Categorized | Mark Timmons

It’s past time to change the grand old game

Chicks dig the long-ball.  We all know that.  Offense sells tickets, but defense and pitching win Championships.  Baseball ‘s appeal may never be greater than it is right now, but I am going to suggest that a large part of that appeal is from the baby-boomers – guys like me who grew up when baseball was part of the fabric of society and we only had 3 or 4 channels to watch on TV.

Times have changed.  Lack of availability of steroids appear to be having an impact upon the longevity of older players.  The game is slow and plodding (yeah I get all the strategy), but it needs to speed up.  Replay is absolutely necessary when the game hinges on inches.  It way past time to change the Grand Old Game and I have six (6) suggestions:

  1. Expand the use of the Designated Hitter – Of course, I mean to the NL as well as the AL, but I want to expand it even more.  I suggest that each team can designate a hitter to be their DH and he can hit up to 4 times during a 9-inning game, but he does not occupy a position.  He can pinch hit for any hitter ay any time, but if he hits for any hitter 3 times, that hitter, or pitcher has to come out of the game.  So, Hanley Ramirez could hit for the 2nd baseman in the first inning, AJ Ellis in the 3rd inning and the pitcher in the 5th and 7th inning, but he can only hit 4 times during a regulation game, so you might have to save his final AB until the 9th inning.  In extra innings, he can hit each inning.  This woud  bring a lot excitement back to the  game and keep aging start around longer.
  2. Institute a Designated Runner – Guys like Billy Hamilton and Dee Gordon may not ever hit enough to be an everyday player, but their feet could really excite the fans.  Same deal as the DH.  The DR can substitute 4 times during a regular season game.  For instance, maybe Andre Ethier can’t run, but can hit.  Dee Gordon can run for him 4 times a game and he doesn’t have to come out.  Purists are going to hate this, but you have to admit it would be exciting.
  3. Fifteen-Seconds Between Pitches – If the pitcher doesn’t throw it, within 15 seconds, it’s a ball and if the hitter isn’t ready, it’s a strike.  Yes, I know many of you don’t like it, but this generation doesn’t like sports that take a long time.  Witness the success of the NFL.
  4. Pitchers can throw to a base only twice – If they throw a third time without getting the runner, the runner is awarded the next base.  Speed up the game!
  5. Laser the strike zone – Let the Umpires call balls and strikes, but allow 5 appeals per game by the laser.  It’s instantaneous.    Get the call right in key situations.  Tennis uses laser technology – baseball can too.
  6. Expand Instant Replay – Phantom double plays, false calls at 1B, botched positioning and the like all cause games to depend upon critical calls.  People don’t like injustice.  See that justice is served.

That’s my plan to save and re-rejuvenate baseball.  I think it would work.  I’m ready to get castigated by the old-timers.  It’s OK – I just want the game to move into the 21st Century.  It’s the game I love.

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About Mark Timmons

When you see the invisible, you can do the impossible!

29 Responses to “It’s past time to change the grand old game”

  1. Badger says:

    Man, you threw that box in the bond fire didn’t you.

    1. Ok by me. The DH part. The rest of that will never happen.

    2. Limited number for the same runner. This ain’t Little League.

    3. Ok by me.

    4. Won’t work. Eliminate the pitcher having to stop.

    5. Yes

    6. Yes

    Things need to change some, but you have to do some of these things over time. Replay now. No balk rule now. And I would allow altered bats. Still wood, but cork ‘em up. Give pitchers goalie masks, Kevlar uniforms and teach them to finish in a fielding position with their gloves up.

  2. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    Mark, maybe you saw Tom Verducci’s idea for a bonus a bonus at bat.

    http://wapc.mlb.com/play/?topic_id=7417714&content_id=31208893

    I’m an oldtimer, and I have no problem with changes. I could probably get used to anything.

    DH is probably coming to the NL, and the rest sounds like something like Tom Verducci’s bonus at bat, though not exactly. Alright with this oldtimer.

    Designated runner. OK, but not 4 times.

    15 or 20 seconds between pitches is OK with me.

