Thursday, May 28, 2009

It Ain't Broke, and Rick Reilly is Just Enough of a Dumbass to Fix It

Although he's a real baggadouche, I usually shy away from ripping on Reilly's articles. But right now I have a bone to pick. A few days ago, he did something very personally offensive to me. Here's a rhetorical question: Is it possible to "jinx" a team which is a perennial loser, wasn't even expected to make the playoffs this year, and is more or less playing with the house's money by reaching the conference finals? Well, Rick was more than willing to find out when he wrote this article about how great it would be for the Denver Nuggets to win a championship this year. Don't get me wrong- my complaint isn't even about jinxes. I don't believe in them because I'm not a dipshit Cubs fan. It's about writing a moronic article about my favorite NBA team. I know Reilly, like me, is a Colorado native. But that doesn't give him carte blanche to write bullshit fluff articles about Colorado teams. STAY AWAY FROM MY ALLEGIANCES, REILLY. I FUCKING MEAN IT.

So, with that established, let's see how Rick would "fix" baseball. Because clearly it is broken.

I personally find baseball so crushingly boring I would happily plunge knitting needles into my eyes to avoid another snap zoom of Joe Torre's nostril hairs.

Where is the celebrity pop culture reference here? We're a whole one sentence in and he hasn't even mentioned Octomom or Bristol Palin. Couldn't he have said "I'd rather hear more about the Pitt-Jolie-Aniston love triangle than watch baseball!" and called it a day?

But my buddies like it, so I sit and watch with them. And bitch.

And talk about horse racing for hours, without realizing that it's entirely predicated on gambling and profit maximization.

"Why do all these ballparks have to be so precious?" I was opining the other night. "You take Houston's. Why does it have a rise in centerfield for no apparent reason? Why is there a train running along the fence? Any chance we could stick the architect under it? Why is the outfield wall in San Francisco made of five different substances and at five different heights? What is this, pachinko? I mean, if I were commissioner … "

This from a guy whose favorite sport is golf. The quintessential "unique venue" sport. How come the 17th green at Sawgrass is on a tiny island? Any chance we can drown Reilly in the adjoining lake?

And that's when my buddy spun around on me, red-faced, and yelled, "Tell you what! I hope you do end up commissioner! But until then, just shut up and watch the game!!!"

I was shocked into silence. Because I realized, "He thinks I could be commish!"

Well, to be fair, Bug Selig is probably on the short list of people who have done more to ruin my enjoyment of sports than Rick Reilly. So go for it, Rick. You're (somehow) the lesser of two evils here.

And so, I am hereby announcing my candidacy. Bud Selig is, what, 108? And here are the things I'll change before I even hang my coat on the door peg:

1) More puns. 2) More stories about parapalegic blind kids who made a free throw this one time. 3) More Britney Spears.

1) We'll put in a pitch clock. The reason baseball is slower than cold honey tipped over is that there's no clock when men are on base.

There is already a rule for this. I think it's something like 20 seconds between pitches. It is never enforced because most baseball fans don't care. I'd say the real reason for games getting longer and longer is the ever-expanding amount of time between half innings, so that teams and MLB can cram in as many commercials as possible. I can't prove that, but strongly suspect it's the case. Anyways, my counter-solution to this problem: give Rick more shiny things to play with if and when he's watching a game.

You get 10 seconds to shoot a free throw. Golf penalizes you for taking more than 40 seconds over a shot. A chair umpire takes a point from a player who uses more than 25 seconds to serve after a dead ball.

All of these are always enforced. Always.

But umps let hitters step out of the box to readjust their socks, belts, sleeves, gloves, jerseys and helmets -- after a ball!


They let pitchers fuss endlessly with their rosin bags, the rubber and their eternally askew cups, while we fans decide which of our peanuts resemble presidents.

Or celebrities!

But with my 15-second pitch clock, we get the hitter in the box, the pitcher on the mound and everybody in their homes by 10 p.m. We get two-hour-15-minute games instead of four-hour sunburns. We get World Series games that kids can see end. And not a dime of ad money is lost!

Yeah, wouldn't want to upset that little arangement. Lord knows MLB has been hemorrhaging money for years. God forbid any solution to this "problem" of game length prevent me from watching at least 90 minutes of Cialis commercials during every broadcast.

2) Once a week, every player signs autographs for 10 minutes by the dugout.

How else is Rick going to get fodder for saccarhine-sweet stories about how swell it is when athletes are nice?

