How to make baseball somewhat more tolerable.

Baseball is my least favorite of the major sports, because it bores me the most. The seasons last far too long for my taste; knowing that there are 162 games over the course of a season takes a lot of drama out of the vast majority of them. The only games I’ll watch are the big games at the end of the season or in the playoffs—and even then I’ll probably only watch the elimination games—or the games in which something historic could happen. For instance, I watched when Cal Ripken, Jr. set the consecutive games record, and when Mark McGwirebroke Roger Maris’s record, and I’ve watched the last few games Barry Bonds has played in to see him catch Babe Ruth.

Furthermore, I think high-scoring baseball games are boring. Some people would agree because they love to see great pitching and defense, which means fewer runs. Not me; my complaint is that the high-scoring games last much longer than low-scoring games. It was nice to see the Cubbies break their eight-game losing streak last night, but that sixth inning went on forever. All nine batters got up; the Cubs scored five runs and put the game away. Great, but it just meant that the “already over” game was going on longer.

With relieving my boredom as my foremost concern, here are some suggestions for baseball, which would help speed the game up just a teency tiny little bit.

First, I think any foul ball on two strikes should count as the third strike, unless it would be the final out of the game. This would get batters out faster, get innings over with faster, and end games faster. I threw in the exception because I don’t want to see games end on foul balls; it would be too anticlimactic.

Second, I’d add a modified mercy rule by limiting the number of runs that can be scored per inning. Let’s say the limit is three runs. The games would be shorter because there’d be an upper limit on those agonizingly long, high-scoring innings I mentioned earlier. They’d also be shorter because as soon as one team built an insurmountable lead, the game is over.

In addition to the joy of shorter baseball games, my mercy rule might also make the games more dramatic because it would create more potentially game-winning moments. Say the Cubs are up to bat at the bottom of the seventh inning, with a 6-0 lead over the Giants. Under my rule, if they score one more run, they win. Can they do it? Well, it’s the Cubs, so probably not. It makes for a much more interesting seventh inning than usual, doesn’t it? Say they don’t do it—the Giants then have to score three runs in the top of the eighth to stay alive. Can they do it? Well, they’re playing the Cubs, so probably.

These rule changes will probably never come to pass, but they’d definitely make the game a lot more interesting to me. It would also make it marginally more difficult for the Cubs to blow big leads, try as they might.

2 Responses to “How to make baseball somewhat more tolerable.”

  1. Doctor Hmnahmna Says:
    May 12th, 2006 at 6:50 PM

You, sir, are obviously a Communist. You mean you can’t get into steroid balloons blasting 500 foot homers? Come on.

  1. aabrock Says:
    May 13th, 2006 at 7:55 PM

My preferred solutions (in order) for making baseball more interesting:

1) having a 16 game season plus 3 weeks for the playoffs
2) players sign with a team for life (i.e. no trades)
3) raise the pitcher’s mound back to 15″
4) enforce an actual strike zone (knees to armpits, not the upper-knee to lower-thigh strike zone of today)
5) no standalone games…every competition will be a doubleheader