Opening Daze

In case you didn’t get the memo, there is going to be, after all, a 2022 major league baseball season. I think some people still send memos although it is highly questionable as to whether or not anyone actually receives them. One thing that is unquestionable, dear friends, is that this season will be like no other season that we have ever witnessed. Mike Krukow, a former pitcher, and Duane Kuiper, a former second baseman who once homered in an actual game, are two of the most fortunate people in the world and they will tell you that themselves. They get to broadcast games played by the San Francisco Giants and they both love their jobs and do their jobs very well. Listeners or viewers will frequently hear either or both of them say that, if you come out to the ballpark, you are always liable to see something that you have never seen before. That will be a guarantee for National League attendees on Opening Day this week. National League teams will then join their American League cohorts in utilizing the designated hitter, which is something that the A.L. has been doing since 1973, when Richard Nixon was president and Willie Mays was a Met. So it is time for yours truly to finally shut up for good about this phenomenon. Several weeks ago I mentioned that while one of the aims of establishing the DH was to add action and run scoring by eliminating the spot in the batting order occupied by pitchers because they only worked once or twice a week and most of them couldn’t hit water if they fell out a boat on Lake Superior etc etc. However, I pointed out, in the 2006 season, American League teams scored only two tenths of one run per game more than N.L. teams that season. So I researched the 2021 season to see how the run scoring thing was progressing. In the 1,215 A.L. games played 9.2 runs per game were scored. In the league where pitchers batted, 1,214 games were played and 8.6 runs per game were scored. People say, with good reason, they are tired of watching pitchers strike out. Others among us say, we are tired of watching designated hitters strike out. I know there is more to it: bunting is not even practiced any longer, we are totally afraid that fragile pitchers might get hurt, it’s not done in the minors or college or Little league anymore, okay, I get it.

There are other rule changes coming as well. One is what I will call the Oaf Manfred Rule. That’s the one where, if we go to extra innings, there is a “ghost runner” placed on second base to start the inning. it’s been painfully explained that this might increase the chances for a quicker result despite the fact that both teams get the ghost. Sort of like sudden death without the sudden.

There could be other changes as well as time goes on so I have a few ideas. The negotiators would have to agree to them, of course, but if they agreed to that one, our chances are pretty good for mine too I would think.

First, we need a NO FLY ZONE. This rule would apply only in certain ballparks. I’m thinking Denver for sure although Toronto, Philadelphia and Cincinnati probably qualify as well. This rule says that any fair ball hit to the outfield is an automatic out. No more cheap home runs, faster games, and the pitchers will love it.

second, now that we’ve dealt with the so-called professional ballplayers who can’t hit, what about all those guys that can’t field or run? Let’s open up roster spots for Designated Runners and Designated Fielders. We’ll call it the Edgar Martinez and Dick Stuart Rule. Remember Herb Washington? That Charles Finley guy had some brains.

Finally, I have one that I know all fans will love, although the owners may provide some resistance. Mr. Manfred wants a time clock, let’s give him one. Not for the pitchers, though. This one is for the television folks. The Commercial Timeclock Rule. At the end of each half inning, the clock will allow no more than two (2) minutes for the next half inning to start. If more time than that elapses, the umpire crew chief will have to buy each manager a case of their favorite wine, beer, or other beverage. Watch those four hour games disappear.

Okay, I’m ready now. Play ball!

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