Look, baseball games are too long. That’s what everybody keeps saying, so it has to be true. They’re so long that Major League Baseball has put together a committee to figure out how to make them shorter. A committee! You know things are serious now. Baseball doesn’t mess around when it comes to their committees.
You’re going to read a number of articles over the next few weeks about how the game should be sped up and what baseball should do to make sure it happens. And chances are, most of those articles will have the same old boring suggestions. Well I’m here to think outside the box: if baseball really wants to speed things up, they should think that way too. So even though I’m not part of the committee, I hereby submit my ideas on how to speed up the game. It’s not a long list, but they’re all solid suggestions. MLB can use them for free, too- I just want to help.
Make hitters use broken bats: How often has the flow of a game come to a screeching halt because a batter breaks his bat? They walk back towards the dugout, get a new one from the batboy, walk to the on deck circle for the pine tar rag, take a few practice swings, walk back to the batters’ box, and finally get ready to hit. It takes, like, two minutes for all of this to happen. Two minutes! I say this ridiculous waste of time to end. If a hitter breaks his bat, too bad- he has to use it for the rest of the at bat. Think of the possibilities: there could be a bunch of crazy hits like Hunter Pence’s ball that hit his broken bat three different times in the 2012 NLCS. And if the bat snaps in half, how hilarious will it look when the batter is standing at the plate with just the bat handle? Incredibly hilarious. This would probably shave something like six minutes off of every game. A step in the right direction.
Batters must wear electric shock collars: A bit radical, but hear me out. People are always complaining about batters who step out of the box after each pitch to take practice swings, adjust their equipment, etc. Well I remember I once had a neighbor who had one of those invisible fences for his dog that sent a shock to his collar if he went past the boundaries, so why couldn’t that work for baseball? If a batter steps out too far away from the box, he gets a jolt of electricity to the neck. Seems like a no-brainer and would probably shorten the game by a good margin. And, it doesn’t have to be a life-threatening shock- those could be saved for repeat offenders. Plus the collars could come in team colors and be sold in MLB’s online shop.
Pitchers don’t get to warm up, ever: Why do pitchers get all of those warm up pitches before the inning starts? Ridiculous. These are highly paid pro athletes we’re talking about, they should be able to just walk to the mound and throw. Sure, arm injuries may happen, but this is the pace of the game we’re talking about here. Some things are more important. It’s time to stop coddling these spoiled millionaires, am I right?? No more warm up pitches, wimps!
“Pitch clock” enforced by pack of wild, ravenous wolves: The pitch clock is somewhat controversial. The idea is simple: like basketball’s shot clock cut in half, a countdown of 12 seconds would begin when the pitcher gets on the rubber and if he didn’t deliver the pitch in that time, it’s an automatic ball. It makes sense, and would definitely speed things up since it would prevent pitchers from slowing the pace of the game to a crawl. To make the rule even better, I propose that not only should a pitcher be given an automatic ball if he lets the clock expire, he also should be mauled to death by a pack of wild, ravenous wolves. The wolves could be kept caged up behind the backstop with no problem and let out as the clock expired. Yes, there are a few risks: fans may be averse to seeing some of their favorite players mauled to death, and there’s no guarantee the wild, ravenous wolves would only attack the pitcher. But ask yourself, do the ends justify the means here? The game is too long and something needs to be done about it.
Non-pitching change mound visits limited by sniper fire: Sometimes a pitching coach will visit the mound just to give the guy in the bullpen time to warm up, and sometimes a catcher will visit the mound for the same purpose. By positioning trained snipers on the roof of the stadium and instructing them to fire at the feet of offending coaches and catchers, you’d wipe out these time-wasters in a manner of days. You’re probably looking at saving about 20 minutes per game here. NOTE: you can also use the wolves in this scenario.