    Badger is right about #4. Eliminate the stop and it might work. And perhaps allow a limit somewhere between 3-5.

    Lasering the srike zone is fine with me, especially given all the bad calls I saw this past season.

    Definitely expand instant replay.

    And if all or most of this stuff was adopted, it should probably not be all at once.

    Sorry Mark. This oldtimer believes in progress, and has no problems with changes. So no, I’m not going to castigate you.

    • Badger says:

      David Wright.

      The only way Ethier goes there is in a 3 way to land us somebody that helps next year. They won’t deal Snyderguard for Ethier (and I would keep him) but go down their list a bit and there may be enough pieces, along with a few of ours, to land Price.

      I see that guy likes Peralta too. Why don’t we sign him for 3b and go ahead and let them have Ethier for the pieces to land Price. Improve the bench and we’re done.

  3. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    Upcoming:

    GM Meetings – Nov 11 – 13

    Owners Meetings – Nov 13 – 14

  4. Roger Dodger says:

    Mark, your #6

    Expand Instant Replay – Phantom double plays, false calls at 1B, botched positioning and the like all cause games to depend upon critical calls. People don’t like injustice. See that justice is served.

    Last night on the MLB channel — they discussed the instant replay for next season and support it (but it is their network) — and said those in the area plays on the bases and I would add home plate tags — will have to be made now (not just being close to tagging a guy out) because the camera angles will show what really happened.

    This will make better ball players, making those plays, or they will be safe. Innings will change. But the fans will love it.

    Being a progressive liberal — I would welcome some of the changes Mark and other suggest. Like this batting glove re-adjusting. So make a glove that is snug and does not have to be adjusted.

    Bring in the DH. Love it or hate it, it give the game a boost.

    Other things will come up.

    Hey old timers, remember when fielders left their gloves on the field? How about going “back” to that old tradition. For me, no thanks. Blue, red, green gloves all over the field as big as the grand canyon.

  5. Quasimodo says:

    Wow, pass me the pipe. Or maybe I’ve had the pipe passed to me too often in my past. Sure, the game is slow when your team sucks night after night. I’m not a chick and really don’t care if chicks are attracted to the sport. MMA is big at the moment but I’d lay a bet that it’ll start falling. But I’d of laid a bet 20 years ago that ‘rap music’ couldn’t last into this century. But that monster didn’t die, so what do I know? Maybe I’d be able to come to appreciate all those changes but I’d rather see them come one at a time. I know I’ll welcome instant replay because the umpires are at more of a disadvantage than we TV viewers are. And that goes with the strike zone as well. Baseball has evolved to speed things up from the old days – foul balls once were not counted as 1st and 2nd strikes. But that was in the days before any of us here. Dodgers probably have the best hitting pitchers in the game, so I’m not ready for the NL to jump into DH’s yet. Sorry friends, I haven’t been very good at forming sentences lately. Might be the meds I’m taking.

  6. Quasimodo says:

    The more I think about drastic changes to make baseball more attractive to the youth the more I can find to be against those changes. I’m not on the business end of the game so why should I care if the young has whatever interests as I do? The youth thinks the term ‘pimp’ is a good thing and throw it around as a compliment. We’re from an era where that term is an insult. I really like the structure of baseball. Other than boxing I’m not attracted to sports because of the pace. And even most boxing matches are boring. But just sometimes a boxing match is pure excitement, and the same goes with some baseball games. I don’t want juiced balls, bats or players. And I don’t think that anybody here honestly does either. There’s a reason why Mark’s site is so special to us. Baseball is a fine game.

  7. Jae says:

    A fine game is like a fine dame.

  8. Badger says:

    So, you don’t like ANY of the changes mentioned?

  9. Jae says:

    Badger,

    They are long overdue. A fine dame ages and needs a facelift. So does baseball. I am all for it.

