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  • 12/17/2008, 07:18AM ET

Zing Tourney, Round 3: What 2 Rules Would you Add or Change to Improve MLB?

Porkins. (179-15-3) vs Somebody of Note (43-13-5)
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I love baseball, but the sport is suffering from some real problems. Not as bad as Fizzle's "dress up like a stripper and hit self with a belt in front of the mirror" problems, but bad nonetheless.

And it needs help like T-fo's mom needs lipo. STAT.

#1. I propose speeding up the game by reducing delays/ stoppages related to pitching.

One of the biggest problems is that baseball is BORING, but we can try to fix this. Excluding injury:

-limit the number of pitching changes per game. Let's say the starter plus 3 for a 9-inning game.
-set a max of 1 pitching change per inning
-limit the number of times coaches/ catchers may visit the mound per game. Maybe 5 TOTAL.

This would force managers to be more strategic in how they use their relievers. With the current system, you can swap guys in and out faster than Pitt taps a llama.

This leads to too many "specialists" which in turns leads to bullpens with more role-players than Ram's Dungeons & Dragons parties.

Baseball is slow enough without the delays caused by pitching substitutions, ESPECIALLY mid-inning changes. Given modern attention spans, we need to minimize the boredom.

I'll discuss my 2nd next. GL.


The two biggest issues with baseball are pervasive boredom and long games. I have fallen asleep with baseball on TV more often than my opponent has answered yes to the common question "Would you like to SuperSize that?" I doubt that even Gu3 hopped up on goobers, caffeine, pure sugar, and sorority girls can watch an entire baseball game without closing his eyes.

With that said, here is a subtle rule change that could attack both problems with baseball:

1) If a pitcher doesn't get a runner out on a pick-off throw, let the runner advance a base.

Think about how many times you have seen a pitcher look, take a glance at first base, look back at home plate, take another glance at first base, look at home plate pretending he doesn't know that the guy at first base is leading off, fire the ball at first base resulting in nothing, and repeat the cycle again five more times. This may not seem like much, but it greatly slows down the action (quite unlike TFo's mom, who goes through men like a cheetah on Red Bull).

Eliminating this rule would not only speed up the game thanks to pitchers being massively less likely to attempt a pickoff, but it would allow more runs to be scored.


Boring? WHAT??

In "debating" with me, you basically copy my idea? That's the biggest rip-off since Dave stole all that womens underwear from Sears.

Pitchers throw to 1st for many reasons. It's crazy to say that 1 THROW = FREE BASE. I can see limiting it, but come on...put DOWN the Molson and back away from the ledge.

My idea for speeding up the game is MUCH more effective. According to Elias and TSN, the average game is nearly an HOUR longer than it was 50 years ago. Some of that's due to tv breaks etc., but much is due to pitching changes.

That's where the real delay lies, not pickoff attempts.


Anyhoo, here's my #2 idea. I call it #2.

Expensive tickets and late-night games are slowly strangling baseball's fanbase. And not in your special "autoerotic" way.

Families are being priced out of games and can't afford to take kids to the ballpark anymore.

Add to that late night start times- ESPECIALLY in the playoffs- and you've got a problem.

MLB needs to make the game more accessible to the next generation of fans by offering family-priced tickets, and improving game scheduling.

Young fans are to MLB what chocodiles are to T-fo's mom: Necessary.


I don't quite understand your railing on my saying that baseball is boring; stating common knowledge is hardly plagiarism. This is the biggest FN-related witch hunt since stowe carried a torch as a young man in Salem.

There is one rule change that would encompass your proposed change similar to the way your mouth encompasses a whole lobster in Happy Hour and build on it.

2) Institute a salary cap and revenue sharing system.

Baseball is doing just fine in New York, Boston, L.A., Philadelphia, and Chicago. It's not doing so well in places like Oakland, Pittsburgh, Kansas City, and Florida.

What do all of those team have in common? Almost annually, they hold fire sales of their best players, trading them to rich teams who can afford them like those listed above.

These small-market owners cannot afford to compete with the "big boys" of the MLB. A salary cap/revenue sharing system can change that.

Not only would it give the little guys a chance to succeed, but it would allow teams to lower ticket prices. You said it yourself, fans are not going to be able to love a game they can't afford to watch. Fans also aren't going to be hooked on baseball by a second-rate team.


Wahhh! Small market teams can't compete!

Low payroll? You'll never make the World Series! Too bad for you Tampa Bay in '08! Colorado in '07! Detroit in '06! Houston in '05!

And you, Oakland and Minnesota and Cleveland and Florida and Milwaukee and Arizona. You guys will NEVER make the playoffs without a salary cap!

You're right. "These small-market owners cannot afford to compete."


Can you sense my sarcasm? It's thicker than Tie Domi's eyebrows.

Because the FACT is that a team with a payroll ranked 14TH OR LOWER has made it to the World Series in the past 4 SEASONS.

The As, Twins, Brewers etc...all recent playoff teams, all competing just fine.

This year's WS teams ranked 13th and 29th in spending while the Yankees MISSED the playoffs.

Clearly, the "big boys" are dominating. QUICK! We need a salary cap!


Now I can see how you'd be confused by a sport that doesn't include ice and rarely employs the word "hoser". But DUDE!

You all but copy my idea for your 1st change and fail to check the facts for your 2nd.

WEAK.

-Reduce delays related to pitching
-Make the game more accessible to young fans

THOSE are meaningful changes to MLB.


Wow, it's great that you are so convinced that small-market teams can achieve sustained success. Say hello to the '08 Rockies (74-88), the '08 Tigers (74-88), and the '07 Astros (73-89). Say hello to the Twins, who were forced to dump stars Torii Hunter and Johan Santana, the Rockies who were forced to dump Matt Holliday, the A's who were forced to dump Barry Zito, Joe Blanton, Dan Haren, and Rich Harden, the Indians and Brewers who were both forced to let go of CC Sabathia, the Astros who were forced to let go of Carlos Beltran and Andy Pettitte, and the Marlins who have seemingly dumped their best five free agents for the past five years.

I love how you're assuming that they can afford sustained success, too. How can you keep up with the Red Sox and the Yankees when you are getting only 1/4 of their ticket sales? How can you expect to keep up when more than 1/3 of your stadium is constantly empty (which was the case for 16 of the league's 30 teams last year)?

The fact is, you can only get lucky. And even you can't dispute the correlation between losing and low profit. With a cap and revenue sharing, baseball will be a hot ticket across the States, not just in the Northeast.

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