When it comes to sports, we want more of everything – speed, scoring, tackles, slam dunks and car crashes. Major league baseball has few if any of these. The game is slow, boring and loses fans every day.
Baseball is like us Baby Boomers, the older we get the slower we get. If the game gets any slower, it will go backwards. Games will end in negative scores.
Today’s average nine-inning Major League Baseball game takes three hours and 10 minutes, and only 18 minutes of that is actual play.
Fans like fast-paced action at the speed of light. Baseball is played at the speed of smell. If it doesn’t change soon, it will become more boring than soccer. That’s why Major League Baseball is trying to improve and speed up the game.
It can start by ending the big lie called the World Series. This end-of-season playoff doesn’t include teams from around the world, but only teams in North America.
That’s one of the reasons that the sport is losing fans, interest and ratings.
Here’s an idea, make the game affordable for fans. For a family of four to afford a trip to the ballpark, they must refinance their home, cash in their life insurance, visit a loan shark and win the lottery, and that just covers parking costs.
It doesn’t help that greedy owners and players regularly delay the season, like the recent 99-day lockout, demanding more money because they can’t possibly live on mere multi-million-dollar salaries. The poor things are forced to own used Ferraris and Lamborghinis instead of brand-new rides. So sad.
The sport is trying to re-brand itself, become more exciting, and stop its waning appeal with fans.
The sport is experimenting with pitch clocks, removing the defensive player shift and letting runners use the relief pitcher golf carts to run the bases. (I made up that last one, but wouldn’t it be an exciting game if the baserunners could use a speeding cart to mow down the second baseman and stop the double play?)
Here are a dozen more ideas to make the game more exciting:
1. Batters can hit the ball off a tee or toss it in the air and hit it, or just throw it wherever the hell they want.
2. Every fielder has a ball and can get the runner out by throwing it at him and hitting him like kickball.
3. Once a team is ahead by more than 10 runs, all of the team’s batters must stand the bat upright on the ground, put their forehead on the bat knob, and spin around it ten times before batting.
4. If a fan catches a foul ball, the batter is out.
5. Narrow the outfield warning track to 5-feet-wide to make for more fun and exciting player collisions with the wall that can be shown on the “Ridiculousness” TV show.
6. If a pitcher purposely plunks a batter, the batter can stand a few feet away from the pitcher and throw a fastball into the pitcher’s crotch.
7. Each team manager controls the outfield sprinklers and can turn them on when an opposing player is running to make a catch.
8. When the kiss cam points to a player he must immediately run into the stands and kiss the nearest person to him, be it a man, woman, child, usher, mascot or baseball commissioner Manfred (if it is Manfred, he must be kissed on the mouth).
9. Batters can doctor their bats by stuffing them with Superballs, springs and plastic explosives.
10. Baserunners caught in a rundown can use two fingers, to poke infielders in the eyes, ala the Three Stooges.
11. Everyone loves fireworks. Each player gets one bottle rocket that he can use, any time during the game or warmups to fire at opposing players who are batting, running bases or fielding balls.
12. Baserunner must chug a beer and eat a hot dog at each base before advancing to the next base.
Bonus idea: Every time there is a player strike or owner lockout, all fans get free game passes, one for each day of the work stoppage.
I’m sure you readers have ideas on how to improve the game. Share them on the comments site on this page.
If Major League Baseball doesn’t incorporate some of my suggestions soon, it will be going, going gone.
Jim Pfiffer’s humor column posts every Sunday on the Jim Pfiffer Facebook page, Hidden Landmarks TV Facebook page, West Elmira Neighborhood, SouthernTierLife.com and TwinTiersLiving.com. Jim lives in Elmira with his wife, Shelley, and many pets. He is a retired humor columnist with the Elmira Star-Gazette newspaper and a regular swell guy. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.