I would like Major League Baseball to acknowledge a simple truth: this season is a “Whose Line is it Anyway?” Everything’s made up and the points don’t matter.
Except “Whose Line” is more watchable. “Whose Line” had excellent viewership at its debut in 1998, and still does in syndication. The MLB however, faces ever declining tv ratings which were formerly matched by its ever declining attendance. Opening week this year was a boon, it’s true, but now baseball’s back to being ambient background chatter because, I’m sorry, it’s boring. It’s a boring sport to watch.
Baseball is severely missing a sense of fun. The 90’s are in fashion everywhere you look from “Fresh Prince” streaming on HBO to slip dresses your mom says, “Gives boys the wrong idea”. Like a lot of suddenly adult fans, the 90’s were awesome for me and they can be awesome for baseball too.
10 Ways to Make Baseball a 90’s Nostalgia Dream You Actually Want to Watch
1. Dads Pitch
Remember the awkward transition from t-ball to farm where no one could throw accurately enough to make the game work? I want field manager’s on the mound and just like your 7 yr. old baseball season- and no walks allowed. Keep throwin’ till it’s over the plate and swing away. We wanna see more balls in play, and most of all, the severe stress and sense of responsibility that plagues anyone tasked with this job.
2. Adult Swim
For an added layer of, “Are they too old to do this without injury”, I want the 7th inning to be played by coaches only. They’ve been inexplicably dressed for the occasion for years, it’s time to use it. Batboys are coaches now and your all-stars are batboys. It would be like the greatest rec league of all time. The mix of men who haven’t jogged in 40 years and assistants who were playing DI ball last month would be more emotionally charged than The Rookie. Most importantly – this inning counts, it’s not just exhibition. I mean, just imagine the last-minute quad stretches in the dugout during the 6th!
3. The Rollover Plan
Some of us didn’t have cellphones as children. Some of us didn’t have unlimited data plans until adulthood. Some of us were only lucky enough to be blessed with rollover minutes in the early aughts and know their preciousness. For all series, I want a “rollover-runs” policy. A three-game series is twenty-seven innings with only one W to be had. You actually take the series, not the games. Tune in tomorrow for the exciting series finale and it actually is.
4. The Injured List
I’m totally here for the recent name change from DL. Total good call. But why didn’t we make it something fun?! Remember “Legends of the Hidden Temple” when that grown man would jump out of a darkened corner and bear hug a child? So much more dramatic than, “Aaron Judge is a tight ass.” I’m sorry, I mean “Aaron Judge has a tight ass.” Try, “Aaron Judge has been apprehended by the Temple Guard and must remain out of the Temple Run until his teammates recover the pendant of life.”
5. Inning Yatzee
Home team rolls at the beginning of the game to determine how many innings will be played. I want an adaptable pitching strategy! Rainout 5 inning policy becomes the minimum, max 9 (please see rule #9 for extra-innings procedure)
6. Team Mom
This is more for relatability than anything but the fact that these players have full blown catering seems like dishonest baseball to me. Somebody in the organization starts bringing Capri Sun, orange slices, and Big League Chew to the dugout and gets rated by nostalgic viewers on best snacks. These points accrue and winning league gets home field advantage for the end of year pool party. I mean World Series. Minus a million points if anyone asks Alyssa Nakken to do it.
7. Position Popcorn
Gimme your starting roster and draw those positions out of a hat. The league is already allowing for position players to pitch because times are weird. The game will be FINE, it’s not elementary school where only one player can throw from third to first. Let it hail the rise of the utility player!
8. Spirit Days
This may have been unique to softball culture because girls are allowed to be silly without facing ridicule from their peers so let me put you onto this one: Crazy Sock Game. There’s a lot of themes you can pull from that aren’t just a marketing driven throwback jersey and Crazy Sock Game is the Best. While some ‘real’ players may opt for minimally invasive designs, the brave ones will wear full Big Bird legs or dad bear claw slippers. Its real elegance is that it doesn’t take any explaining once the game starts. It just is. And it’s awesome.
9. Field Day Tiebreakers
Extra innings are boring. They’re just … more innings. Replace extra innings with a series of skill-related, familiar favorites from the days of yore. Players step forward to compete in 3 legged-races, egg-in-a-spoon races, potato sack races, water balloon tosses and that weird grapefruit/neck relay. No corn hole. Never corn hole.
10. Stuffie Mania
Why can’t we be Korea? Look at this well-mannered, joyful, attentive fan base. Just like my audiences for my heartfelt lyrical dances to Jewel in my bedroom, the best room you’ll ever play to are stuffed animals. The CGI people who’ve been showing up behind the plate are an uncanny valley of unwellness no better than The Polar Express. This is honestly so simple and incandescent the only possible reason it hasn’t happened is male repression.
Did I miss any? Comment below with what new throwback rule you think could make baseball the most watchable sport this year.
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