Community

Baseball is not just a sport. It is an integral part of what America is built upon. It is a gathering…an event. It is a pastime. Most important, it is a community.

Years ago, sitting with my Grandparents where, in their usual seats at a Braves game in old Milwaukee County Stadium, a phenomena of life was created as it became a safe zone. The people who sat around them had faces that were well-known to me. In front of Grandma, was Mrs Pauling; in front of my Grandfather was Tom, Mrs. Pauling’s husband. Next to my Grandfather were George and Betty Thompson. Behind them was Billy Franzen, who owned a big Chevy dealership on the South side and studying for his PhD in women. Next to him was Billy J., who owned the 1500 Club on Lincoln. Don and Mary Jane sat behind George and Betty. Kaye and Big Bill sat behind us. Good thing because Big Bill a former Marquette basketball player would have blocked our view. ‘Smokin Stein’ Kaczmarski and one of his family members sat behind my Grandparents. Tony and Dorothy Shiro usually sat where I was sitting, but on this day as they were kind enough to give Grandma the tickets for when we visited, it was our hallowed ground, for my brother and me.

Sitting on the end of the row, my favorite seat in the whole wide world, also meant that one was, among other things, the passer of food and drink to the rest of your row. And you got to know each and every vendor who supplied them. There was Bob the Beer Guy (only Miller sold in this ballpark, thank you very much), Lefty the hot dog vender who would toss dogs like footballs with perfect spirals with mustard packs following on the same flight behind it until you said ‘no more’. And of course, Snooky, the beleaguered Cubs fan who was forced to wear a Braves cap while peddling Coke. And they got to know who you were, as they were the invaluable key to our safe zone, making sure you were alright and making sure you knew where you were at all times in the Stadium. This was the community of Section 16.

Baseball is best as a community event. Season ticket holders have made this happen for years and many more years at a stadium near you, made up the core of the cloistered village. This community was built upon hard-working people from all walks of life, workers who built their lives from the ground up and who went to the games to leave every problem in life behind them. This was a mental-free zone where you could concentrate on only one thing…the thrill of being at the ball park with all of its sights and smells that will free you forever. That, along with your new-found friends who lived in this community gave solace to this little piece of sanity. There was the smell of the hops and mustard, Secret Stadium Sauce and the bratwurst, hamburgers and dogs on the grill. The popcorn popping, the smell upon the opening of the fresh salty flavor in the cracking of another bag of peanuts. There are probably more peanuts eaten at a ballgame than at any other single time or event in your life, unless you worked for Planters. And of course, there was the unforgettable overwhelming aroma of that stinky cigar that ‘Smoking Stein’ smoked which was ever-present when the wind blew from South to North. Never buy a LaPalina no matter how much you like CBS. I am convinced that this is another solid reason why he single-handedly is responsible for the boost in sales of Advair in Milwaukee today. All of this rolled into one identified where you were… smack in the middle within the community of the game.

There were the arguments, of course. Was that ump really blind? Was Mathews better than Mantle? Simple stats flew through the air like paper in the wind. No WARP here. We dealt in real stuff…runs, hits, wins, loses, home runs, BA’s, RBIs (not RBI. We were not politically correct at that time.), double, triples, strike outs and balls. No OPS or OPS+ or IBBs, RAR, oWAR, dWAR, oRAR nor XYZs. No Rtot or Rdrs’ either. While stats are the conjunctions of the game, the pitching and hitting are the train within this community. While hitting is for show, pitching was for all the dough. And Milwaukee had the pitching.

The announcers were like big brothers or the best uncles in our lives. They were the stars the stars looked up to. Earle and Blaine led the other important box car in our community’s train, Miller High Life & Clark took us out to the park. Later Kent got in there too. And who could forget, looking up at the press box and seeing the likes of Harry, Bob, Mel, Jack or Vinny. These were our unmet friends…our buddies that brought us those ‘inside’ bits of information which we could recite the next day to our friends in an attempt to impress them with our knowledge of the game. You relished these tiny morsels of inside info. It was the foundation, along with the info on the back of the Topps, in how you would be graded on the ladder of baseball standing in your life.

