Without further ado, here’s how you make young people like baseball. Manfred, you reading this? Good.
1) Shorten the season. No one likes watching the game degrade due to a cold snap in Milwaukee in November. Make the season 140 games and get it over with by early October.
2) Lengthen the playoffs. Playoff baseball rocks. April baseball sucks. Swap the two — it’s not that hard. Add another round in late August.
3) Shorten time between innings. Listen, in every other sport, they don’t warm up for 3 minutes before getting the ball back. Neither should baseball. I don’t need to see the first baseman throw lollipop ground balls to the infielders and they certainly don’t need the practice (they play every goddamn day). Get that -ish outta there. Play the game.
4) Eliminate the B.S. pickoff throws. Ya know what’s annoying to watch and doesn’t make the game any more fun? Throw-overs to first. The rule should be if you don’t catch get the runner snoozing, it counts as a ball. Plain and simple. It’d speed up the game, promote more base stealing which is exciting (Ricky Henderson, anyone?) and put more runs on the board. Win-win-win.
5) Limit the number of pitching substitutions. This gets tricky because players get hurt and sometimes must come out, but the rule should be three changes per game, and any change after that would require a field player to take the mound — everyone’s favorite part of baseball.
6) Lower the mound. More and more evidence is mounting that the current mound height is putting undue stress on pitchers who are already burning out trying to get a big contract by hitting 98 mph in the minors. Just lower the mound. It’ll make for more offense and save some pitchers’ careers.
7) Stop guaranteeing contracts. How many baseball players let up on the gas after getting a big contract? In football, you’ve got to earn your money every year. In baseball — the sport where it’s the easiest to mail it in because of the monotony of the season and the relatively snoozy pace of the game — general managers should have the ability to cut a guy for dogging it to first or, ya know, sucking. A-Rod, we’re looking at you.
8) Make a home run worth a billion runs*. Woo hoo!
*Don’t actually do that. A million is enough.