America’s Pastime has lost something off the ‘ole fast ball. That’s right, two words. As in, baseball has a problem. And it’s not the game itself.
Instead, here’s the lament: there simply isn’t enough baseball in baseball. Not anymore.
Stepping out of the batter’s box — after every pitch in every at-bat — is not baseball.
Going through the rigmarole of readjusting your batting gloves — after every pitch in every at-bat — is not baseball.
Colorado Rockies starter Jeff Francis — who redefines and personifies the words “methodical” and “deliberate” — is not baseball. His pitching pace mimics his fastball — slow enough to make you check your DVR to confirm the kids didn’t hit the slow-motion mode.
Alas, if only there was more baseball in baseball. Well, guess what? That time has come in the Atlantic League, where they have put the game up on jack stands and they’ve been turning wrenches.
Time for a tune-up. Or, in this case, a speed-up. All courtesy of a minor baseball league.
“Duration and pace of games have become out of touch with our fan base who need to go to work and go to school in the morning,” Atlantic League executive director Joe Klein said in a statement. “We hope to come out of this season with faster games and some ideas that could be considered.”
Klein, a former general manager for three big league clubs, also said umpires will be instructed to call the strike zone as it exists in the rule book.
To me, that’s a wild pitch. Calvisi Consulting isn’t looking to alter the strike zone. Truth be told, I’m not interested in seeing pitches just below the armpits called strikes. #Buzzer.
Instead, I’ll simply settle for playing the game itself, instead of playing the waiting game. Because, at this rate, forget about cup holders; every seat in every MLB stadium should come with a magazine rack, like the waiting room at the doctor’s office.
“We are not trying to change the game,” Klein said, “only to help to keep it in tune with the times.”
Again — it’s not the game itself. And it’s not that I don’t have three hours. When it comes to football, we’re all willing to invest the time necessary. Not a problem. Until those three hours feel like an eight-hour work day.
We’ve all heard of “dog years.” If baseball doesn’t do something soon, the younger generation will coin the term “dog hours,” on behalf of baseball.
Where’s the baseball in baseball? It’s almost like we need to see a list of ingredients to determine what’s pure and what’s filler.
Thing is, it’s the same way with any sort of entertainment option, like the cinema. At the movies, it’s not the length, it’s the pace. An epic and gripping three-hour flick can feel like 90 minutes. Conversely, buy a ticket for Mall Cop IV and the first half-hour feels like an all-day assignment in traffic court.
More baseball in baseball. #Ding.
Even better is when you consider that the minor leagues have historically innovated, this new/old/improved brand of baseball might be coming soon to a stadium near you. Can’t wait.