Editor's note*: Letters addressed to "ESPN The Ragazine" recently began arriving from a P.O. Box in Pennsylvania, signed by "The Fixer," whose radical manifestos aim to overhaul sports. In this note, The Fixer revamps baseball.
*Editor's-note note: This letter isn't real. But who can say what is real and what is fake anymore? Not us!
Baseball's sooooo boring these days. Or the world's just more exciting? Meh ... either way, we ain't goin' back to the good ol' days of Ralph Kiner and Pie Traynor now, are we? With that in mind, here are three ways to make MLB exciting again.
1. Don't balk ... coz you CAN'T!!!
Guess what? Nobody understands the freakin' balk rule. So kill it! Don't think that's a big deal? Now imagine the pitcher can do whatever he damn well wants. Pump fake? Jump up and down?! A 270-degree spin-move pickoff?!?! That's INSANITY, right? But also pretty great! "But doesn't that mean the ball is pretty much never dead?" Yeah, Abner Doubleday breath, that's EXACTLY what it means.
2. We're goin' all in on the pitch clock
Now that the game never stops, let's MAKE IT MOVE! New rules: Once a batter's in the box, the pitcher has 15 seconds to throw the pitch. Each player -- pitchers and hitters -- gets three timeouts TOTAL for the entire game. You really need another look at your (micro)manager? Fine ... but it'll cost you a ball or strike.
P.S. Hitters now get three foul balls per AB. So all those "gritty" 29-pitch at-bats are now just K's, umk?
P.S.S. Pitchers must face three batters, minimum. That situational lefty is now just a "lefty."
3. Extra innings = extra excitement
Sorry, aren't we all just a little over the ol 16-inning stalemate? (Also: Die Hard is NOT an Xmas movie -- has nuthin' to do with baseball, but it's been irritating me since December). Anywhoo, you want the freakin' game to end? Let's give it a shove! We'll start every extra inning with TWO runners on base -- both on second base -- one on each side of the bag!!! The pitcher toes the rubber and bam, an immediate rundown ensues. Maybe one guy stays on second, the other sprints for third. Maybe one guy heads for first and tries to get the pitcher to chase him. It'll be chaos... and AWESOME!
Until next month! (Still can't believe you guys are printing these...)
* Want some real-world, balk-riddled excitement? Try Dodgers-Brewers on April 20 (7 p.m. ET, FS1).