I love baseball. It truly is America’s sport. I mean this in the sense that baseball was invented in America, hasn’t been too kind to black people historically, and hit its cultural peak in the era everyone was on drugs. Other American sports may have flashier highlights and better TV ratings -not to mention players who aren’t spitting out wads of dip as they run- but they lack the historical relevance and familial feel of baseball.
There’s nothing better than going to an MLB ballpark. No better father-son experience. Nothing screams “bonding” like $10 Bud Lights, long lines for the urinals, and yelling obscenities at people you don’t know because they’re wearing another teams colors. From the $40 parking to secondhand smoke to the foot traffic. MLB ballparks, specifically ones like Fenway or Wrigley that aren’t surrounded by highways, are beautiful environments.
Baseball stars are true American heroes. I don’t remember coverage of the 2004 presidential election in vivid detail, but I damn sure remember ESPN cutting to every one of Barry Bonds’ at-bats. I remember Dave Roberts’ steal. I remember Bartman (By the way, there’s not a baseball fan on the planet who wouldn’t have done what Bartman did).
So, no, I don’t think baseball is boring. But I can see why its slow pace makes it hard for those who aren’t die-hard fans to follow for 162 games. The MLB Owners have spent a great deal of time trying to draw up intricate ways to make the game more entertaining for fans. After much debate with the committee (me), I have conjured up 10 ways to make baseball more exciting.
1. Make it so Yasiel Puig plays 5 games for every team each season, and put all of his games on National TV.
Mike Trout is currently on a historical trajectory implying he may very well become the greatest player of all time. Miguel Cabrera is the greatest hitter of his generation or at least since people stopped calling Albert Pujols the greatest hitter of his generation. Clayton Kershaw is dominating on the hill in a way we haven’t seen since Pedro.
But guess what? The “wow” factor of all those guys pails in comparison to the Wild Horse aka Yasiel Puig. Not only is the 24 year-old Cuban phenom one of baseball’s truly elite talents, but even his imperfections and perfect in terms of entertainment value. He often takes bad angles on fly balls, usually resulting in an epic attempts at diving catches. He doesn’t hit cut-off men, showing off his superhuman arm strength instead. He makes dumb decisions on the basepaths and often has to pull off an uber-athletic slide to not get tagged out. When he strikes out, he freaks out. He flips his bat EVERY DAMN TIME.
Dodgers fans already get Clayton Kershaw and get to live in Cali. They’re spoiled, even thought they haven’t won a World Series since 1988. Every fan of the MLB deserves to see Puig a few games each year. He’s baseball’s most unpredictable and exciting player. He’s like the Shawn Kemp of the MLB except not addicted to cocaine.
2. Every time a catcher goes to the mound, the fans get to throw things at him until he goes back behind the plate.
Mound visits that don’t even involve the manager are the worst. I understand the strategy and intricacies behind most of them, but I swear, some of these catchers are just trolling us. I wrote a scene for a screenplay:
I believe fans should have the right to hurl items onto the field at players if they choose to do mound visits. This may or may not be directly related to my lifelong dream of throwing a ball at Bartolo Colon’s head.
3. Five beer minimum for all outfielders before first pitch.
C’mon, you’re telling me it wouldn’t be fun to see outfielders stagger around and possibly trip over themselves when tracking fly balls? A high pop-fly to the middle part of the outfield is the most boring play in baseball. We all know the dudes gonna catch it, unless he plays for the Twins.
I say five beer minimum but I’m open to changing the number of beers. Some of these guys (yes, you, Marlon Byrd) have guts that look like they could take in a whole 12-pack without feeling anything.
4. Embrace steroid use.
The thing is, I’m semi-serious with this one.
I respect the game and whatnot but I personally don’t think it’s okay to write off a decade of MLB history because everyone was on the juice. It was a level playing field. And besides, IT WAS SO MUCH FUN. Sosa, McGwire, Bonds, Clemens, Canseco, everyone else. Before we really new what WAR and WAA were, all we cared about was seeing home runs and pitchers throw 100+.
I don’t want to have to do math when I watch baseball. Kiss my ass, Bill James and Brad Pitt and semi-skinny Jonah Hill. The only OPS I need is Outfielders Pumping Steroids, AMIRITE.
Steroids have been proven to have adverse affects on your long term health (don’t do them, kids) and the statistical revolution in baseball cannot be ignored. The nerds and doctors win again. I thought this was America.
5. Ban bunting.
Bunting is chill in high-school level ball and below because, as long as you put the ball in play, there’s like a 50% chance some kid who’s only playing third base because his alcoholic father forces him to is going to make a throwing error.
But in the pros, not only is it mathematically proven to be a moronic strategic move in almost all situations, it’s also BORING. If baseball was big in France, they’d probably have their cleanup hitters bunting. ‘Nuff said.
6. If you want to intentionally walk someone, you must PEG them on the first pitch.
The only thing worse than bunts and mound visits are intentional walks. If you don’t have the cojones to throw to a guy, at least throw AT HIM. I’m all for some good old-fashioned chin music. Baseball brawls are quite fun to watch.
7. There should be “dunk tank” filled with urine and every team gets to send their ace to see if the can hit the target and dunk Alex Rodriguez.
We all hate A-Rod. I mean, even New-England based Yankees fans (the worst people on earth) hate him. I’m jealous of him to be honest. He’s loaded, scoops digits at games, and has some outstanding skin care products.
A-Rod might not be the worst person in the world but that’s only because Pitbull still exists. If A-Rod actually gets a lot of at-bats this year, I really hope teams beam him. It’ll be funny because nobody on the Yankees will care or rush to defend him.
8. Jim Leyland should be brought back and allowed to smoke in the dugout. Also, Joe Maddon should be able to sip wine in the dugout.
Can you imagine watching one of the TV interviews with the mangers just to see Joe Maddon drinking wine and reading The New Yorker?
Jon Kruk: “So, Joe, what do you think of Lester’s first few innings tonight?”
Joe Maddon” “It’s balanced, Kruky, let me say that first. Very earthy, I think I sense a hint of oak in this one. ’98 was a good year for these guys.”
Shoutout Jim Leyland. That guy was a badass. We need him to come back.
9. The team with the worst record in each league should lose multiple draft picks and have to waive their two best players.
Tell me ONE reason this shouldn’t be a rule. I’m sick of teams giving up by June and fielding AAA level ball clubs to “see what they have in their farm system”. It would make the final month of the season MUCH more entertaining.
10. If a game reaches the three hour-forty five minute mark and isn’t in extra innings, it’s immediately called and both teams suffer a loss.
Peace. Happy baseball season.