Someone once said that baseball is 90% anticipation. This is true. Baseball is 90% anticipation and 10% going to the kitchen to get another beer (unless you’re actually at the game where it’s 63% anticipation and 37% waiting for a urinal to open up). The last time I watched a game on TV it took twenty minutes for a batter to just put the ball in play. He grounded out. This is not entertaining. And this is why I have come up with a few suggestions as to how to make baseball good:
1) Expand the field of play from a 90-degree angle to a 360-degree angle. Every foul ball now becomes an action packed happening as opposed to a cue for the hapless trombone wa-wa-wa-wa-wa motif.
2) Have the umpire calling balls and strikes stand behind the pitcher instead of the home plate-obscuring catcher so he can see where the ball ended up. Duh. This innovation will prevent strikes from being called on the “outside corner” for balls that an orangutan couldn’t reach with a row boat oar. It will also greatly decrease the times the umpire is uncertain if the pitch was a ball or a strike and consequently have to ask the opposing team’s catcher for their opinion.
3) Make the outcome of each game ten times as important by shortening the season from 162 games to 16 games so that when your team wins a game it will actually cause you to experience an emotion greater than the one you get when you flick the hall light switch and–to your pleasure–the light goes on.
4) Allow batters to wear Kevlar body armor and a motorcycle helmet. This is a pastoral game played in a park; a player shouldn’t have to prove their courage and manhood with their face. Either that or use a rubber ball. And if you switch to a rubber ball get rid of all those stupid aluminum bats that college teams use. Dink, dink, dink–this is not an appropriate noise for a man to make.
5) No outfielders.
Stepping aside from the pro game for a moment, I would like to voice my displeasure at the Little League World Series rule that stipulates the championship game of any given year has to be played between Broomstick, Indiana and the People’s Republic of China. We’re getting a raw deal here and I would like somebody to do something about it.
Now for some ways to improve other sports:
With football we’ve tried to create all the fun of the Roman Coliseum and dang if we haven’t come pretty close given the degree of violence and season ending injuries that occur on the first play of any game on opening day. It’s impossible to make this “baseball pastoral”, so I say we quit pussy footing around and go all the way by allowing actual animals to partake in the game. These animals would be restricted, however, to the nicknames of each respective team. For example, Chicago would be allowed to replace all their linemen with actual bears. Detroit–lions. Philadelphia could use real eagles as cornerbacks and thus greatly increase their capacity for interceptions. Miami would be able to employ tanks of dolphins along their sidelines who would stick their heads up and laugh at the opposing players, thus lessening the opposition’s self-esteem. And the Arizona Cardinals could use cardinals in whatever capacity they see fit for the purpose of finishing last in the division.
I have to admit, I don’t really understand the rules of hockey and quite frankly as far as I can tell there aren’t any other than the players are prohibited from bringing firearms onto the ice. But one way hockey could be greatly improved would be by not broadcasting the game on the radio. Should the opportunity arise to broadcast a hockey game on the radio, I advise the station manager choose instead a rebroadcast of the Mercury Theater’s 1939 production of War Of The Worlds featuring Orson Welles. Or two hours of static. If you’ve not had a chance to listen to a hockey game on the radio, this is what you’re missing: “Chekhov feeds to Pushkin, Pushkin to Kerrigan, back to Chekhov, checked by Harding, back to Pushkin, Pushkin is pushed, back to Kerrigan, up to the blue line, now the red line, the ten, the twenty, do I hear thirty, man in the back, Jimmy cracked corn, Harding steals, Kerrigan checks, three on two, now two on three, if six was nine, Kalamazoo, over to Chekhov, back to Wilde, Queen Elizabeth, I have a daughter named Amy, GOAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
Yeah, but for who?
No goal tender. And an eighty-foot wide net.
It’s hard to come up with a way to make the Olympics better, but if I had to propose a suggestion I would say that instead of having them once every four years, we don’t have them at all. The Olympics are not sports; they are hobbies. If you’re the best skier in America, then you’ve been practicing skiing too much. And along similar lines, for the benefit of both young readers and their parents, I would like to point out that the X-Games are not sports either. Skateboarding is not a sport. It’s also not a hobby, and it’s not an art. It’s an alternative to smoking marijuana.
While you may not agree with all my ideas for improving sports, even though you should, there’s certainly one thing we can all agree on: professional athletes get paid an obscene amount of money. Way more than the guy who invented penicillin (Ian Fleming). And tickets cost the same as a washing machine, but shouldn’t. Since virtually all of the pleasure from attending a sporting event is derived from your team winning, I propose the following rule be put in effect for all team sports: If the home team loses, everybody gets their money back. Go team!