While all of these reflect yesterday, today there are few who can weave the magic lexer any better than Mr. Sculley. The other day, during one of the epic Dodger/Giants games (now put on your earphones. Beats or ear buds and really listen in the voice of Vin), he said: ’Now coming to the plate, is Nori Aoki…the pest. And the reason why he is a pest is that he is always challenging the pitcher and the opposing team. Did you know, that when he comes up for the first time facing the starting pitcher of the other team, he is batting .257. But when he comes up for the second time against the same pitcher, he is hitting about 100 points higher. And if he faces that starting pitcher for the third time in the game, he is hitting over .400.’ Ye Gads! With information like that I could have had a career writing the backs of the Topps cards.

These types of words were the essence of conversation the community passed along to one another throughout the game. For most in the community, the baseball game on the radio was the constant in their lives. It was way more than white noise. When Earle said that it was time for the 7th Inning stretch, just after he caught another foul ball in his fishing net, Billy would get up and turn around to face the entire stands in his tee-shirt with the big ‘bow tie’ logo on the front. It simply would not be a game unless Billy did that. You actually knew these folks so well. For instance, my brother Mike still remembers our Grandmother asking where the Paulings were during a game, and Betty, three seats away, amazingly answered, ‘Tom and Lona are at their grand daughter, Mary Ann’s, baptism.’ And the game went on. Now the community was officially informed by the town crier. And for the rest of the game, mumblings about what Mary Ann looked like filtered in and out while the box score was being kept. In the margin of that program against the Dodgers, there was a notation…not of the official attendance but of the simple note: ‘MaryAnn’. There was always talk about Billy F. and his latest girl friend from Rosary or was it St. Mary’s College? The question centered around when he would bring her to the game so we could all give him a standing ovation for his courage in asking her out without crashing down the light poll on South 20th Street. This was the community. When my Grandfather missed a game because of his induction into the Fourth Degree of the Knights of Columbus, the next game both Betty and Lona had brought cookies and a cake for my Grandmother to take home for those evenings when my Grandfather would be at Knights meetings when the Braves were out-of-town.

Baseball is, yes, a game. But in America it is so much more than that. This community, this family, cares and shares and lives on well past the sale date. In fact, when you go back to the ball park today, to see those same seats in the new stadium where ever you are, you look for those folks, who have all passed along with Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Daffy, Lawrence and Mae and Dizzy and Warren. But if you look real hard, there is Billy standing up during the 7th inning stretch, turning around to the crowd, puffing out his chest and wearing a tee-shirt with a ‘bow tie’ logo on the front. Yes. Next to him is that girl from Rosary or was it St. Mary’s? ‘And if you’re not here it’s a shame…’

And the answer to the first question is ‘Yes’.

Play Ball!
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Fate of the Seams

79 have done it in baseball history. 50 of those were in the Senior Circuit. While the game has been played for well over a Century, no Ranger ever did it, including the time as the Senators. No Twin has ever done it, including the time as the Senators. Needless to say, no Senator ever did it. Sandy Koufax is the only pitcher in history to do it three times for the Dodgers. Nolan Ryan, was only one of three pitchers to ever do it twice. And of course as a member of the Hall of Fame, he did it once in each league, the only player to accomplish that feat. Dodgers did it six times. The Yankees did it five times. The Brewers and Athletics are the only teams to have done it four times.

This past Thursday, Milwaukee Brewer, Mike Fiers did it…he struck out all three Dodger batters he faced, Enrique Hernandez, Carlos Frias and Joc Pederson, perhaps the hottest hitter in the league, in the top of the 4th inning. Nine pitches. Three strike outs. 9 pitches, 9 strikes and 3 outs. It is called the ‘Immaculate Inning’.

This obscure stat began on June 4, 1889 when John Clarkson of the Beaneaters struck out Jim Fogarty who led the league in stolen bases (99), Big Sam Thompson, the right fielder who led the league in home runs that season with 20, and the big first baseman, Sid Farrar, of the Philadelphia Quakers in the top of the 3rd in Boston.

The famous names that have done it are impressive. Rube Waddell of the Athletics did it in 1902, Lefty Grove was the other pitcher who did it twice in 1928 for the Athletics. Billy Hoeft of the Tigers did it in 1953. Jim Bunning of the Tigers did it in 1959. Al Downing of the Yankees did it in 1967. Ron Guidry of the Yankees did it in 1972. Roger Clemens of the Blue Jays did it in 1997, Pedro Martinez of the Red Sox did it in 2002. Felix Hernandez of the Mariners did it in 2008. Dazzy Vance of the Dodgers did it in 1924; Robin Roberts of the Phillies did it in 1956; Sandy Koufax did it three times for the Dodgers in 1962, 1963. Tony Cloninger did it for the Milwaukee Braves in 1963. Bob Gibson did it in 1968. Milt Pappas did it for the Cubs in 1971. Bruce Sutter of the Cubs did it in 1977. David Cone accomplished the task in 1991. Orel Hershiser did it as a Giant in 1998. Randy Johnson did it twice, once in 1998 as an Astro and the other in 2001 as a Diamondback. Ben Sheets accomplished the task for the Brewers in 2004.