  10. Jimbo says:

    1) I can see the DH coming to the NL but not the other part of it.
    2) I would be ok with this but have a tweak to it. In the softball league I play in we can use a courtesy runner. The courtesy runner is the person who made the previous out. So, Hanley pops out to left and gonzo singles. Here comes Hanley to run.
    3) Agree
    4) Agree
    5) Agree
    6) Agree. I think they need to use a 5th umpire in a both or have officials in 1 or 2 central locations so the game umps don’t need to leave the field. Just have them go to one of the dugouts to get told the ruling.

    As for the Mets trade article – does anyone think Tampa would take Ethier and prospects if we paid half his salary as opposed to trading him for prospects to then flip to Tampa. Of all the moves/ideas I’ve heard so far this off-season trading for Price is one of the few I don’t like.

  11. Roger Dodger says:

    It has been said on this board — maybe Kemp is a near future A.L. DH guy. Maybe trade him to the A.L. soon and forget him.

    OK, so maybe the N.L. does adopt the DH in a year or so — Kemp just might be a great DH for 5 or 6 or 7 years. Or AGon in a year or so. Or do you want to throw Schu or Hairston or Sellers in a DH slot!

    Yeah, it is nice to have one or two pitchers get a few hits in the season. But we pay them to pitch and not stand up there for 95 to 100 mph fast balls to dodge and run the bases, etc.

    Gee, any remember when Charles Finley tried the running game back with the A’s in the World Series years ago . . .

  12. Badger says:

    Designated runner makes more sense to me. You can use 1 guy a limited number if times. If he stays in the game, that’s it.

    I like the idea of a DH for us because our 30 year old studs appear to be fragile.

    I like the idea of a 15 second clock. The 24 second clock changed basketball for the better.

    Replays have to be incorporated. The umpire union will fight that hammer and tong, but t.s. Those guys have already been exposed.

    Having said all that, MLB has shown themselves to be slow to change. The money has been too good to f with.

  13. Idaho al says:

    You are thinking outside the box Mark. I am older and do not like to see baseball change very much. I like 2 and 3. The designated runner would add excitement to the game. I get so mad at some pitchers. I am usually saying “throw the dam ball.” I love to watch pitchers who get the ball and throw it.

    I would add one more. The batter cannot re-adjust his batting gloves between pitches. A lot of batters do it on each pitch. Stay in the batters box and hit the dam ball.

  14. Quasimodo says:

    I like 5 & 6. I don’t want 1 or 2. I don’t think 3 or 4 could work. With #3 the catcher wouldn’t be allowed to make any trips to the mound for private talk with the pitcher and it would also bring new strategy for opposing teams to make certain the pitcher gets distracted. And with #4 I just think it wouldn’t work for too many reasons.

  15. Bobbie17 says:

    The game is bigger than the fans. No changes are necessary. Replay is for the video gamers, not for the fans. Alleged injustice is great for the media so that it can spend three days talking about it. Any publicity is good publicity, isn’t it? I would vote for elimination of the DH altogether. I have said this before: the vast majority of the live gate is 25-35 year olds. Please do not make the game a video game. There are too many cartoons already. It is bad enough that the HD tvs give the game a cartoonish look.

  16. Badger says:

    High def tv’s give baseball a cartoonish look?

    I love my high def tv. But then, I am a fan of a good cartoon. I like Bugs, Daffy, Goofy and the Roadrunner.

    I have no idea about gate numbers but I can tell you the median age of the folks in the best box seats in Arizona has to be 50. Can’t tell about the cheap seats. I don’t go out there or up there anymore. Too dangerous. That’s where the mean drunks reside.

  17. jerry says:

    i like rules 1 and 2.

  18. DodgerDude says:

    I would say the average fan age in every baseball game is over 50. I see fewer young fans every year.

  19. jerry says:

    as for me ..i dont care how long the game is. if i am paying to go to the game …it seem to me when you at the game ..time goes by fast ..but it drags when your watching on tv..hope some of you agree

  20. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    Looks like there is going to be a delay in posting. I wonder if that could delay some of the significant free agent signings, especially for teams that might do one or the other, but no both (i.e., sign expensive free agents or bid on Tanaka).

    http://nypost.com/2013/11/07/mlb-yankees-other-teams-cant-talk-to-tanaka-yet/

  21. Gonzo says:

    I think that a manager should have:

    3 challenges per gam like in football

    If you make the umps stop the game and you’re wrong you lose one challenge.

