As a baseball fan, I can freely admit that the game has a few faults that need to be fixed. For instance, games do tend to be a bit long, and it appears that Major League Baseball is figuring this out. They are supposedly going to be taking steps to speed things up a bit, starting next season. And they're going to do so by making that stupid-ass fake-throw-to-third-real-throw-to-first pickoff move a real balk.
That's a nice start, but let's face it, that only happens about once a game, at most. So it's not really going to affect the time-of-game stat that much. Which is why I have a few suggestions on speeding up the game a bit.
9. Why don't the umpires actually start calling balks? You want to cut time from a game, then cut down on the number of throws over to first when a decent runner is on base. You know how people have always marveled at how effective Andy Pettitte's move to first base is? That's because it's a balk. Call that a balk a few times and he'll stop throwing over there 90 times an inning.
8. Let's eliminate the Seventh Inning Stretch, particularly on Sundays Yes, it's tradition. But most teams play two songs during that time, and TV is generally back to catch about 30-45 seconds of fans standing around doing nothing. And it's longer on Sunday as they make a Broadway production number out of "God Bless America," then "Take Me Out to the Ballgame," then whatever song that particular team uses, "Deep in the Heart of Texas," "Sweet Caroline," etc.
The clock is ticking.
6. Speaking of walks, let's just eliminate the four-pitch intentional walk If a team wants to intentionally walk a batter, just have the catcher stand and hold up four fingers, or something, then have the umpire order the batter to take first base.
5. I'm calling this the Brad Mills Rule: If you need to use a different pitcher for each batter, for seven straight batters, to get seven outs, then you need to be fired because you suck as a manager There really needs to be a rule to prevent a manager from using his entire bullpen in a game, unless there's an injury, because nothing takes as much time as it takes a manager to walk to the mound, to motion to the bullpen, for the reliever to jog in, then take his warm-up pitches, then adjust his cup, then adjust his cap, then talk to his catcher, then talk to the first baseman who's come over for a chat, then chat with the home plate umpire who comes over to break things up. 4. Here's the biggest thing to speed things up: no stepping out of the damn batter's box after every pitch There shouldn't be a minute between pitches because a batter's constantly stepping out to adjust something, to take deep breaths, to take practice swings, etc. Just stay in the damn box and hit. Umpires have the discretion to call strikes in this instance, and perhaps they should start doing it.
3. That means the Andy Pettitte Rule needs to be created for pitchers: If a pitcher stands on the rubber for minutes at a time, peering over his glove while the camera does a slow zoom in over the glove and in so close on the face that you can see nose hairs, then a ball should be called for taking too long to make the pitch.
2. If a batter steps out of the box while a pitcher is in his motion, then the pitcher gets to hit the batter with a pitch -- no fastballs to the head, but everything else is allowed That'll also speed things up a bit.
1. Ban the Wave No, the Wave has nothing to do with the length of the game, but if we're eliminating annoying things to make the game better, then there's nothing better than eliminating the Wave, which has to be the most worthless, annoying, needless thing ever, and any fan over the age of ten caught doing the Wave should be kicked out of the ballpark. And if it's the person who started the Wave, then that person is forever banned from ever entering a baseball stadium in any country where baseball is played.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.