So where does Fiers accomplishment rank, a portend of the future as a great pitcher or along with the likes of Pat Ragan, Joe Oeschger, Bob Bruce, Pedro Borbon, Lynn McGlothen, Joey McLaughlin, Jeff Robinson, Rob Dibble, Sloppy Thurston, Danny Jackson, Jeff Montgomery, Stan Belinda, Doug Jones and the like.

Only 79 did it. As beautiful as it was, it is a ‘Fate of the Seams’.

Play Ball!

Calling Dr. McDreamy

Since the greatest warrior of Homer’s Iliad, slayed the Trojan hero Hector outside the gates of Troyhe, how he was killed near the end of the Trojan War by Paris, still sends shivers through the heart of any athlete. We know Achilles was shot by him in the heel with an arrow. But now, one of the warriors of baseball faces a long rehab as he fights through the stunning pain of the imaginary arrow into his Achilles’ heel. Mathew Melton wrote, ‘From radios to broadband, streetcars to subways, and megaphones to smartphones, there was baseball. With that sublime inspiration, there also comes a callous reality to the game. How else can you describe a sport where the very best hitters fail seven out of every ten times they enter the batter’s box? Or where the very best teams leave the park losers at least sixty times during the season? However, the game (and life) are not always kind to its members.’

Around the major leagues, they are dropping like flies. And the season has just begun. Now that Dr McDreamy is no longer working on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’, perhaps he can help out in The Show as this has turned into a Season of DL.

In just one week, from March 20-26, 2015 this is the designated list:
Chicago White Sox placed RHP Matt Albers on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 20, 2015. broken little finger on right hand
Chicago White Sox activated RHP Jake Petricka from the 15-day disabled list.
Chicago White Sox placed RHP Javy Guerra on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 13, 2015. Right shoulder inflammation.
St. Louis Cardinals placed RHP Adam Wainwright on the 15-day disabled list. Left achilles and left ankle injury.
Toronto Blue Jays activated RF Michael Saunders from the 15-day disabled list.
Toronto Blue Jays placed C Dioner Navarro on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 22, 2015. Strained left hamstring.
Oakland Athletics placed 2B Ben Zobrist on the 15-day disabled list. Medial meniscus tear in his left knew.
San Diego Padres activated RHP Ian Kennedy from the 15-day disabled list.
Boston Red Sox placed RF Shane Victorino on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 23, 2015. Right hamstring strain
Tampa Bay Rays activated 1B James Loney from the 15-day disabled list.
Tampa Bay Ray activated LHP Drew Smyly from the 15-day disabled list.
Tampa Bay Ray placed LHP C.J. Riefenhauser on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 19, 2015. Left shoulder inflammation.
Tampa Bay Ray placed 2B Ryan Brett on the 15-day disabled list. Left shoulder subluxation.
Tampa Bay Ray transferred LHP Jeff Beliveau from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day disabled list. Left shoulder soreness.
Miami Marlines placed LF Christian Yelich on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 20, 2015. Lower back strain.
Baltimore Orioles placed 2B Ryan Flaherty on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 23, 2015. Right groin strain.
San Diego Padres placed RHP Shawn Kelley on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 23, 2015. Left calf strain.
Seattle Mariners placed RHP Hisashi Iwakuma on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 21, 2014. Right Lat Strain.
Houston Astros activated RHP Josh Fields from the 15-day disabled list.
Los Angeles Angels transferred RHP Josh Fields from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day disabled list. Left core muscle injury.
Philadelphia Phillies placed RHP Sean O’Sullivan on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 18, 2015. Tendinitis in his left knee.
Washington Nationals placed LHP Felipe Rivero on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 18, 2015. GI bleed.
Colorado Rockies placed RHP LaTroy Hawkins on the 15-day disabled list. Right Bicep Tendinits.
Colorado Rockies activated LHP Jorge De La Rosa from the 15-day disabled list.
New York Mets placed C Travis d’Arnaud on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 20, 2015. Fracture of his right little finger.
New York Mets placed LHP Jerry Blevins on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 20, 2015. Distal radius fracture of his left arm.
New York Mets transferred RHP Zack Wheeler from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day disabled list. Recovering from March 2015 Tommy John surgery.
Milwaukee Brewers placed C Jonathan Lucroy on the 15-day disabled list. Broken left big toe.
Milwaukee Brewers placed 2B Scooter Gennett on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 20, 2015. Left hand laceration.
Chicago Cubs transferred 3B Mike Olt from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day disabled list. Hairline fracture in his right wrist.
Arizona Diamondbacks placed 3B Jake Lamb on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 19, 2015. Left foot stress reaction.
Arizona Diamondbacks transferred C Gerald Laird from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day disabled list.

