I am not a huge fan of Washington Nationals’ star Bryce Harper. (‘Cuz he’s not on my team; if he were on the Braves I’d probably be a huge fan).
But, I entirely agree with Harper’s ‘Make Baseball Fun Again’ concept.
During the offseason Harper told ESPN The Magazine that “baseball is tired… because you can’t express yourself.”
I love the Braves, but baseball is in some long-term cultural trouble. It slipped from the national pastime behind the NFL in the late 70s. It’s fallen again behind the NBA, and if it’s not careful MLS will drop MLB to fourth in importance in American pro sports.
Baseball needs a shot in the arm – which it had, literally, in the late 90s. Say what you want about PEDs but they fueled “Chick’s dig the long ball’ and the home-run fever that captured the attention of the country.
Big-league baseball needs that infusion again.
Here are five possible ways to change the game on a national level:
5. Bring the DH to the NL. This ‘different rules’ is silly; plus the DH does create more offense.
4. Really, truly speed the game up (not just the silly intentional walk rule change). Ninety seconds from last putout to first pitch in the next half inning seems good. Five warmup pitches for new pitchers into the game… come on… let’s go!
3. No mound visits. By anyone. Ever. Any mound visit should result in the pitcher being removed from the game. And once the batter steps into to the box he CAN NOT STEP OUT. If he steps out, he is out. Let’s go!
2. Consider something radical. Like strikeouts on a foul ball after two strikes. Force hitters to be aggressive early in the count.
1. And… bring the fences in. Let’s have a little home run derby. Why not 310 down the line… Centerfield, that is 360? Fenway is more fun because of its dimensions and angles.
Create more offense while speeding up the game would be a great thing.
The old-school statisticians be damned. Those folks would kill the game to protect their own history.