Tuesday, May 03, 2022

And now... a rebuttal

Never let it be said I don't post opposing views.  Someone who just listed himself as a fan, "Rickey Branch," offers this rebuttal to yesterday's post asking what I would do if I were the commissioner of baseball and had complete latitude to do anything.  He addresses my suggestions point by point.  Perhaps one way to read this is as a satire on trolls. 

I would be a hard-ass commissioner probably hated by both owners and players.  But so be it.  

First, I would institute a pitch clock immediately.  It’s working in the minors and shaving an average of 25 minutes off of game times.  14 seconds with bases empty, 18 with a man on base.  Not in the box ready to hit?  It’s a strike.  Not delivering a pitch on time?  It’s a ball.  It'll take a couple of weeks for everyone to get used to then the game will hum right along.

Baseball is a timeless game, you millenial.  Nobody ever told Gabby Hartnett when to get in the box.  Blue Moon Odom pitched when he wanted to pitch.  If you don't like it, drive around your neighborhood and collect Pokemon in your Tesla.

I’d eliminate walk-up music.  That’s horseshit.  Get up there and hit.  

While we're at it, let's just go ahead and ban players from talking.  And the crowd has to root with only hand gestures.  And instead of selling scorecards at the front gate, for a dollar-fifty we'll give you a guide to the Dewey Decimal System.  Enjoy the library.

Eliminate the shift.  Since hitters are too obsessed with hitting home runs that they still try to hit into the shift, I’d eliminate it.  The better solution is for hitters to hit the ball where the fielders aren’t but they’re too stupid or too in love with hitting home runs to do that.  So I'd eliminate it.  (Next year it is supposed to be eliminated.)

When you play Uno, do you take out all the Draw Fours because they make the game too hard?  Pretty clear you've flipped over a Risk board or six in your life.

Reinstate a balanced schedule (which they are also doing next year).   I’m sick of seeing 19 fucking Yankee-Red Sox games.  It’s also not fair currently that some teams draw weaker divisions for interleague play.  

So there is someone who's been clamoring for a yearly Marlins-Orioles series.  Can't wait to see what they name the trophy.  The Air and Water Goblet?  Asking for more of these games is like that time when UConn coach Bob Diaco tried to start a rivalry with Central Florida in college football.  He got fired in 2016 and he's still one of the sport's most hilarious punchlines.

Eliminate ridiculous 11:30 in the morning games for the sake of a TV deal.  And if a game is on a streaming service only like Apple +, they have to be made available to the featured teams home markets via over-the-air free channels so that local fans who don’t pay for subscription services can watch the games.  This is what they do in the NFL.   Games on Amazon will be available in the home markets of the competing teams.   The idea is to increase the fan base not reduce it to those who have disposable money.

These games will be glorious television productions.  There is nothing more splendid than breakfast and baseball.

In the All-Star Game, teams will go back to wearing their own uniforms.  And the game will be before the home run hitting contest.  By the time the game airs now nobody cares.

Some of us REAL fans have a closetful of All-Star jerseys.  They are neatly pressed and hang right next to my Turn Ahead the Clock collection.  The Mercury Mets are the future of our game. 

There will be fewer playoff games, not more.  When too many teams can make the playoffs the regular season becomes meaningless — ala the NBA.   And by the time you get to the World Series fans are burned out on playoff games.  

The ideal playoff system is substantially more playoff games.  Starting in the beginning of August, the team with the worst record in the league should begin a series with the 29th-best team.  Then, the winner of that plays the 28th-place team.  Make the entire late summer out of playoffs, just like they should make entire planes out of black box.  I once heard a guy say they could do that.

No more day-night doubleheaders where you’re charged separate admissions.  It’s grueling for the players and greedy on the part of the owners.

Agreed.  And we won't have fans pay for hot dogs.  Or tickets.  And the players will all hitchhike to games.  Money doesn't grow on publicly-funded trees, ya know.

No more phantom runners on second base to start extra innings.

These are real people with real feelings.  Saying they don't exist is heartless.  Jeez.

No more seven-inning doubleheader games ever.  

I hope the nurses are treating you well in post-op after your "Spirit of the Game" lobotomy.  Halfway up the page we need a pitch clock.  Now, you've gone full secular baseball zealot and need 9 innings to be fulfilled.  Do you eat with both sides of your mouth, too?

Incompetent umpires like Angel Hernandez and C.B. Buckner would be fired.

