|Community pride: The 24-second clock was invented in Syracuse.|
Well, here are four ways to speed up the game, without a clock.
1. Cut one 30-second commercial out of every half-inning change. Yep, chop it one ad for W.B. Mason, or that guy who eats the ice cream and gets brain freeze. Baseball now sticks ads on everything that moves - this, on the premium YES network, which we pay to watch. Dear God, the radio broadcasts of John and Suzyn have become horrible, non-stop commercials - on a service many of us pay to receive online. HOW MANY REVENUE STREAMS DO THEY NEED? Cut the length of half-innings. That's 9 minutes, right there.
2. Stop singing "America the Beautiful" every seventh inning - and following it with yet another round of commercials. Yeah, we get it that the owners are great patriots and the players love nothing more than the U.S. flag - especially the ones from Japan, Korea and a certain Latin American nation we still will never visit, if Marco Rubio becomes president. If the owners love America so much, honor it by paying full shares of taxes, rather than stuffing both hands into the public till when they need a stadium. Spare us the looming football half-time show that was once the seventh-inning stretch. That's four minutes - and it seems like 10.
3. Cut the number of warm-ups that a relief pitcher gets to throw. (Unless of an injury replacement, of course.) They should already have warmed up in the bullpen. Don't let pitching changes become endless commercial breaks. Forcing pitchers to be ready would force managers to plan ahead, and maybe they won't change pitchers five times in an inning during April. How to turn an exciting game rancid? Have the manager switch pitchers three times in three batters. It becomes a 20-minute inning, in which nothing happened.
4. Force managers to demand video replays within 15 seconds of the call. Right now, they walk out slowly, talk to their player, frog around and wipe their butts, until some team-hired nerd in a booth checks the replay and flashes the signal. Then they issue the challenge, and then the umps waddle inside to take 10 minutes to study the video. Streamline the process. If a manager wants to challenge a call, he must do it immediately. Either that, or just check every call. The current system is a tedious joke. It's threatening to become a home-field advantage. Fix it.