Top 10 Ways to Improve Baseball

October 16, 2008 | Lists,Sports

"old time baseball"Before beer prices at stadiums got out of hand, and calling into question the virtue of the left-fielder’s mother became frowned upon, you could at times find one of us in the stands at a baseball game (perhaps, during its heyday here when the Blue Jays earned back to back World Series victories. The greatest Jay of all time, the ass and karate kicking George Bell, is pictured below).

These days, we hardly ever attend sporting events that aren’t dog-track related, but our memories of baseball, fading as they are due to the brain-shrinking effects of alcohol give us what we feel is the ideal perspective from which to point exactly what is wrong with the sport. It has been said by some observers of the game that baseball is duller than a thrift-store knife, while others have said “Zzzzz…” having already been put to sleep by a game. Being the altruistic sorts we are we’ve decided to share our views on how baseball can be fixed (literally, not in the Olympic boxing, Italian soccer and NBA sense of the term). These can even be implemented before the fat kid from Two and a Half Men or whoever, tosses out the first pitch of the World Series.  Here they are: (and R.I.P. to the late, great George Carlin)

1) Put the Manager in Civilian Clothes; Undoubtedly one of the most embarrassing things in all of sport is the fact that the baseball manager must wear his team’s uniform. No other sport has this convention. NBA coaches are not forced to put on the long shorts and muscle shirts, exposing their bleach-white legs and spindly arms. NHL coaches put on cheap suits instead of donning the team’s gear and doing pirouettes at center ice. "George Bell" Soccer coaches wear Canali and smoke on the sidelines. To each their own, we say, but this has got to stop.

The manager in baseball presumably arrives at the stadium in casual wear before pulling a uniform out of a locker and putting it on. How mentally wounding must this be? He does nothing athletic whatsoever during the course of a game, no snagging of foul balls or tossing out warm-up pitches. He looks as if he’s a few steps away from dropping dead when he jogs out to the mound to consult with the pitcher (another bone of contention, but we’ll get to that). For his sake and ours, put the guy in a pith helmet or chinos if you have to, but please keep the uniforms for the players.

2. The Manager Should not be Allowed onto the Field to Interrupt Play.

Why does the manager have to step onto the field? I know he’s wearing the team uniform, so perhaps he feels a sense of obligation, but the last time he circled the bases was during the Johnson administration. You never see an NBA coach step out onto the court, tap O’Neal on the shoulder and say, ‘Hey Shaq, it’s time to sit out a few plays and by the way, my kids didn’t really care for ‘Kazaam‘. .. This is thoroughly unacceptable. A guy sporting ‘office casual’ never wanders out into the middle of a rugby scrum and you don’t have MMA cornermen yelling instructions over the shoulder of the referee about how best to knee an opponent in the noggin.

"Baseball catcher in fight"3) Prevent the Catcher from Ambling out to the Mound: Baseball is criticized for its stop and go nature and there is no surer  culprit  of this than the pitcher breaking play to consult with the catcher. First what qualifies the catcher — a plug who usually runs like a tortoise because his knees are shot — to offer advice on pitching. But yet when a pitcher wants to break play, up rises the catcher, a Yoda of baseball, who will balance your Chi and upset our opponent’s universe. This guy, who was a glorified bucket only a moment ago, is now expected to be able to dispense invaluable advice. “Throw him a slider Hank. He looks like a slider kind of guy. Just whip that ole’ slider in there and that’ll be the end of him.” Unless he Googles scouting reports from the backstop, he should stay there. If the catcher absolutely has to offer advice to the pitcher, it should be of an entirely personal nature. “Frank, you’re a lousy father, and your wife is an extremely shallow individual. Your invitation to dinner with you and your noxious brood has filled me with dread.” The pitcher, thus chastened, would take the mound with a new found focus. This might foul up his game, but he might become a better member of society, and isn’t that what we’re all after?

