Greetings and salutations from the glow of the cheap seats, fellow Cubs fanatics, where I still bask in the Cubbie blue afterglow of a World Series championship. It’s like sex … only it smells like leather, cheesy fries and beer. Actually, that would be sex for Cardinals fans. But I digress.
One might think winning the last game of the playoffs would take the edge off the Schlombowksi razor. And one would be correct. Right up until Rob Womanfred poked his head outta the backside of his jackass.
That’s right, sports fans. Manfred is back at it — attacking the perfection of baseball by tryin’ to institute pinheadian rule changes to “speed up the game.” Thankfully, just one of his brain farts snuck through this season, leaving Robby Boy foaming at the mouth in frustration with the MLBPA.
This new rule is a perfect illustration of just how friggin’ constipated Manfred’s whole speed-up-the-game movement is. According to ESPN’s Howard Bryant, Major League Baseball plans to use a dugout signal in place of issuing four balls for a intentional walk this season. If you look at the numbers you’ll see that eliminating the 60 seconds saved by not actually, physically throwin’ 4 balls is like takin’ a bucket of water outta Lake Michigan. If the average game is 3 hours long, that 60 seconds represents 1/2 of 1% of the time it takes to play it. Wow! Brilliant move, Baseball. I can only imagine how the Gross National Product is gonna soar with all that extra time that won’t be wastin’ on a ballgame. Friggin’ genius.
This whole thing reminds me a Star Trek episode, appropriately titled, “A Taste of Armageddon.” During this episode the crew of the Enterprise visits a planet whose people fight a computer-simulated war against a neighboring planet. Even though the war is just pretend, the citizens of each planet have to submit to real executions inside “disintegration booths” to meet the casualty counts of the simulated attacks.
Well, this walkin’ guys without walkin’ guys is the same kinda thing.
It’s complete donkey doo. It doesn’t speed the game up (as if that needed to be done anyway) in any noticeable way, and it robs fans of the chance … the possibility … the anticipation that some yay-hoo pitcher with the control of a young Randy Johnson tosses one of his pitches to the backstop. Pathetic.
If you really wanna improve the game of baseball, consider gettin’ Manfred together with one of those disintegration booth thingies.
Of course, I could be wrong. But I’m not.
Yesterday, ESPN’s Buster Olney wrote a piece about the nine ideas that would improve baseball — not a “fix”, but things that would help the game in one form or another. Personally, I don’t see what’s wrong with baseball, outside of we don’t have cheerleaders. You hear that Manfred?! We want cheerleaders! The game is nearly flawless (unless we’re talkin’ about Starlin Castro’s glove). Time has confirmed the perfection of its geometry. It ebbs and flows like a lazy summer stream, but it’s also punctuated by the violence of the bat, the improvisation and acrobatic of great defenders, and the drama of a single pitch upon which the outcome might rest. There’s no clock savin’ anyone’s ass. Yeah, there’s a clock — one of Manfred’s brain farts intended to speed up the game. Idiotic. But there’s no game clock. As Yogi said, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over,” which can only be associated with the purest forms of sport. There’s no timer that can be manipulated — completely independent of athletic skill — to one’s advantage.
This is where I got an issue with the list in Buster’s piece. At lease item #1. I’m not finger pointing, since the list was generated with help from the Mike & Mike audience. At least it sounds like that’s the case. But that number 1 item on the list reads as follows:
Reduce the games to seven innings. A longtime executive mentioned this idea to me a couple of years ago, a dramatic change that would accelerate the adrenaline of the game and greatly reduce the time of game, something MLB has aimed for in recent seasons. You can shave the commercial time between innings or ask batters to stay in the box, but those are minor adjustments that make a small difference. This change would get the time of game closer to between two and 2 1/2 hours.
No question: Shavin’ commercial time, keepin’ batters in the box, limiting the time for mound visits … None of that makes much of a difference. BUT REDUCING GAMES TO SEVEN INNINGS?!!! Give me a friggin’ Kit Kat break. Is the goal to turn Major League ball games into Little League games? That idea reaches a point on the stupidity peak that’s never been conquered before. Congrats to whoever came up with that, and the “long time executive” Buster refers to. You guys all get the pointy hat prize.
1) a set of laws or regulations
2) a set of ideas or rules about how to behave
Codes, unlike rules, are often unwritten and informal. No official book. No company manual. No government-like posters in the lunch room. They’re phantom collections of understandings between members of a group. For example, Chicago has a hot dog code that says you never, ever, never, never ever put ketchup on a hot dog; there’s no law preventing it, but if you’re from the Windy City you just wouldn’t ever do that. And if you did, you’d have to take the extra-large ration of doo doo — justifiable, by the way — that your friends would dish.
There are other kinds of codes, too. Like, say, a code of ethics. That’s the kinda thing Hillary Clinton wouldn’t recognize if it jumped up and took a bite out of her pantsuit-wearin’ donkey. Another would be a code of conduct. Donald Trump couldn’t identify that one if it was sittin’ on top of whatever it is that’s already sittin’ on top of his head. But that’s not what’s at issue here. In November, yes. What I’m talkin’ about now, though, is a code of honor. Semper Fidelis is the Marine Corp version. It means remaining faithful to the mission, to each other, to the Corps and to country, regardless of whatever kinda hell is happening all around them. Even the Mafia has a code. It’s called Omertà, and it means you never rat on your friends, you don’t cooperate with authorities, and you keep your nose outta the illegal actions of others. If you’re a wise guy, Omertà isn’t something you wanna treat with a casual attitude; like Alfonso Soriano used to have in the batter’s box. You could end up wearin’ cement shoes. If you’ve ever seen Prince Fielder run, you’d know that’s somethin’ you want to avoid.
