MLB Going Batty, Killing Me Slowly
Baseball is a game of contradictions. On one hand, we have games that have no time limit. They are supposed to be the epitome of our national “pastime”–a game that is leisurely and fun.
On the other hand, we have Major League Baseball trying everything it can to make the game–and its equipment–interesting. In the past, the closest thing baseball has had to direct-marketing was chewing tobacco.
Nowadays we have teams pimping the idea of a “boutique bat” in the hopes of getting fans more interested. However, the games are so long that the fans will hardly come to the stadium to endure a 4-hour stinker.
At the same time we have the entire Washington Nationals front office stealing money from prospects. Back in the day, Bowie Kuhn would have made these guys walk the plank.
Can baseball have its molasses and eat it too? MLB has out-of-control teams, ridiculously long games, an even longer season, and players who seem detached from reality.
Did I mention that no one seems to be in control? Why should we care about the differences between maple and ash bats when ticket prices are through the roof and a game kills your whole day?
Baseball Is Slower than Molasses
In 1919, a molasses tank exploded and killed 21 people in downtown Boston. The force of the explosion buckled the support of an elevated train and toppled a firehouse. Molasses is deadly in large quantities. There are reports that a wave of molasses 15 ft. high washed over the surrounding area—just as it washes over baseball today.
The other day I sat with my lovely wife, Heather, for a game of her beloved Reds. They were playing the Marlins in Miami and Dusty Baker had Johnny Cueto starting at Pitcher.
Cueto should have only gone 4 innings, but he lasted 5. Dusty put in Mike Lincoln who only saw 6 batters. Then Daniel Rey Herrera who saw only two batters.
After that was Logan Ondrusek, Nick Masset, and finally Francisco Cordero to close out the game. During this time, Arthur Rhodes was warming up in the bullpen.
Throughout a 10-inning game the Reds used half of their available pitchers. So, I wasn’t surprised when my wife came upstairs frustrated. I asked her if they won and her reply was, “It isn’t over yet!”
Did I mention that the 1919 molasses explosion created a massive vaccum that sucked in neighboring buildings? This is similar to the vacuum that managers create with slow play sucking up the excitement in baseball.
Obviously, Dusty Baker’s Reds are just one case, but there will be 2,430 games during this MLB regular season. That’s a ton of baseball to withstand when there are so many pitching changes.
Can we really hold up to the vacuum that slow play causes?
Why Buy a Convertible When You Can Play Ball?
If you take all of my suggestions and implement them today, Major League Baseball gets stronger–the fans think it’s more fun, and the players are held accountable for their actions.
It’s hard to watch a game that takes entirely too long, played by spoiled brats—primarily because they do whatever they want–and get excited all summer long.
Starting rec leagues, appointing a “Fidel,” and speeding up the game makes baseball more palatable. It’s getting more and more mundane by the hour. We all know it, but no one wants to admit it.
If we aren’t careful the “fun” in the game will get sucked up by the vacuum of “slow play,” while the players run to the bank unsupervised, and the game resembles paint drying.
Some restaurants say their food can never get any better—because it is already so great. Baseball, on the other hand, has much room for improvement.