Don't tell me you're too busy, Mr. Seven-Car Garage. I've seen you elbows-deep in the clubhouse porn stash.

That sounds an awful lot like jealousy. Quit bogarting all the porn, Ichiro.

3) We'll bring in Olympic testing. Saying "baseball players cheat" is like saying "wolves like hamburger."

It's like saying Lindsay Lohan likes media attention!

In the Small-Balls era, nobody -- not the players, not the owners, not the writers -- tried to stop it. Where were all these books when we needed them?

I don't know, Smartpants. Why weren't you writing one?

But when I bring in the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) -- and let it test anytime, road or home -- we'll finally see who's faker than Octomom's lips.

Finally with the pop culture. Jeez. Thought he was never going to get there.

4) If you're 0-for-4, the crowd picks your at-bat music. Is it my fault if they choose "Nothing From Nothing" by Billy Preston?

Hooooooo! Now there's something that could really entertain fans who find the game boring. Counter-solution: any song Rick likes is removed from all stadium sing catalogs across the league.

5) The National League will get the DH. No more pitchers swinging a bat at a ball the way Paris Hilton swings a shovel at a moth.

OMG Paris! Now we're on a roll. Have to disagree with Rick here, though. If you're the kind og scholar who thinks baseball is boring, you should probably prefer to see the comedy that can ensue when a pitcher tries to hit. It's a refreshing change of pace I would think.

6) We'll fine more players. The NFL fines guys $5,000 for not having their socks right. Nuggets forward Kenyon Martin got a $25,000 fine for shoving a guy. But often, Selig yawns when pitchers throw 95 mph retaliation beanballs. You want to brain a guy just because he stood in the box after his moon shot? Okay. We'll fine you until your kids end up in public school.

I hate to get all serious in my criticism of this article, but again, the same logic as above applies. So Rick is bored by baseball- and he thinks that removing beanballs from the game will change that? He should love beanballs and brawls. They're awesome. Or maybe he 1) wants to see more crazy home run celebrations and thus wants to remove any obstacle that prevents their happening or 2) doesn't expect pitchers to throw fewer beanballs if this rule were put into effect, he just thinks fines are really exciting.

7) Umps will be in charge of rainouts year round, not the home team. I'm sick of seeing a full house soak for two hours 59 minutes waiting for the manager to get word from his owner to call it, just because the greedball wants to sell more $9 beers. We'll put Double Doppler 9000 in the umps' room, and they'll decide in under an hour.

Counter-solution: any fans who stick around through the duration of a rainout get their ticket refunded with money from Rick's outrageous salary. I hate greedy owners. But his 5 year, $10 million contract with ESPN is far more offensive to me than any $8 slice of pizza or $6 churro ever could be.

8) Balls that hit the foul pole are foul. Duh.

First time anyone's ever made that joke. I'm pretty sure Rick owes royalties to Ernest Thayer on it.

9) A prospect won't be allowed to enter an MLB farm system until he's the age of a college sophomore, just like in the NBA. Over the years, I've noticed most baseball players are dumber than toe lint.

Athletes in other pro sports are totally different though. You can just tell when the average NBA or NFL player is being interviewed that those 1-4 years he spent pretending to be in college have drastically raised his intelligence level.

This is because many of them report to the minors even before graduating high school.

(whispered) Pssst! He's talking about players from Latin America! (spoken) So, making them play amateur ball for a year or two before being drafted is clearly the answer.

10) And most important, if you're the dweeb fan on your cell behind home plate waving at the camera, the rest of your section gets to pour beer down your shorts.

Well we can all agree on that.

Now shut up and watch the game.

Will do. Just as soon as you quit your job, agree to never work in the sports media ever again, donate any money you've made in that field to charity, and print a retraction for everything you've ever written.


Tonus said...

Good one on nailing him on making games shorter without cutting any commercials. And then later he has the gall to call owners greedy for waiting to call a rainout so they can sell a few more beers.

PS Larry- not the pineapple! Anything but the pineapple!!!

dan-bob said...

I was going to do this article.

Fuck Rick Reilly with a fork.

Chris W said...

1.) Bud Selig. I mean...he's no David Stern

2.) Yes, Rick, let's make players go to college for 2 years. It's not like players don't spend enough time in the minors already.

Hell, I'd love it if college could be a legitimate developmental league like NCAA basketball or football, but it's not (and won't be, probably, till MLB starts subsidizing wooden bats, among other things). And to make kids go to college for two fucking years means we'll get a hell of a lot more 26 year old rookies.


