Radical Baseball Wednesday, February 20, 2008
June 9, 2006 ...
6. Clock, time-outs, … you know, like the other sports.
Put in a damn clock! These four hour games are driving me crazy! I wouldn’t mind except there’s nothing happening. 90% of what passes for action is two guys playing catch. In a nine inning game there is at most 30 minutes of action and that includes the batter taking a pitch and the second baseman throwing out a runner. Make what little action there is continuous. Watch a basketball game to get the idea. Baseball is by far the simplest game. 70% of head coaches in the NFL never played in the NFL. 30% of head coaches in the NBA never played in the NBA. 10% of MLB managers never played MLB. That’s a pretty accurate reflection of the relative complexity of the sports. Football cannot leave the running of a team to some dumb former player. Basketball is about in between football and baseball. Only baseball entrusts a $100,000,000 to $200,000,000 payroll to a dumb tobacco dribbling former player. Why? Because baseball is simple. There are at least 10,000 twelve year old kids who know enough baseball to run a MLB team. I could run the Yankees. No way I could run the Knicks and I wouldn’t even think about running the football Giants.
So, why is baseball the only sport with no clock and with unlimited meetings? Give each team three time outs per nine innings, then one more for each additional three innings. No meetings other than the time outs. Do not stop play by calling time. A base runner does not need time out to dust off his uniform. Get in the box and stay there. Get on the rubber and throw. Once, just once, I’d like to see a meeting on the mound followed by the pitcher not looking in for a sign. He just talked to the catcher! Decide on the pitch in the discussion and just throw it!
A team could get a competitive advantage by changing the pace of the game. Only baseball teams do not attempt this. Twenty years ago the San Francisco 49’ers started games with their first 20 plays scripted; no huddle between plays. Baseball cannot do that for even one batter! How difficult can it be? Just start pitching without waiting for a sign!
Baseball has a twenty-second rule, which of course it never enforces, with no runners on base. It needs a twenty second rule with runners on base and a zero second rule with no runners. Just start throwing. If the batter is not in the box, too bad. If the batter wanders, call strikes. If the pitcher wanders, call balls. What passes for coaching is instructing both the batter and pitcher to make the other wait. Hey, you’re both making the fans wait.____________________________