Jeb Can Fix It: Major League Baseball
After five excruciating months of campaigning and falling down polls faster than firemen, maligned legacy kid Jeb Bush changed his slogan from a rather lively ‘Jeb!’ to the more authoritative and manly ‘Jeb Can Fix It.’ As a tribute to a man who hasn’t held public office in eight years, and the latest disgrace to the family name, let’s look at what he probably won’t get around to fixing as the leader of the free world.
Professional baseball – and every level underneath it from the minors to pony league – is the epitome of background noise television. Even Vin Scully’s soothing voice is probably more exciting than watching pitchers take up to 26 seconds (!!!) between pitches. You can summarize all the highlights from a 3-hour baseball game in 2 minutes! Baseball has more players than any other sport making over $100 million dollars – how many of them can you name? It’s bland and slow to the point that you’d rather flip one more channel to Ghost Rider 2 than suffer through last year’s seven-hour Yankees Red-Sox sleepfest.
Jeb’s Diagnosis: “We definitely no longer inspire fear in our enemies”
And Jeb’s right. Of the five major sports – yes, I’m including Darts in that list – it’s the most bloated and seemingly pointless one, which is probably why it gets the lowest ratings that get beaten by the combination of ‘Madam Secretary’ and ‘The Good Wife’. But luckily, President Jeb has a little bit of experience in the boring.
1) Substitutions: Why are players going in ‘n’ out of football and basketball games similarly to a fast food restaurant? Because that’s what improves strategy – so why not let pitchers come back into the game? Give ‘em three re-substitutions a game (for any player) that can only be made between innings, along with limiting usual pitching changes to one per inning.
2) Extra Innings: Most innings have zero runs scored. About 10% of MLB games go to extra innings – so once it gets there, it’s going to stay there for a while. How about picking three players out of your lineup at the end of a game for a Home Run Derby? Five pitches each, and using the same tosser for all three. Not only is it something that baseball fans get irrationally excited about (and if you’ve seen the average baseball fan, this is saying something), but it’s their version of the Slam Dunk Contest at All-Star Weekend. If they’re tied at the end, send one more player (not part of the original 3) for a sudden-death one pitch. You can add some more stats for the Moneyball community, even make a power rankings out of it, and it’s over in ten minutes tops.
3) Hall of Fame: Just let everybody in. Seriously. Even if they took steroids – it’s costing them five years of their lives anyway. Hell, make an All-Steroid team at the end of the year.
4) Automatic Umps: Having an umpire call a ball vs. a strike is like having an NBA referee decide whether each shot is a 2 pointer or a 3 pointer of his own volition. Yeah they kinda know the distinction, but having a computer be able to verify the call is a good idea, right? Cut out the middleman entirely.
5) Number of Games: Isn’t 162 of anything too much? It’s more than the regular seasons of the NBA, NFL, and MLS combined (132), total number of declared 2016 presidential candidates (64), and number of people who die by lightning annually (51). I probably take less than 162 dumps a year – which is probably something I should worry about, but that’s besides the point. Nine vs division opponents, six vs conference opponents, and three vs interleague opponents for a total of 141.
6) Bad Rules: Instead of bunts, add dunk tanks for managers that are activated by perfectly aimed foul balls. Instead of infield fly rules, have infield occupy rules – you can extend your outfield walls if you move the bullpens to within the field to create ‘free zones’ that count for doubles. Catchers must choose masks that resemble cartoon villains. The only offense that can result in a season-long ban is sticking your penis into someone’s batting gloves.
Jeb’s Prognosis: “When you create pockets of isolation — and in some places the process of assimilation has been retarded because they've slowed down — it's wrong.”