try having a discussion about how rampant nationalism ruined Germany when American Flags are being waved by Americans in America while “Proud To Be An American” blasts over the PA as the National Guard walks out a 200X200 American Flag.  “Yes, now let me tell you about how Nuremburg was fucked up.”

No team owner wants to be the “un-American” guy that decides to say, “You know what.  You paid for a baseball game.  Here’s a baseball game.”  It’s not like you have to stand, take your hat off and sing the National Anthem when you go to a movie or eat a Bloomin Onion at Outback.  Can’t we all just agree we are “for” America and keep this thing moving along?

3)      At some point it became OK for the batter to step outside of the box every pitch and re-adjust himself.  This was a “strategy” to try and control the tempo of the pitcher vs. batter showdown.  How this has been allowed to continue is beyond me.  I challenge you to try and endure a Red Sox vs. Yankee game.  Those two teams have managed to collect every Prima Donna batter on the planet.  Is it really necessary to take off the batting gloves and readjust the straps every pitch?  Like, how much could the gloves have slipped off if the guy didn’t even swing?  Are gloves made so poorly that it has become impossible to manufacture a leather glove that can stay affixed to a man’s hand?

There are three things I always watch when I stumble onto them on cable.  “Jaws”, Cinemax softcore porn movies, and 1970s “classic” baseball replays.  Stop and watch a half inning of one of those games sometime.  You’ll be stunned at how quickly it clips along.  The batter steps in the box.  The pitcher gets the ball.  He pauses a second, and throws the ball.  It repeats.  The game is over in a couple of hours.  That eleven-inning Tiger vs Ranger the other night went over 5 hours.  Five hours?  You could put Tom Waits in my living room playing piano while Megan Fox gives me handjobs, and after a couple hours I will say, “Thanks, but I’m bored.  I’m gonna do something else now.”  1

 Have the guys step in the box and don’t let them step out unless they get set into the dirt by a brush back.   The pitcher gets a play clock on him like football.  Can’t agree on a pitch?  Too fucking bad.  If you don’t throw one in 3 seconds it is an automatic ball.  Need a mound conference?  Sure.  But you get three of them per game, just like football.

With these three simple steps, I predict Baseball can once again flex it’s muscles and become the most popular sport behind Pro Football, College Football, Pro Basketball, College Basketball, and probably auto racing.  OK.  Maybe MMA too.


– Greg Miller

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  1. Editor’s Note – Mike James would at least make a night of this, or a weekend at most, but I get his point. []

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Posted by on Oct 12 2011. Filed under Featured, Greg Miller on Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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