Thirty-two DL actions in seven days. And did you notice how many were pitchers? Eighteen were hurlers. Of these, probably the most devastating was the loss of ace right hander, Adam Wainwright of the St. Louis Cardinals. His injury was really quirky. (See above) Wainwright suffered his injury in the fifth inning of last Saturday night’s game against the Brewers as he was running out a pop-up. Wainwright, who has pitched four scoreless innings, was running to first when he came up lame after hurting his left ankle. The 33-year-old (34 in August) missed the entire 2011 season thanks to Tommy John surgery. Through four starts this season, the three-time All-Star has posted a 1.44 ERA with 6.5 K/9 and 1.1 BB/9. For his career, Wainwright has pitched to a 2.98 ERA with 7.6 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9.

What does all of this mean? If you read articles, blogs and listen to the pendants, here are some of the topics they have made for discussion on the subject:

Goofy scheduling.
Lack of team training year round. Individual training rather than team training.
Short term attitude
Over paid.

But what is probably more logical is what Ben Charington, GM of the Boston Red Sox said two and one-half years ago on the subject. “I think players put their bodies in positions that they never did before in the name of performance. Pitchers manipulate the ball like never before: cutter, sinker, split, multiple types of fastballs. This all requires different finger pressure, different hand position at release. When this happens, it could very well change the torque on the elbow and shoulder. Pitchers have had to do this because hitters are so much better. They’d get killed if they weren’t manipulating the baseball. But it could come with a downside — more stress on the joints.”

No matter the reason why, injuries cost team owners tens of millions of dollars and change the pennant race landscape. For some, it ends their season before it can bloom.

As Melton wrote, ‘For a select few in the game’s history, their greatness was never fully realized.’ Players like Eric Davis, Rick Ankiel, Juan Encarnacion, J.R. Richard, Mark Prior, Kerry Wood, Nomar Garciaparra, Bo Jackson and Mark Fidrych had career ending injuries’. Others, who had fantastic careers, struggled through injury to finish their baseball life, players like ‘Junior’, ‘Sandy’ and ‘Mickey’. But they are the exceptions.

What will this year’s host of injuries tell us about the future?

All we can do is…

Play Ball!

Purgatory

The design of life, leads to death. This is caused by the body when it stops breathing. No oxygen. No life. The body is made up of Oxygen, Carbon, Hydrogen, Nitrogen, Calcium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sulfur, Chlorine, Sodium, Magnesium with fractions of Iron, Cobalt, Copper, Zinc, Iodine, Selenium and Florine. Then there is the next step.

In baseball, teams are born and designed with chemistry. They are dependent up young, dynamic players who are eager to prove themselves in The Show and older players who are eager to win one last time. For many, it would be the first time to reach the top of the mountain. The team is made of rookies, journeymen and stars. It is usually put together by a general manager who molds the team for just the right moment to explode upon the scene and win. The team is led by an experienced baseball man who understands the nuisances of the game and who has majored in psychology of life. This last part is critical. As it is up to him to bring a team to peak performance, each and every day, by making sure the right words are said to the right players at the right time. For instance, as Orel Hershiser recently commented during a Dodger telecast, Tommy Lasorda made sure his players did everything possible to win the big game. And to Lasorda, every game was THE big game.

If any part of this preparatory does not work, the team will fail to reach its full potential and win a Pennant.

The next step is in the simplest of terms, Purgatory…a place where old teams go to become ready for their next life. It is a place for cleansing and a time of emptiness as many of the fans who once went to the stadium no longer fill the seats as they are fully aware that this team has no present. And, in a society that is bent on making it happen now, patience is not a virtue. Thus the dichotomy. Purgatory is not a good place for a baseball owner. That is why he is reluctant to make changes.