4) No Warm-up Pitching on the Field: The pitcher should not be allowed to warm up while a game is in progress. He’s a professional. He’s been throwing in the bullpen. You should be able to pull this guy out of a buffet lineup and have him deliver the goods. But as it is this multimillionaire prince is allowed to break the action of a game to go out and toss the old apple with the catcher like he’s at the Jersey shore?

5). No Interrupting Play for the Guy in the Bullpen to Run across the Entire Expanse of the Field. Why do 50,000 people have to sit stupefied while a guy in a puffy jacket who looks like someone who is currently breaking into your car, leisurely saunters onto the field? That is extremely irritating. He’s not some Grand Marshall of a ticker-tape parade. During the last at bat, the relief pitcher can gradually  meander his way along the sidelines. He can throw a few balls into the crowd, doff his cap, refute suggestions about his aunt’s army boots, playfully rub the chemo kid’s bald head for luck and then join the field of play.

"Dennis Eckersley pitcher"6) Eliminate ‘Saves’. You’re not saving anything. Saving is a coupon for 25% off a case of Schlitz. A relief pitcher earning a save is basically rewarded for not f*cking up someone else’s hard work. ‘Staying the course’, or ‘Status Quo’ could be acceptable substitutes. ‘Hey Billy, so how many ‘SQs’ do you think Foulke will get this year?’

7) Whip pitchers for wild pitches; Pitchers make millions of dollars, so they should be so highly skilled that a wild pitch would be unthinkable. Yet they regularly loose pitches that would be embarrassing coming from Uncle Luke’s rubber arm during a summer barbecue bender. Thus, we humbly propose a lashing for any pitcher who throws a wild pitch. The umpire should be the one to administer the lashing. In our view, once a wild pitch is thrown, the umpire should run out to the mound and administer the whipping. Baseball would see a premium put on accuracy after that.

8) Cut Down on the Number of Coaches. Often small market teams have a hard time competing and what better way to remedy this (other than jacking up the price of peanuts to $18 dollars per bag) than to consolidate a few redundant positions? There is nearly one coach for every position.

First base coach can coach first and third, depending on where a runner happens to be. Bullpen coaches can be replaced by pitching coaches, because relievers are just guys who aren’t good enough to start.  There’s even a catcher’s coach, even though that position can often easily be replaced with wire mesh. And what about a bench coach, whose responsibilities include helping to set up the day’s practice and stretching routines before a game? Soccer players can easily shed 20 pounds in a typical game. They need to stretch. Baseball players will generally not have to reach for anything beyond sunscreen. Babe Ruth frequently played drunk. Basically what we’re saying is that pre-game and practice rituals differ.

9) Make Fields the Same Size and Configuration: When NBA teams visit, say, the Arco Arena,  they don’t have to adjust to a hard court that is the width of 3 bowling lanes or slicked with Vaseline. Boxing matches aren’t occasionally staged in an isosceles triangle ring. You don’t see a  hockey rink where boards behind a net are replaced by exposed brick and clematis vines.

10) Make Shirts and Shorts Mandatory: Loud pin stripes are only acceptable if you’re an heir to the Al Capone family bootlegging fortune, or play stand up bass in a Disney swing band. Shorts and shirts are universally worn in summer sports (we’re not including cricket here, as that’s simply one base-quadruple-header baseball with tea and no gloves) and such garb will appeal to an increasingly important female demographic, not to mention cajole players into getting in better shape physically.



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25 Responses | | Comments Feed

  1. Was this list even written by a baseball fan?

  2. Do these guys even WATCH baseball?

  3. The #1 way to improve baseball is GET RID OF IT!! Piece of garbage game.

  4. Probably the most idiotic ‘Top 10’ article I’ve ever seen. Obviously the writer has never played or even attempted to understand the game of baseball.

  5. Dear My Mother,

    1) When will my laundry be done?
    2) No.


