A new rule in Olympic baseball has appeared just in time for baseball to bow out as an Olympic sport, thank goodness. If you haven't heard, the IOC decided to shorten the game we love, and make a change in the rules regarding extra inning games. If a game is tied going into the 11th, each team will get a weird mulligan....starting the 11th with men on 1st and 2nd and no outs.
NBC commentator and baseball color man Joe Magrane has called this new rule "garbage", probably the only thing he has said worth quoting so far. I must agree. One of the things that makes baseball so interesting is the extra-innings tension, the endless duel of whose bullpen can hold on longest, whose defense will lose concentration and slip up, whose manager will play just the right card in pinch-hitting, bullpen move or non-move. Baseball fans live for extra-innings. Those who don't should just put their damn football jerseys on and watch a clock somewhere.
Well, I think there were some better ideas they should have considered for shortening the games, and i will list them here.
At the start of the 10th inning of a tie game;
1) Make the entire outfield turn their backs to the plate until they hear the crack of the bat. Then they can spin around and try and find the ball. Better yet...wait until an ump blows a whistle, then have their teammates direct them to the general area of the baseball.
2) Make all defensive players switch positions ala volleyball rotation after each batter. Oh yeah...they have to use the same glove no matter where they are fielding (except the catcher, of course...I mean let's be reasonable!).
3) Have Beach Volleyball girls scrimmaging in the on-deck circle....sure to cause lapses in concentration! Hilarity ensues!
4) Put Joe Magrane's comments on the loudspeaker, with a nasty reverb effect. Or, make him sound like Christian Bale's laryngitic Batman. OK, so he probably doesn't need any help sounding awful. Just his voice amplified, and I guarantee players will gladly bobble a ball or serve up a meaty fastball in order to end the game asap.
5) Stop the game, and have an Equestrian Dressage event on the infield. Do NOT have the field crew clean up afterward. Hilarity ensues! Sure gives new meaning to the ever-popular horsesh*t call.
6) Reverse the amount of balls and strikes you need for a result. 3 balls, take your base. 4 strikes, yerrr out!
7) Move all the bases in to kickball distance. Outfit the infielders with hockey masks. Make the pitcher throw underhanded. Oh, hell....let's just put a tee up there and wail away!!!