Sunday, January 18, 2015

Four ways to speed up the game of baseball that don't require an obnoxious clock

Community pride: The 24-second clock was invented in Syracuse.
Baseball, bowling and golf are the last great sports not ruled by the clock, so - naturally - the owners will use one this year in the minors. They want to end the four-hour game, presumably so the cheap bastards don't have pay the help extra hours.

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.


Ken of Brooklyn said...

ABSO- F*CKING- LUTELY!!!! ALL of these are huge wa$te of time issues, your on the money El Duque!!!!!!

KD said...

I feel the long commercial breaks every 3 outs are even more terrible when you're actually at the game. Sure, they try to keep the fans entertained with jumbotron nonsense but it's just too lame for words.

my partial solution would be to have the longs breaks only at the end of an inning. That still leaves 8 long break opportunities to go with 9 very short breaks. Isn't that enough?

(Hal, if you're reading this, don't fret. More people will watch a faster moving, more enjoyable game. Just charge more for the airtime to compensate.)

KD said...

any pitcher must face a minimum of 2 batters (maybe 3).

Austria's Only Baseball Fan said...

Uh, it's "God Bless America" which turns the seventh inning stretch into the obligatory daily chest-thump of patriotism, not "America the Beautiful," and it drives me crazy! The grounds crew and "YMCA" are more than enough!

I'm Bill White said...

Six inning games would work well for this ballclub in '15.