    What guys are you referring to? George Bell and Dennis Eckersley? I would say they do.

  6. Funny post, and well written. Obviously not meant to be serious (I hope), because none of it makes any sense, but enjoyable to read. Why doesn’t it make sense?

    1. Manager in uniform is just tradition. In the “old days” there were many player managers who did both, and needed to be in uniform. jsut a tradition at this point.

    2. Managers interrupt all sports. Most sports call these “time outs”. In baseball, there is no time limit, so a “time out” is silly. Having every player run to the sideline (like basketball or football) would be a waste of time when you only want to talk to the pitcher. Faster to send the manager out.

    3. Catcher going out to the mound is sort of like a huddle in football. Sometimes you can signal the play in, sometimes you need to discuss it. Generally, the pitcher does not like the catcher’s call, and wants to explain (in secret) whay he has in mind – maybe a change from what they had planned to do prior to the inning.

    4. Not a bad idea – but the pitcher should get a couple of pitches to make sure the mound is okay. Two pitches should do it. I think they are allowed 5 or 10?

    5. Do you mean the flunky who carries the pitchers stuff back to the dugout when a reliever comes in? If so, I agree. Have him run across in between innings.

    6. A “save” is just a statistic. Changing what it means would not improve baseball. Having it is one way of showing a pitcher does his job, that’s all.

    7. Just silly. Every athlete makes mistakes in the things they are paid to do. Maybe just make the pitcher go get the ball himself – that would be funnier.

    8. Good point. You do need a 3rd and 1st base coach, even in Little League. There are a couple extras on every team, but when you got the money, spend it.

    9. Interesting point. It will never happen, and in a way, helps define home field advantage, which is fun. Overall I like the differences, but it is the only sport that allows that.

    10. Shorts would be silly, and bloody.

    Like the site – nice job!

  7. Funny post. I presume you mean to be funny, because none of them actually make much sense, nor would they improve the game.

    Although #9 is an interesting topic, and unique to baseball. #1 is from the old days of player-coaches – some traditions die slowly.

    I think making the batter stay in the batter’s box unless he’s been stung by a bee (and can prove it) would improve the game.

    Nice site!

  8. Farker,

    If there’s one thing we aimed to make clear with this article, it’s that we love the game of rounders. We wrote this in the hope it’ll catch on among the colonials. Right now it’s only the English schoolgirls who enjoy it.

  9. “First what qualifies the catcher — a plug who usually runs like a tortoise because his knees are shot — to offer advice on pitching…”

    You know nothing about baseball, and this statement proves it. There’s this thing called a “battery,” look it up.

  10. They still play baseball? Only way to improve the game is to let it fade into nothingness. I quit caring the last time these overpaid, over-roided “athletes” went on strike.

    And yes, before anyone asks, the only reason I came in here was to leave this witty comment.

  11. How about you just stop watching baseball all together. Those of us who understand why the manager interrupts play, why there are so many coaches, why warm up pitches are necessary, and why the catcher dictates the pitches in an at-bat will be happy to never have you complain about our game again.

    Seriously. Stop watching baseball. Baseball hates you.

  12. Thank God this guy doesn’t run baseball.

    Funny list, but thank God he doesn’t run baseball.

    A reminder: usually boxing rings are supposed to be 20 foot by 20 foot, but there have been boxing matches in 15 square rings and in 22 square rings.

    Basketballs bounce really funny sometimes on those Boston Celtics’ parkay floor, the only NBA franchise to still use them.

    Lambeau Field is tilted down hill from sideline to sideline.

    And sometimes some NHL rinks in Canada expanded or contract a foot depending on the speed of the other team.

  13. And I heard Man U has it set up on their pitch to let loose a sewer smell on the opposing goaltender no matter which goal he’s defending.

  14. I guess this was supposed to be funny?

    Tell me the demographic that is laughing at this.

  15. i could think of 10 ways to improve this website..