    Close plays at the plate like should be reviewed automatically by a fourth umpire upstairs

    Phantom tags or base touches on defense are part of the game and there still needs to be a certain human element.

    I say no to the DH in the NL an or the designated pinch runner. This is the pros and strategy by a manager has a lot to factor. I’d like a laser system to record each pitch and the league grade umpires for inconsistencies. Do we have to remember the horrible balls and strikes called against the Dodgers in the NLCS? If Umps were evaluated on a monthly bases and given a sense of urgency to be consistent it would improve the game.

    Finally borrowing from Mark’s idea a 10-15 second clock between pitches to have both the batter and pitcher not waste time up there. If the batter isn’t in the box strike one. If the pitcher doesn’t pitch ball one.

  22. Bobby says:

    Ken Rosenthal reporting that we are listening to trade offers for all 3 of Crawford, Ethier, AND Kemp

    Be interesting if/when something materializes.

  23. jerry says:

    what really slow the game down …is to bring in a pitcher for one batter ..then bring another one in for a different batter…the closer pitch to both left hander and right hander.that why i like the old school..a pitcher should be able to pitch to both side of the plate.

  24. Badger says:

    Not all that sure MLB wants to speed up the game. The more breaks they have the more commercial time they can sell.

    “This is the pros and strategy by a manager has a lot to factor” Gonzo

    That is true in one league. Not so much in the other.

  25. Pgunn says:

    One of baseball’s supposed problems is that the games doesn’t have the type of bells and whistles that football and basketball have. Football is a weekly event, propped up by gambling, parties and a reverence of displays of manhood. Basketball is a cool, hip process, where you feel like you’re at some hot new club that everyone’s going to and being a part of.

    Chasing the young demo is chasing fools gold, because they won’t be committed. I don’t think they will stay with game unless they can relate to it You can’t party 81 games a year and you would be trying to outdo yourself in trying to get people to come.

    You’re going to have to market the stars better. You have to give the casual fan a chance to care, since they want to be spoon fed on who to care about. Add a little drama and a little sex appeal. Just like a TV show, a movie or popular music.

    Another thing is to lower ticket prices. This takes the competition aspect out of the picture. If I had disposable income, why should I save to go to a football game once a year or a basketball game twice a year, when I can take that money and go to a baseball game 10 times a year?

    Instead changing the game on the field, work to change the approaches off the field first.

  26. Pgunn says:

    As for MM’s changes ( which I always like, whether I agree or disagree):

    No to One 1 and 2. It’s too much specialization as exists now. In football, hoops and hockey, you see the athletic talents along with the skills the athletes have. With baseball, they talk about the skill, but not the talent as much. We should have more Mike Trouts, guys that can do a few games.

    The disadvantage is that baseball relies on its stats. And stat analysis has reached new levels. But, the analysts base a lot of their work on economic principles. One of the greatest principles is the principle of competitive advantage. That it is better to specialize in one thing and try to do well than to seek payers that can do many things well.
    Ironically, the stat guys love Trout and think he’s the MVP rather that Cabrera who hits and hits. Trout stands out, but I think the sport is better if you have more Trouts. Just like in the 50′s and 60′s when you had Mays, Aaron, Clemente, FRobby, Mantle, Drysdale, Gibson, etc.

  27. Pgunn says:

    3. That’s fine.Batters should stay in the box, you now have Little Leaguers stepping out of the box . Pitchers don’t need to walk around on the mound; if you can’t doctor a ball within 5 seconds, don’t do it!

    Besides, I thought they had this rule in the books. Umps, start enforcing!

    4. Not being able to throw over but twice means you won’t be able to hold runners on, which would give pitchers and catchers a nervous breakdown. You might as well give Hamilton 3B.

    5. It would speed the game, because batters will swing more. But, no one’s going to buy it. What happens when a player swears that the laser strike zones is different at Fenway that at Yankee Stadium?

    6. OK

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