Jarrett said...

But with my 15-second pitch clock, we get the hitter in the box, the pitcher on the mound and everybody in their homes by 10 p.m. We get two-hour-15-minute games instead of four-hour sunburns. We get World Series games that kids can see end. And not a dime of ad money is lost!Except for the ads that change every half inning that you can't sell for as much because people aren't looking at them for that long. (Even though these might be sold on an attendance basis as opposed to length of appearance.)

Or the ads that are visible all game, that are suddenly seen 45 minutes less.

Or the lost revenue from concession and souvenir sales because the games move faster so there is less time to sell things.

I may not be a big city accountant, *snaps suspenders* but there have to be other economic factors that I'm missing.

Not to draw the ire of everybody else here, and I say this as a baseball fan, but how exactly does speeding up the pitches make it less boring? I think the changes to make it more exciting would be adding weaponry or removing players so there is more offense.

Chris W said...

Speeding up pitches makes it less boring in exactly zero ways, IMO

Martin said...

And The Rickster even fails at basic math. With his 15 second pitch clock, the typical game would take about 62 minutes to play, lets bump it up another 18 minutes for mound meetings and pitching changes. 80 minutes. TV commercials would add another 34 minutes to the game. That's not 2 1/2 hour games Rick, that's 114 minute games, or 6 minutes less then 2 hours. Heck I'll even give ya those 6 minutes, so that's still 30 minutes that it's off by.

Rickster fails to discuss throws to first or other pick off attempts. Do they count against the clock? Does that fucker keep counting down even if a pick off is made? How about not allowing runners to steal bases, eliminating the need to hold runners on, that should shave another few minutes off each game.

Maybe we could convince Rickster to plagerize even more columns that he wrote at SI, that should really speed up the game...

Anonymous said...

he wrote nearly this same article in si in 2003.

cs said...

Yeah, this article is a rehash. Pretty shameful for a guy pulling in millions a year. Didn't he get like a year off between stints at SI and ESPN? Wasn't he supposed to be doing shit and coming up with new material?

And, am I the only one who almost vomitted after that opening "hanging out with his buddies" scene? He's like Bill Simmons, but really, really, REALLY uninteresting.

And Octomom? OCTOMOM? Dude, seriously.

Fred Trigger said...

writers didnt try to stop the steroids because they were busy writing things like this.

Jack M said...

Well played, Fred.

Larry said...

I thought umps were in charge of calling rain outs already? You're telling me the current system allows the home coach to call it?

Michael said...

8) Balls that hit the foul pole are foul. Duh.Apparently to add to the "excitement of the game" he'd rather have a boring foul ball instead of an home run.

Tonus said...

Straight outta wikipedia:

"Before a baseball game commences, unless it is the second game of a doubleheader, the manager of the home team is in charge of deciding whether or not the game should be delayed or canceled due to rain or other inclement weather (see Rule 3.10 of baseball's Official Rules). Once the home team manager hands his lineup card to the umpire shortly before the game is to begin, the umpire-in-chief has sole discretion to decide if a game should be delayed or canceled (see Rule 3.10 and Rule 4.01 of the Official Rules)."

Short version: Reilly is almost half-right. The home team is only in charge before they hand in the lineup cards, then it's the umpire's call.

Elliot said...

Jumping in late on this one, but it's only because when I initially read Reilly's article I had to be admitted to the hospital with debilitating nausea.

1) What is Reilly's punishment for violating his (supposedly) time saving pitch clock? 5 yard penalty and replay the down? 2 minutes for boring? Come on Commish, you gotta think things like that through.

2) Considering that, as LB astutely pointed out, the man's favorite sport is golf, you'd think he would find MLB games far more fast paced. I've attempted to watch non-grand slam tournament coverage, and I think I'd rather watch Rick's nostril hair grow than attempt it again. Golf is, without a doubt, the most boring sport to watch on TV. If Rick wants to speed up a sport, he should tell Phil and Tiger they only have 1 hour to plan out their putts instead of the usual 7.

3) I don't know if Mr. Reilly has been to a baseball game lately, but I have yet to get to a game early and see zero players signing autographs during warm-ups. Maybe if he was an actual baseball fan, and not just a whiny bitch, he wouldn't be harping on one of the most autograph friendly sports of the major four for not being more autograph friendly.

There, that relieved my nausea--slightly.