Which brings me to the point; that unwritten code in baseball that says if one of your guys takes out one of our guys — whether it’s a hard slide into second base or some chin music that actually hits a high note — there’s gonna be some kinda retaliation. It’s part of the game — even the sissified, pink tutu-wearin’, give-a-warning-to-both-teams version Bud Selig turned it into. When I was a kid though, if you did a Chase Utley against the Cards, for example, you’d have to expect Bob Gibson to attempt a little brain surgery on you the next time you came to the plate. Not givin’ someone a tit when they’ve obviously tatted you is just plain cowardly, my friend. It’s baseball, not figure skating, and if you’re gonna put on the uni it’s your duty to stick up for each other. Period. Plus, it adds a dimension of Omertà to things, cuz you never know when, where or necessarily who is gonna pay the price. Bryce Harper thinks flippin’ bats and admiring your own work at the plate makes the game more interesting? That’s just ego in a very jackassian sorta way. Throwing a 97 mph heater at a guy’s numbers, on the other hand, tends to start a conversation — one that uses ALL the words in the english language, and that sometimes ends up in a spontaneous all-team dance on the infield grass. Now that’s interesting, pallie. You can keep your friggin’ bat flip.
Take a knee, Cubs-lovers.
So I’m watching Jake spellbind the Giros last night, wondering if he was facing a real Major League team or the consolation bracket in Williamsport, when, during a commercial break, I flip channels long enough to hear two jock-sniffing windbags calling a meaningless game in Boston or New York or You-Take-Your-Pick mention that the Commish is now considering — get this — a proposal from the owners’ competition committee that will do away with the intentional base-on-balls as soon as next year. No, hey, if you’re rubbing the eye boogers from your peepers right now wondering if you just read that right, believe me, I get it. I nose-farted Old Style all over the barcalounger! Oh, and that’s not all, sports fans. They also want to raise the strike zone to the top of the knee, probably because there ain’t a warm body on the planet that can hit Jake this year. Since Alex Cartright spit out is last chew, the only problem with the strike zone is that the boys in blue can’t seem to read it any better than a book of French poetry. Leave it alone, I say.
Let me ask you this, cheese doodles: is there a novocaine drip that leads directly to Robbie Womanfred’s ball bag? He’s pissed cuz the game is taking seven minutes longer this year. Seven minutes? Um, what’s the problem? The fans in Atlanta may not want to endure the pain any longer than they did last year, but at Wrigley we’re real fans who say, the longer the better. Hell, I can savor two more Old Styles and another Smokie in seven minutes! Let’s face it, hammer heads: either you’re a baseball fan, or you’re not. Don’t like being at the yard? Don’t friggin’ go! Besides, it’s not the stuff on the field that chaps my ass. It’s all the commercials and promotions and electronics and other “fan experience” crap required by the average Dodgers fan that brings the game to a screeching halt and sends me into sensory overload. Not to mention instant replay, which I hate as much as Steve Bartman must.
Okay, cotton balls, take a knee.
Is it just me, or has the tendon that connects Rob Manfred’s cranium to his sphincter suddenly grown long enough to wrap around his man grapes?
As if the bonehead 30-second clock wasn’t enough to boil the cholesterol in my blood, the Commish’s office just approved a slide rule at second base. A slide rule at second base? Are you dry humping me? I thought we already had two slide rules at second base: 1) you better slide on a double play, so the shortstop’s throw doesn’t knock your teeth out; and 2) unless you knock the shortstop on his ass trying to break up the double play, don’t bother coming back to the dugout — just leave five hundred big ones on the skipper’s desk and beg his forgiveness at the hotel bar. Maybe he’ll let you play again in … oh, I don’t know … A FRIGGIN’ MONTH!
Tighten up, melon balls.
I got a craw, and there’s something jammed in it pretty tight. Actually, really tight, you know? Like pickles. Sardines. Like a Krakus canned ham. Know what I’m sayin’?
It’s called the Commissioner’s Office and it’s got me feeling a little salty.
Far be it for yours truly to criticize the genius sitting in that particular ivory tower, but didn’t Bud Selig retire? I kinda hoped when he broke wind in his high-back leather chair for the last time he’d be taking his ham-fisted decisions with him. (Can anyone say inter-league play, and a 7-7 tie in the FRIGGIN’ ’02 ALL-STAR GAME?!)
No such luck, pallie. It seems while I was outside grabbing some air after Selig finished crop dusting the room, Rob Manfred stepped in to give us — after, like, nine hundred years of sports perfection — a clock on the field to limit, of all things, the time a coach takes to start and finish a mound visit. I’m sorry, cheese doodles, was that a problem? I got news for Robbie: the only thing wrong with the game is the amount time I spend waiting for the Old Style vendor to reload. Other than that, the game’s fine. Leave it alone.
Let me spell it out for you, sports fans: the commissioner is going to make the game better by speeding it up. And the way he’s going to do that is by starting a 30-second clock when the coach leaves the dugout on his way to the mound? Hey, I’m all for fast games — win or lose inside two-fifteen, I say. Nobody likes their infielders falling asleep, and since they stop pouring beer in the eighth … well, I start to get a little parched. Know what I’m sayin’? But is making a coach run to the mound and back really the answer? Hey, Robbie, you think for two seconds how much time it will take for the paramedics to resuscitate Chris Bosio when he collapses on the infield grass? Hell, Lou could light up a pitcher for thirty seconds before he crossed the foul line. Makes no sense to me.
Want to make the game faster, Robbie? Lose the DH in the sissy league, instant replay, and inter-league play. And for God’s sake stop letting TV dictate when the next pitch is thrown.