And replaced by who?  Have you seen the strike zones from decades past?  Even the worst MLB umpire right now is better than some of the expando-zones from before.

Starting pitchers have to go 7 innings to get a win, not 5.  You’re paying your ace hundreds of millions?  Let him earn his 20 wins a season, not pitch 5 innings while a parade of flamethrowers take over.  

Nobody will ever win.  Just like if you're elected commissioner.

Unvaccinated players don’t play, and don’t get paid for missing games.  It’s still a personal choice.  You choose to let your teammates down and lose millions of dollars.  Same goes for announcers.


One challenge a game, per team.  You lose the challenge, you don’t get to challenge the next game.  

Fire all the umpires and also kneecap replay.  Cool.  Let's just have the players call their own balls and strikes, too.  Anarchist.

No larger bases.  That’s absurd.

So is getting rid of those beautiful All-Star jerseys.

If every team uses the same analytics to hold down the cost of free agents I would take it to court as a form of collusion.

I was wrong.  You're not an anarchist.  You're an anti-intellectualist.  Do you do an annual burning of the Baseball Prospectus?

World Series games start at 7:30 pm in the east during the week and 3:00 pm on the weekends.  Yes, weekend World Series games are in the daytime.  Kids can see the end of games.  They're not over at midnight.  Again, increase the fan base.  Networks will benefit when baseball is more popular again.

Sounds great.  World Series games in the middle of Patriots-Cowboys will draw as well as reruns of The Hogan Family after Valerie Harper left.

All franchises would have to set aside some money to build baseball fields in inner cities or poor communities to encourage young people to play baseball.  It's a travesty that there are not more Aftrican-American baseball players.

This is a great idea, but they'll have no money left when you crater the TV ratings.

All franchises would have to make available an acceptable number of reduced price seats so families can attend ballgames without it costing them a fortune.  This is an investment in the game’s future.

I was wrong again.  You're not against intellectualism.  You're a communist.

I'd increase the number of minor league teams.  More fans around the country will see baseball, and it makes it harder to make the majors.  So the quality of play in the majors will improve.

More Monday games with announced attendance of 852!

If a team charges an outrageous amount for parking, they also have to provide free shuttle service from public transportation.  No exceptions.

Next thing you're going to ask--and don't say you aren't--is that each
team builds its own light rail system to deliver fans right to the door of the ballpark. 

And my long-range plan would be to find a way to change the broadcast rights so a team like the Dodgers can’t command a billion dollars for TV rights while division rival Padres are lucky to get a TV deal at all.  There is parity in the NFL because Green Bay and Cincinnati make as much in TV revenue as the Rams and Giants.

That would directly affect the livelihoods of so many talented, creative, and clever announcers like the great Joe Davis.  How dare you.

And these would just be my first steps.  You could see why I’d be hated.  But I bet the fans would like me.  And isn't it about time they were taken into consideration for once?

In reality, the author of this piece is a great baseball fan and a first class wit.  He asked if he could present opposing views and I happily said sure.   Thank you, "Rickey Branch." 


AlaskaRay said...

I guess, if you’re a millennial, that would make me one, too. I’ll take it!

BillS said...

"I'd increase the number of minor league teams. ... it makes it harder to make the majors. So the quality of play in the majors will improve."
I don't understand how this works.

Katana said...

Why bring Sandy Duncan into this?

Mike Barer said...

I totally agree with the elimination of the runner on 2nd in extra innings. Most of the changes in baseball have made it worse. Definitely against adding a timeclock. I am in favor of interleague play on the bases of getting fans in Seattle and other smaller markets a chance to see teams that are not in the league.

Mike Chimeri said...

Thank you to the man behind "Rickey Branch" for your satire on trolls. I was ready to think it was a real commenter, but each rebuttal was more surreal than the last.

I have a legitimate rebuttal in the form of an amendment on my original comment yesterday.
1) Many comments in the thread sold me on the merits of the shift.
2) I missed the part in your post about fewer playoff games. I like Jeff Boice's idea of going back to a 154-game regular season, but with the playoff expansion that starts this season. Eight teams per league is my expansion limit.
3) I'd also see that AAA teams are only affiliated with a geographically close MLB team. I didn't like when the Las Vegas 51s affiliated with the Mets. Imagine if the Charlotte Knights were the Dodgers' AAA team.

-dsr- said...

"Money doesn't grow on publicly-funded trees, ya know."

That's how the Federal Reserve Banks print money, actually.

