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Lately, baseball has gotten worried about an audience that averages 55 years old. In a bid to make the game more exciting, various sportswriters have made suggestions about rules changes. We took a handful, but frankly, our ideas are better.
Clamp Down On Stepping Out
Enough with the pretty-boy stuff. Make hitters stay in the box, ready for the next pitch. No more stepping out, adjusting gloves, taking a few practice cuts. Especially if the batter didn’t swing at the previous pitch.
Stop The Umpire Show
NFL and NBA referees have a tougher job than any baseball umpire, thanks to all that running. But you don’t see them acting like preening peacocks, arguing with benches, doing little dances, whatever.
Shorten the Game To Seven Innings
Maybe the fact that we take a Seventh-Inning Stretch suggests that’s how long the game ought to be. But do we really want to see our star hitters bat just 2 or 3 times per game?
No Pick-Off Moves Or Pitch-Outs
Not only does this slow the game down – which is why crowds boo – we actually want more base-stealing. It’s exciting! The game was better when Ricky Henderson and Vince Coleman were swiping over 100 bases a year. Give runners a set distance for lead-offs, and force them to face the catcher before taking off.
Two Foul Tips Takes A Strike Off
That’s right. If, with two strikes on a batter, the batter fouls off two pitches, he goes back to Strike One. If he fouls off another, it’s Strike Zero. If he fouls off a fifth pitch, it’s a Base On Balls. Think about it, it’s great. If you like scoring.
Limit Pitcher Substitutions
Enough! with taking out one pitcher because the batter’s a leftie, then taking THAT guy out because the next guy is a rightie. Enough with each team using a hundred and eight pitchers per game. Are you a relief pitcher? The inning – the whole rest of the inning – is yours.
Limit Mound Visits
Once per pitcher ought to be enough. Zero would be even better. Baseball allows hand signals. Use ’em. Has the pitcher forgotten them? Good luck this half – inning!
Mic The Mitt
When you’re in the stands, you don’t really ‘get’ just what a phenomenom a Stephen Strasbourg fastball really is. Let’s hear that POP sing out across the stadium. A 95 mph fastball shouldn’t sound like an 87 mph curve, and a 102 mph fastball shouldn’t sound like a 95 mph fastball.
Mic The Players
Remember Satchel Paige? He was FUN. Make baseball more like Negro League Baseball. Let’s have banter between the pitcher and the crowd. Between the pitcher and the hitter. Entertain us! Be a little bit WWE. A little less respectable. Today’s bigger stadiums means you’d have to mic them.
Tied After 9? Home Run Derby!
No more with the 12, 15 inning games. If you’re tied up after 9 innings, settle it with a Home Run Derby. Organize it however you like. Just as long as lots of baseballs are leaving the yard.