As you know by now, the brain trust of baseball might test-drive a new rule for extra innings games in the minors, allowing each team to start with a runner on second base. That will hasten scoring and save teams from playing endless games - basically, for free.
This is a great change, long-overdue. For years now, fans have been calling, shouting, begging for this. Nobody likes extra inning games, least of all those who are forced to sit through them. Moreover, how is a business supposed to make money by giving away product - for free? That's the problem with this country. People think it's their God-given right to watch a game drone on into the eleventh or twelfth inning - without paying. Well, that's not gonna happen anymore. We're gonna get rid of dull lead-off singles, bunt sacrifices and stolen base attempts - - BOOOOO-RINNNNG. Man on second. Base hit scores him. Game over. Go home.
Here are other ways to shorten games and save this failing sport:
1. Mercy Rule. Ten-run lead in the second? Halt the game. It's over. Bye-bye. Nobody comes back anymore. It's not even worth trying. You might injure a star. All the polls show fans want this. I get calls. People say, "We want a mercy rule, Duque, but we're afraid to speak out in public. You're doing the right thing by arguing for it. God bless you. Do you even know how wonderful you are?" I shrug it off. This is not about me. It's about the movement. And it's about one of the greatest aspects of humanity: The act of mercy. I can't believe so-called "Americans" actually would no mercy to a poor team that is down and out. Shame, shame, shame. Savings: Statistically, average length will shrink by one to two minutes per year. Also, will boost excitement in nine-run games!
2. Home run - no trot. Once the ball leaves, why watch the fat guy jog the bases? New rule: He goes straight to the dugout, and we move on to the next pitch. It will save injuries. Less chance of turning an ankle. We simply can't afford to subject superstars to this wear and tear. This will encourage players to try and hit more home runs, which will improve the game. Right now, many hitters simply don't try to swing for the fences, because they fear striking out. Look at Rob Refsnyder. He wants to bat .300, rather than hit 20 HRs. I'M TIRED OF PLAYERS PUTTING THEMSELVES ABOVE THE TEAM. If he allows himself to hit - say . 210, I bet he can put up some meaning HR totals and actually benefit the Yankees! Savings: Estimated 60 seconds per HR, which means - if we can bring in the fences, as I also suggest - 15 to 20 minutes per game! Bravo.
3. Seven-inning double headers. Already a staple of the minors. Of course, MLB doesn't play double-headers anymore - you can't make money by giving away product? (SEE ABOVE) But on the few occasions when, due to rain outs or rioting, it's simply cheaper to cram in two games on one day, cut the innings. Jeez, is it rocket science? Who is going to complain? The fans? Don't make me laugh. They should be happy to get 14 innings for the price of nine. And if some whine, you know what? I'd personally like a shot at them. Oooh, what I'd do! Savings: Six innings per year.
4. Play two innings straight in the field. This way, we don't have to sit through the warming up of pitchers and changing of the defense. The team bats for two innings, with two three-out sets. Out, out, out - defense and pitcher hold their places - out, out, out. Everything flows smoothly. Everything moves on time. Savings: Three minutes per half inning, that's about 24 minutes per game! You're home by nine, ahead of the curfew.
5. Eliminate innings, and install a game clock. Yeah, a few traditionalists will squawk. Hell with them. Play one-hour games four quarters and a nice half-time show - the Rockettes, not some preachy disco queen getting felt-up by a gaggle of gay Chippendales. Where are the June Taylor Dancers? Is Up With People still going? Each team gets three time outs. The clock stops for foul balls, which means batters can "spike it" with bunts, halting play. We'll have two-minute drills! If a fielder fumbles a grounder, the base-runner can recover! Or intercept the throw. (Another thing: Give umps whistles! They're the only refs without whistles.) Savings: Big.
6. Something, anything, with the Irritable Bowel Syndrome lady. Not sure how to incorporate her, but I think she should be a spokeswoman for this website, and at the least, a fixture in Scranton for the coming season. Let's give Pennsylvania something to cheer.