It has been brought to my attention by an agent who may or may not be associated with the office of the commissioner of major league baseball that, in order to avoid a subpoena from the subcommittee on rules, regulations and ticket prices and. also. to avoid being branded a weenie, I ought to consider altering my belief that there are simple solutions to the paramount issue of pace of play. So I said sure.
At first I was a bit reluctant, mostly because it hadn’t been made clear to me that pace of play really mattered that much to the average baseball fanatic. However, the agent, who spoke on condition of anonymity since he hadn’t been authorized to address anyone with Anarchy in their title, brought out a huge folder with charts and diagrams that showed, somewhat to my satisfaction, that many viewers at home, if not in the stadium seats, were nodding off after the three hour mark in games even though much of the hard work of watching had been done for them: counting pitches, computing every player’s up to the minute OPS, identifying who sang God Bless America, etc. So there was little doubt that Manfred Mann was correct and that we all should be losing sleep until this matter got settled or else face the horrifying prospect of a pitch clock.
Consequently, I have rescinded my previous argument that all we needed to do was trim the number of pitchers allowed on the rosters to ten. I now have other ideas. First, how about reincarnation? The game will speed up post haste with every team adding the reincarnation of Bob Gibson or Sal Maglie or Allie Reynolds to pitch for them. That way, when fuss budget batters go into their choreography in and out of the batters’ box they will soon be on first base after getting drilled. There’s some action for you. Get in there and hit. Also, imagine the chagrin a modern day manager will feel as he ponders going out to the mound to take that pitcher out of a game. Now we’re saving time.
We could use some help from the umpires as well. It’s an old story, but the high strike is not being called. Batters know it and that’s why so many are adapting their “launch angle” swing since anything above the belt or even lower has a good chance of being called a ball. Pitchers know it and avoid the high hard one just like some avoid going inside. Walks and homers and strikeouts can put anyone to sleep by the fifth inning.
What the commissioner and the owners won’t talk about is the ever increasing amount of time being spent selling stuff between innings, during ubiquitous pitching changes and every other chance they get. Maybe baseball should do like American football and basketball and have a halftime break. Just have one advertisement for 60 seconds between innings and save the rest for a 20 minute half time extravaganza after the top of the fifth inning. Look, if we are consuming all of the food and beverages they have been selling us during the game, we are going to need a nice comfort station break. This way we won’t miss so much of the action. As for the people actually in attendance at the yard, hell, it’s like being at an amusement park these days anyway with restaurants, bars, arcades etc. so who cares? They could trot out Justin Bieber or some such as “entertainment” if necessary and hardly anyone could tell. This might be the mighty Quinn to solve it all.
The agent indicated he was satisfied that I had diversified. Now, about that runner at second base to start an extra inning. I think it should be the manager. Bruce Bochy, Clint Hurdle, Mike Scioscia, yeah. Now we’re talking.