  16. Who cares about the artical. Chech out the softball chicks at the bottom of the page.

    I’d hit that.

  17. From what I understand, your proposal is to homogenize the game of baseball. That’s never gonna happen. There’s a reason that you never hear the word “parity” in reference to baseball in a broad sense, and I’m quite certain that baseball fans like it that way. The 80, 90, and 100 year droughts are PART of baseball and even if you were to ask a Cubbies fan, I’m certain that most of them would have it no other way.

  18. You didn’t have enough room on your list to include; get rid of the designated hitter. If you are going to have a guy on your team do nothing but hit, how about a “designated fielder” or a “designated runner” or a “designated throw a temper tantrum and charge the mound and hit like a school girl”.

  19. Dear Different Farker:

    We’re currently poring over Stats Canada and US Census data and we’ve tentatively concluded that our key demographic includes a) readers and b) those with internet access, some of whom are laughing as they read this, laughing prior to reading this and then stopping, laughing prior to reading this and then continuing to do so, not laughing prior to reading this and then continuing not to do so. If you’ve got any permutation we might have missed, do let us know.

  20. “First what qualifies the catcher — a plug who usually runs like a tortoise because his knees are shot — to offer advice on pitching…”

    are you serious? you obviously don’t know too much about baseball. i could pull 8 or 9 other examples out of this abortion that you call a top 10 list to prove that point but you’re just not worth it.

  21. Editor’s note: First off, thank you to everyone who took time out of their busy/hectic lives to offer such beautiful sentiments like the one posted above.

    Anyway, we should point out that the above article is tongue firmly in chewing tobacco cheek. Yep folks, this is a humor article. The points we’ve outlined are those which make baseball quirky, fun and unique.

    I’d venture that between the two of us, we’ve seen about 50 games. As a kid I went to the 1989 ALCS playoffs where Bob Costas was roundly booed when he (quite rightly) said the Jays had no hope in hell and watched in disbelief as Jose Canseco belted the longest home run I’ve ever seen–into level 5 of the Skydome upper deck.

    I’ve seen games at Wrigley and at the old Yankee stadium, including a game where some idiot jumped onto the backstop mesh, flailing around and interrupting play for an hour.

    Anyway, for those of you who enjoyed the article, thank you kindly.

    Shark Guy Chris

  22. Editor’s Note II: To clear up any confusion, we’ve BEEN TO at least 50 games (if not more) in two countries in four different ballparks (including the old CNE Stadium, pre Skydome/Rogers Centre).

    I went to the home opener against the Yanks this year.
    Thank you once again.
    Shark Guy Chris

  23. I would improve baseball by the following:

    I think you need to add a 2 teams to make it 32 teams. Add 2 playoff spots so there is 12 of 32 who can make the playoffs and instead of restrict a players earnings realign teams based on payroll spent. example:

    Yanks, Red Soxs, Mets, Phils in one division and Teams like the Pirates, Nationals, Indians, Reds in another. This would ensure teams with lower payrolls can be represented in the playoffs. As you spend more you change divisions. This would keep the schedule fresh and teams like the Pirates and Royals would have a chance to play in October. This plan would attract fans in all markets.

    check out the plan at:

  24. Lower payrolls are not a result of the team not having money. The luxury tax, or profit sharing requires the higher earning teams to send money to the lower earning teams. The Yankees, for example, send some teams more free money than they pay out in payroll. So those teams get their players for free and bank the profits. I personally, don’t like the Yankees. However, if your team can’t compete, it’s simply because they don’t care. The owners don’t care. They’re banking the luxury tax, and your hard earned money that you keep spending on a team that isn’t there to win, just profit. The monitary backing, thanks to this socialist profit sharing (much like the US where the rich are deemed as evil for working hard, and therefore made to pay for the poor to sit around on welfare and make babies), is actually pretty level.

  25. TOO FUNNY ……..JA

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