In a less literal sense, the stadiums and parking lots for basically every major sport represents a mind-bogglingly huge gift of public money to both the sports and to private teams.

VincentP said...

I simply want to see Juan Soto play his entire 20-year-plus MLB career in a Washington Nationals uniform and become D.C.'s statue-worthy equivalent of Mike Schmidt (Phillies) or Tony Gwynn (Padres). After putting up with Calvin Griffith and Bob Short, both of whom took our teams out of town, is that too much to ask?

Kaleberg said...

Great! Thanks to both of you! Works for baseball. Works for trolls.

Home Run said...

David Isaacs wrote this? Whoever wrote it, it's hilarious.

Tim Danger Cabeen said...

As commissioner the first thing I would do is get rid of the blackout TV rules. I live in Indianapolis and I'm a Pittsburgh Pirates fan (yes, you read that right). I don't get to see any Pirates game when they play the Cubs, White Sox, or Reds. Chicago is 3 hrs from me and Cincy is two hours. What are they losing by allowing me to watch the game on TV?

David B said...

By increasing the number of minor league teams you’d also increase the amount of competitive players available to move up to the MLB. Basically increasing the amount of cream at the top. You’d have more players vying for the same number of spots in the MLB and the MLB teams could be more selective the .

maxdebryn said...

I see baseball as a good nap, ruined. Yes, I fell asleep at a Blue Jays game.

Fred said...

To reverse the worst baseball slide not involving a spiked groin — and to embrace the inevitable — MLB should institute a reality television/Larry Sanders approach, with games shown only in brief edited film highlights, inserted between the lengthy off-the-diamond backstories of the handsomest players

Mitch said...

Rickey should have his own blog. You should give him yours...immediately.

Mitch said...

I'm confused, which are you? anarchist, zealot, crazy, unamerican, anti-intellectualist, or communist?
Are you a robot?

Steve Lanzi f/k/a qdpsteve said...

And another thing: that baseball is way too big and easy to hit!
Pitch a *golf* ball at 'em instead!! Make 'em EARN those millions!!

Mike Bloodworth said...

Yesterday's and today's blogs might have more significance to me if I gave a damn about baseball. But they are like the horn sounds they use for the adults voices in the "Charlie Brown" cartoons. "Wah waa wa whaa wha!"

Oh well, football is only a few months away.


Anonymous said...

@Tim Danger Cabeen. I live in Iowa. Chicago is three hours away from me. Milwaukee and St. Louis are four hours away. Minneapolis and Kansas City are six hours away. All of their games are blacked out for the entire state. I think I could buy cable packages for the Chicago teams but not any of the others.

Jahn Ghalt said...

As "vice-commish" I would amend the commish's plan:


Any little-league coach knows what to do when out of pitchers - bring in your outfielder with the strongest arm. Put the last pitcher in right-field and move the others.

If managers knew the no-draw rule, they might resist the nonsense that every fan should be appeased by seeing their guy in the game. Just being named an All-Star is an immense honor.

And what's wrong with a slugfest, anyway? It would be a kick for any fielder to pitch in an ASG.


I would ban video-review by managers. Make him see the play once (like the umps) and decide. 99% of the time the runner knows if he was out, anyway. He could signal his manager.

Jahn Ghalt said...

Who let that football guy in here?

Doesn't he know that football is a twelve-month sport?

Do as I say, don't do as I do said...

I'm shocked that the Supreme Court might overturn Roe v Wade. It's so unfair on Republican politicians who get their mistresses/hookers/daughters pregnant. They would have to pay for their lovers to cross state lines to where it's legal.

Won't someone please think of the adulterous hypocritical Republicans??!

Jahn Ghalt said...

The "more double-headers" idea looks good to me.

But not "every Saturday" - maybe only 12-16.

Dana King said...

I only read the first of his replies. that was enough. Gabby Hartnett DID have to get in the box and hit; irt was getting dark. Just because there was no clock doesn;t mean they didn't keep the game moving. Remember,. Game 7 of the 1960 World Series (won by Pittsburgh 10-9) took only 2:36.

ventucky said...

Joe Davis is simply a new version of Joe Buck. He also sucks. Whenever the count is 2-2, which it is quite a lot, he sounds like he is spitting chewing tobacco. Orsillo and Mud. The best in the game these days.

Kevin from VA said...

Ken Levine AKA "Rickey Branch"

Very much enjoyed both yesterday and todays postings but have you ever seen the movie "Fight Club"?

