Let me start by saying I miss you. After a long, cold winter (which isn’t over yet) filled with NFL greed, NBA disparity and and Little League race cards, I speak for mostly everyone when I say we’re ready for the game of failures to return. Failing 70% of the time breeds a different sort of character, and after several months of basketball and football stars making fools of themselves between games, the thought of a boring baseball interview makes my face tingle with modest excitement.
That said, I have some points I’d like to bring up before your pitchers and catchers start reporting to grapefruit groves and cactus fields.
Don’t you dare put a clock on my pitchers.
Just as nothing can travel faster than the speed of light, baseball is not a timed game. You can’t force a pitcher to throw his pitch. By doing this, you are creating throwers out of pitchers. You are spoiling something partly made pure by its lack of timing. Would you like me to force you to eat your 10oz Wagyu filet in three bites?
Speed the game up? Sure, but not by doing irreparable damage to the minds of young pitchers. Stick with your notion of keeping batters in the batter’s box. I think it’s safe to say fans would much rather see a pitcher get his 0-2 right than watch Jonny Gomes have four neurotic episodes per game.
Hold TV broadcasters to a standard.
Here are some prerequisites MLB clubs should require their television announcers meet:
- Not being a corpse.
- Not having died within the last 48 hours.
- Having personality that differs slightly from that of an igneous rock.
These aren’t heavy requirements. Part of the reason people dislike watching baseball on TV is because the typical broadcast team consists of a former player and a seasoned broadcaster, usually without chemistry, and always with long devastatingly awkward silences. There’s a reason people miss Harry Caray, and a reason people are Dodgers fans simply because of Vin Scully.
You can’t just plop some bodies behind microphones and expect them to entertain an increasingly ADD afflicted audience. So few teams have tolerable broadcasters, watching baseball takes a back seat to listening on the radio. Though, I’m biased. Baseball has always been a radio thing for me, thanks to Ernie Harwell. It’s in your best interest to encourage individual clubs to hire broadcasters with not only knowledge of the game, but the semblance of a personality. Baseball is an exciting game, and it doesn’t have to be ruined by former players clipping their fingernails, eating salads and detailing the games through their thinly veiled nostalgia.
My last gripe is for the National League.
How many more years will you force us to endure the automatic out. I get it — double switches add strategy to the game, but watching chicken-legged relievers flail at 85 mph fastballs and jog to first base wearing an oversized windbreaker is just not my idea of competitive sports. The joke has gone on long enough, and it’s not even a real joke. I might be more willing to watch a random beer-soaked, peanut-chomping fan from the bleachers don a helmet and bat ninth. At least that’s a real joke.
I don’t have any solutions to these problems; it’s up to baseball to fix their own problems, and by no means am I upset enough to stop watching. But I hope for the sake of the national pasttime that MLB begins to iron some of these kinks out before satire like this article from the Onion start to become a reality. “Last-Ever Baseball Fan Born“