The Milwaukee Brewers are headed for Purgatory, not in Utah, but metaphorically. When the last great class graduated from AAA (that’s Triple A baseball) and headed to Cream City, fellows like Hart and Weeks, Fielder, Gallardo and Braun made Miller Park one of the most exciting places on the planet. They had All-Star talent with a spirit of success in every stage of their baseball developmental lives. They won where ever they went. They invented new ways to celebrate home runs (see above) and made the faithful believers. They made runs at the top, several times, but never finishing higher than the final game of the National League playoff. So close. So painfully ghostly.

Today the team is faced with the errors of the past, the sins of gluttony. They mortgaged their farm system talent to make one last run at a playoff berth over the past few years. Last year, as three of the last of the Great Quintet came back for the ring, hope turned into absolute horror as two were in their finals days in a Brewer uniform and the other coming back from banishment, seeking absolution for his sins. That dream faded like a discarded ice cube left outside on the pavement of an Arizona summer’s day. Now it is time for Purgatory. It is time to rebuild. But that will not be easy to accomplish because they lack both quality prospects down on the farm (not Stanford but the minor leagues) and tradeable veterans. Their cupboard is bare. While the fans are hungry for victory, there are no brats on the grills with Secret Stadium Sauce nor beer on tap. That is what Purgatory is like for the Pigsville Phaithful.

The A’s have Billy who can pull magic from a dry fountain and relieve the thirst of defeat. The Cubs have Theo who brought the searchers out of the near hundred-old-desert of defeats in Beantown. The Brewers need minds like these to move out of Purgatory in our time. They need new leadership to have the insight of Rickey (Branch, not Weeks) and the dugout tenacity of McGraw (John not Tug) whom Connie Mack once stated, ‘There has been only one manager – and his name is McGraw’.

Where do we find them…those people who are winners in their design and execution of baseball management? How do we rebuild with such a poor hand that is delt? How long will it take to turn it around, if that is even a certainty in a land so barren of pennants? And, perhaps even more important considering its market size, can Milwaukee compete ever again? This is a town where half of the television signal goes to the fishes to the East and cows to the North and West. What kind of TV deal can it negotiate? All it has going for it right now is a face of the team sitting on the DL and nearly 3 million fans who will show up in a snow storm. And the guy in right field who is trying to play ball under a constant ring of ‘Mea Culpa’.

We are now entering the next phase of a team’s baseball life. And the chants are clear…’Mea Culpa’…they are silently praying for someone with Devine intervention to hear. We are all #watchingattanasio. ‘Mea Maxima Culpa’. It is time for cleansing. It is bead-time in this council grounds of the Potawatomi, this gathering land the Algonquian called beautiful land. All we want is a hope to win and…

Play Ball!

2 & 9

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One of the joys of baseball is the many parks that present the game. Chase Field in Phoenix is a terrific venue for baseball. Yankee Stadium is more of a cathedral. Wrigley is a trip back in time (now, more than ever with few bathrooms). Dodger Stadium is a great place to see a game. The Rangers Ballpark in Arlington is great if you are in a suite (it is extremely hot and uncomfortable for most of the games). Miller Park is one of the great restaurants in the nation as it is clear, eating is more important than the team on the field. But one of the most delightful baseball palaces is AT&T Park in San Francisco.

The view is frankly unbelievable. And the fans are absolutely into the game. They may be some of the best fans in the game today. Why is this possible? If you want to be outdoors (and what Californian doesn’t?), this is the place. If you want a view with your game, this is the place. If you want a winning tradition, this is the team. If you want post season play, this is the team that can provide it. And the food? This IS San Francisco.

So that was the way today’s article was going to go. It was more of a food oration rather than a venue description. But for the Pigsville crowd, wondering why the Cream City Nine is continuing their losing ways, gathering around the bar of Dave and Melanie’s at Sobelman’s Pub n Grill, the question is answered out loud: when are they going to fire the manager, Ron Roenicke? In what was one of Milwaukee’s original Schlitz taverns, another chimed in, ‘What about firing Doug Melvin? He’s the one who didn’t do anything in the off-season and told us that this is a better team than last year.’. The natives are getting restless in the land of bratwurst and beer.

