All-Star ruminations

rainbow believer

Why the hell does this game determine World Series home-field advantage? It’s a joke of a game and it’s not played to win (even when it “counts”). I will look past the fact that Clayton Kershaw didn’t start for the National League because maybe, if you squint your eyes and cock your head and take a half-dozen shots and wear a red uniform, you could make an argument that he’s not the most dominant pitcher in the MLB right this specific moment, but to pull him after a single inning of 1-2-3 work if you’re trying to win is crazy. Same for Greinke. Really good and and even better inning than Kersh’s and only up there for three outs. Insanity.

I don’t have a problem with the fans picking the team. I don’t have a problem with every team getting representation. Because, even so, that leaves you with a couple of pretty awesome f’n baseball teams. More than enough to have a hell of a game. IF YOU’RE TRYING TO WIN. Which, of course, they aren’t. Clearly.

Home-field advantage should go to the team with the best record in the regular season, just as it is during the playoffs. Either that or the team with the best playoff record. Something based on actual accomplishment rather than making sure as many guys as possible get to be seen by their hometown fans on the TV.

Regarding the Home Run Derby, I think they should stop messing with the number of outs each guy gets and restrict them to 20 pitches. You could have twice the number of guys participate and it would last just as long and it would be more exciting. Knowing that each pitch really mattered would add drama to each thrown. Also, just have it be the HR leaders from each league. No picking. No politics. Should Yasiel Puig have been there? No, probably not. He hasn’t hit a homer since May. How about the top ten from each league, twenty pitches a piece? Sounds pretty fun to me. Probably more fun than how we do it now.

F’n magic

Tonight’s Dodger game is on Fox. Wait, I mean FOX.

Since I watch all the games via MLB.tv, I couldn’t care less except when it’s on FOX or ESPN I normally have to listen to their national announcers. I’m sure they’re very good and all, but I like the hometown guys. Vin, Charley, and Rick especially. They know the team, the players, etc. — enough to talk about guys not named Yasiel Puig. So, normally, I hear sad trombones when the Dodgers are on national TV.

But.

I just figured out that the Roku version of the MLB.tv app lets you watch the national TV feed with the local radio audio! All synced up like f’n magic. No, seriously, this makes me so happy. Deliriously happy. In fact, happier than you’d expect something like this would make someone.

Why this isn’t an option on Apple TV I don’t know. Wish it was.

I’ll give you a hundred million reasons

Roofless

Dear Dodger bloggers,

It was not “shortsightedness on the part of Target Field’s designers” that kept it from having a roof. It was an unwillingness by the good taxpayers of Minnesota to pay another $100 million for a stadium that already cost them $390 some million (out of a total cost of $500 and something million) in order to give a bunch of millionaires a place to play a game while employed by one of the richest owners in the MLB. So please…shut it.

Yours,
Brian

P.S. Full disclosure, I love Target Field, think it’s a lovely stadium, (mostly) supported its construction sans roof, and still think Dodger Stadium is better since it only cost the people of Los Angeles something like six million bucks in 1959 (and that was just for the land) and has generated tax revenue every year since it was opened, but what do I know?

“It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone. You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops.”

— A. Bartlett Giamatti

Opening paragraph from “The Green Fields of the Mind,” cut and pasted, according to the Orange County Register, in Vin Scully’s custom-made leather scorecard cover.

10 plus 1 things the MLB should change about the game

Blogger Neil Cohen wrote on The Dot the other day the ten things he thought Major League Baseball should change about the game right now. Most of his ideas are sound. One’s blasphemy.

1. Wild card teams should play two out of three

Yes. A hundred and sixty-two games coming down to just one is cruel and unusual. Cohen suggests the regular season be cut back by two games to keep the overall season the same length. I don’t much like that idea since only four teams make the Wild Card spots and cutting two games from the schedule is really cutting something like 48 games that would have otherwise been played over two days across both leagues.

2. Enough with the beards.

Totally. Enough said.

3. The NL should adopt the DH

Oh hell no. I won’t go into all the Totally Obvious Reasons baseball is a superior game with all the players actually playing the way the New York Knickerbockers meant for them to play, but for NL purists (hello) the DH is an abomination from them depths of hell. We may as well let pro players hit with metal bats.

How about this idea: Teach pitchers to hit.

4. Kill the blackout

I don’t disagree with this, either, but dude assumes there’s some kind of logic behind how games get aired where. Plus, he could solve his issue by getting MLB.tv. It’s the best thing on the damned planet. Worth every centavo.

5. No more smokeless tobacco

Agree again.

6. PED scarlet letter

If a player gets caught using PEDs, upon return from suspension, the player has to wear a red uniform all of the time.

Yes. Plus, if they get caught a second time, they’re banned from the game for life and all their records evaporate. Like they never existed. That’d fix the issue pretty quick.

7. Stop counting pitches

Back in the day, guys would pitch full games on consecutive days for years. I know, the game’s changed. Really? Or is it that these guys cost too much money to use them as much as they were used in the old days?

8. Change how managers bullpens something something

Whatever. Let them dance their dance. This one sounds it comes from a guy who thinks the DH is a good idea.

9. Get the cameras off the fans

Yeah, I’d rather see how the guys in the bullpen are reacting to the game than some random dude in section 325. While we’re at it, can we establish some kind of minimum acceptable dress code for those people lucky enough to score those seats right behind the batter? And throw them out of the stadium if they wave into the TV camera while on their cell phone. “Hey, can you see me!?” Yes. You look like an idiot.

10. Stop whining about how long the games take

Amen. During the winter, I crave baseball and its timeless, easygoing cadence. I savor every second and resent travel days and the All-Star Break and the NFL for playing over the baseball season. Plus the months of November though February.

That’s Cohen’s list. I got one more.

11. Let the computers call balls and strikes

Heresy, I know, but I’m tired of watching good batters go down looking because the ump called a crap pitch as a strike (only to “give one back” later by calling a wickedly placed pitch a ball). We have the technology. There’s no reason to leave this up to the arbitrary verities of fallible humans anymore. In what other game are we asked to accept the blatantly wrong calls of the officiants over and over again during the course of a game? It’s madness. This would be better for batters and pitchers and fans. It would be fair.

I know, in the greater scheme of things, these calls work themselves out, but at any moment a rally can be killed or wrongly born because an ump screwed up. We’ve already got the camel’s nose under the tent flap with instant replay review. Let’s finish the job and let HAL call the pitches.