Monday, March 11, 2013

Reforming Sports (Part 1 of Many)

The Party has announced that, after the Revolution, I will be appointed as Commissar of Sports. I humbly accede to the will of the People, as expressed through the Party, and I think it is appropriate that I tell all of you of the changes I intend to implement.

I will start with baseball, for no particular reason.

The DH
One of the hottest topics among fans is the designated hitter. To quote Rhett Butler, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” (I hope you don’t mind that I address you as ‘my dear’). The biggest problem with the DH is that the two leagues have different rules, which creates problems for interleague play and the World Series. Also the All-Star game, but nobody cares about that.

Although I have a mild preference for doing away with the DH, as I said, I don’t care all that much. So I may allow fans to hold a referendum on the issue, or alternatively we may just flip a coin.

Speeding up the Game
That’s not really the big problem, though. The big problem is that the game is slooooow. To some extent, the speed of the game is part of its allure, but the slowness is magnified unnecessarily by batters who think they’re playing clever mind games by repeatedly stepping out of the batter’s box, and by pitchers who do the same thing by shaking off multiple signs and by throwing to first base a hundred times.

This problem will be solved by requiring players to keep the game moving.  Batters will be given three seconds to get set after entering the box (regulated by a scoreboard clock). No more spending five minutes digging a hole with his cleats (which the next batter will spend forever refilling) and adjusting his helmet and his belt several times.

If the batter is not ready after three seconds, the umpire calls a strike.

After the batter is in the box and set, the pitcher will have five seconds to pitch. No more shaking off signs or re-landscaping the mound. If there is a runner, the pitcher can interrupt the five-second clock to throw to the base three times. After the third unsuccessful throw, the base umpire will allow the runner to take a lead equal to the biggest lead he had before, and the runner cannot take off until the pitcher begins his motion.

If the pitcher does not pitch within five seconds, the umpire calls a ball.

Another thing that slows down the game is managers who need to show off what geniuses they are by repeatedly changing pitchers. The new pitcher, of course, needs to dramatically walk slowly in from the bullpen and then take warm-up pitches even though he’s been warming up for fifteen minutes already.

We will allow one pitching change per inning and a maximum of three per game.

No on-field discussions of any kind will be allowed.

Other issues
  • If we keep the World Baseball Congress going, the top players will be required to play.
  • The strike zone will be called as it is written in the rule book. If umpires fail to call strikes properly, we will replace the plate umpire with a camera. Which might be a good idea anyway.
  • The union was of course once necessary because the Commissioner represented only the owners and the players were exploited. But the union has since become a hindrance to necessary reforms (especially regarding drugs, where they apparently are more worried about the drug users than the rest of the players). The Commissar of Sports (me) will appoint a Deputy Commissar of Baseball who will see to the interests of both sides – thus there will be no need for a Commissioner or a union. 

Posts to come: Football, Soccer, Basketball, and maybe Hockey if I decide it’s worth the time – otherwise I’ll just get rid of it. Boxing will probably be outlawed, and for sure we’ll be getting rid of ‘ultimate fighting’ and similar stuff. There will also be posts on topics that involve various sports (like steroids/HGH and other drugs, salary caps, etc) and also on college sports.


  1. I can see that you have put a lot more thought into this. Your plans were not this detailed before.

  2. Now that the time for the revolution is drawing near, I've had to get more detailed in my plans. The People expect no less!