The facts are that they now have the worst record in all of baseball. No team has won fewer games (2) and they are tied with the Marlins and Giants for the most losses (9) going into Sunday’s action. If not for Cole Hamels (7), Brandon McCarthy (6) or Anibal Sanchez (5), Kyle Lohse, the Cream City Nine’s #1 starting pitcher, would be leading the majors in most home runs given up in just the first two weeks of the season, four (4). As for fielding, the Miller Parkers have committed the third most errors so far this season (11), behind only the Washington Nationals and the New York Yankees. Milwaukee is ranked at the bottom of the hitting charts this season, as they rank #30 out of 30 teams. And they did fire their old hitting coach and replaced him this year. And, they are ranked #28 in pitching with a whopping 4.69 ERA. Needless to say, they lead the world in Opponents Batting Average, giving up a .290 average. Hit against Milwaukee and you have a shot at All-Star numbers.

The Brewers did make one move this off-season: they traded their #1 pitcher for whom they received…nothing of consequence. Let’s see…if you don’t pitch, you don’t hit and you don’t field…you become today’s new old Chicago Cubs.

So, how is this team better than last year’s team that folded like a paper cloth last season?

Come on, Ron, tell us. Come on, Doug. Tell us.

So in-between frustrating talk over a meal consisting of the best burger in Milwaukee, we are still #watchingattanasio.

Play Ball!

What…No Centerfielder?

This past Friday, the New York Yankees played the first of their 19 games against their chief rival, the Boston Red Sox. Nothing new there except it went on forever. To be exact, the Red Sox won 6-5 in 19 innings after going scoreless in more than 4 hours and 7 minutes. The game finished a little after 2AM (EST). 628 pitches were thrown in the game, as the Yankees pitchers threw 322 pitches, while the Red Sox staff threw 296. Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts saw a game-high 47 pitches in 8 at-bats. To give you an example of how ridiculous this was, Red Barrett of the Boston Braves on August 10, 1944 against the Cincinnati Reds at Crosley Field won on a complete game, 2-0, and threw only 58 pitches. In short, the game lasted a very long time…6 hours and 49 minutes to be exact. Which brought up a question…are we turning baseball into cricket?

The tradition ladened sport of cricket, decided to limit some of their match play to a one day event. This has led to great crowds and in Australia this year, drew over a million viewers on television for the finals of the Australia victory over New Zealand in the World Cup final. And to be specific about what long means with this sport, the longest Test lasted for 10 days which began in October and ended in November, 1939. The Durban Test match between South Africa and England was to be played as a timeless Test match and some eleven days later it was still left drawn since England had to begin their two-day rail journey back to their ship at Cape Town. It still remains the longest ever first-class match of ten days of actual play. The match was abandoned as a draw after 43 hours 16 minutes of actual play as the game finished at tea on the 11th day because of rain. Talk about kissing your sister.

All of this has led to a discussion…watch out purest…about speeding up the game of baseball and how it can be accomplished. One thought could be, after the game enters extra innings, remove the center fielder. What?

Think about it. We are not going millennial on anyone here. We are not talking about making baseball, a team sport, like basketball or football where a player who makes a play he should make pounds his chest, raising arms to the sky, and proclaiming himself the greatest ever. But basket ball did add the shot clock years ago to supply more scoring and thus, excite the fans. Football added the two point, extra point conversion, to attempt to reduce tie games.

Baseball, a generational sport, has always melded generations by bringing discovery to the game. The DH was created to do exactly that. But now, even a league where the DH is in place, still has games lasting into the next morning. In the case of the Yankees/Red Sox game, it finished with only 11 hours to get ready to play the next game on Saturday at 1:05P.

By removing the center fielder, the entire playing area opens up. Some think that the shortstop should be removed instead of the center fielder. Why not, after nine innings if the game is tied, remove the center fielder and if the game is still tied after ten innings remove the shortstop. Yup. Play the game with seven.

OK. We can already hear Bob Costas pontificate on this one. First, he will give you chapter and verse about the essence of the game and the symmetric beauty of simplicity of how the game has been played. He probably hated the fact that the players had to take their gloves into the dugout rather than leaving them on the field as they once did after every inning. No doubt he was against the mound changes. Think about it and he probably had a debate regarding the putting up of fences rather than leaving the ball to roll as far as it could in the good old days. We already know what he thinks about the Designated Hitter.

Some argue that the greatest era in baseball was what it has done in the past, according to the generation you speak with. But if we want the sport to extend into the next Century, the game has to be played quicker. The days of 6 hour games has to come to an end.

Remove the center fielder. Then…what do you think? Just add your comment.

Play Ball!