Big Ray said...

Los Angeles is in a world of hurt when it comes to play-by-play announcers. Joe Davis? I can only stand so much of the guy before muting the TV or changing the channel. If endless, ridiculous statistics are your thing, he's your guy. And how did Patrick O'Neal get the play-by-play job with the Angels? I just don't get it...

ScarletNumber said...

@Mike Chimeri

With the reorganization of AAA, far-flung affiliates are mostly a thing of the past. With St Paul replacing Fresno, the geographic balance mostly matches MLB. Because there are 6 MLB teams in the Pacific Time Zone and and only 4 PCL teams, two teams have to go east for their AAA affiliate. Those are the two LA teams, with the Angels going to Salt Lake City and the Dodgers going to Oklahoma City.

In the International League, the only affiliation that is somewhat out of place is the White Sox affiliating with Charlotte.

JessyS said...

I am of the opinion that David Issacs wrote the rebuttal. Regardless, it was a good laugh.

@ Dana King, Two hours and thirty six minutes is a great time for a full MLB game. The only problem is that they only had 90 seconds of advertising at the end of every inning.

Today there is almost three minutes of advertising following every half-inning and every time they change pitchers. That is 54 minutes added onto the game. For Game 7 of the 1960 World Series, that was 13.5 minutes. A game with the final score of 10 to 9 would last upwards of five hours today. If FOX is airing game 4 of the World Series at 4 PM ET opposite of Cowboys vs Giants or Commanders at Eagles, it is likely that the NFL game will start after the MLB first pitch and end before the 7th inning.

Advertising is the actual elephant in the room and it is the main reason why ratings are down for almost everything. Yes football is up, but some people tend to record the start of an NFL game and then start watching on the DVR while fast forwarding through the advertisements and halftime show.

David Riche said...

Out of all the legitimate arguments against vax mandates, you had to choose the most wacko to allow for rebuttal. Since you keep bringing this up, I wonder if you'd like to give a fair rebuttal to a reasonable point. And keep in mind I'm not American, so the vaccine issue isn't political to me.

I am vaccinated. The great benefit of being vaccinated is that I do not have to worry about being hospitalized by a virus that I am bound to catch -- whether from someone who is vaccinated or not. Considering that the vaccines are far less effective against Omicron, and that the survival rate for healthy people of all ages is now virtually 100%, why would you insist that every athlete be vaccinated to play? Why stigmatize athletes who refuse the vaccine, given their survival is guaranteed anyway, and they likely carry post-infection immunity? Is the public strife and social divisions caused by mandates really worth it to you?

Again, I'm vaccinated, but mandates have not raised vaccination rates by any significant degree and have not dented the pandemic. Isn't it time we accepted the miracle of the protection the vaccines have given those who have chosen them and stop trying to tear apart the social fabric?

Mike Chimeri said...

Thank you, ScarletNumber.

Steven S. said...

How about a rule change that says you cannot bat yourself in for a run, i.e., you can only score a run if you get on base first and somebody else bats you in? Solo home run = out!). Home runs with men on base could be scored like a sacrifice. Grand slam = three runs. It might stop everybody from swinging for the fences every time at bat and bring back some more tactical hitting. Could work, right?

Jahn Ghalt said...

@David Riche

Ken may have been serious about at least some of his "what if" dictates. If he were really a smarter Bowie Kuhn - he'd withdraw some of them.

AND, he knows that the Player's Association would have something to say about his vax-mandate.

As one, who has "stood apart" from politics in America (I have no power - so regard politics as mostly entertainment - easier with a comfortable living and few "bad habits"), I have found much grim amusement watching the CoVid drama.

Sadly grim, because of the immense cost paid by the poor, marginalized, most vulnerable in America with nothing like a 'comfortable living'.

(they are still paying, BTW)

Amused, because many may inform their own behavior with relevant, readily-available, data - collected by CDC, NIH and others who are paid to study co-vid in the wild.

But if they speak to such studies/stats, and it crosses with press accounts, it becomes "political".

(back to standing apart)

Dave said...

As someone from another country, that was a lot of fun.

I've listened to a number of your podcasts and quite often I can see you setup the guest to give them a chance to say something funny and more often than I expected, they don't take it up. Which is a shame because someone like Lisa Edelstein leaned into it and it was even better than I expected because she had fun with you. Glad Ricky had fun with your baseball ideas.