The Leadoff: Baseball needs more drama

It happens every year right around this time. Football is over and done with and we’ve all been forced to endure a Sunday without our fix. Basketball is temporarily suspended while in the middle of the All-Star break and without the Olympics this past week we would have been essentially sports-less.

Even though the games stop, the gasbags and blowhards on the sports networks still need something to fill their three hours of sports content. Sure, a mock draft here or there can fill up an entire day arguing about why throwing accuracy numbers don’t matter when it comes to evaluating the tall, strong, white, quarterbacks that look like Prince Charming (Josh Allen) but somehow it does matter to the fast, elusive, black quarterback, Lamar Jackson, who won the Heisman and has top five numbers in almost every important statistical category.

We could talk about all of that, but I think we can all agree on one thing — no matter what quarterback the Browns take, he will turn out to be the worst one in the draft class and the Browns will continue to be the laughing stock of the NFL. The only absolutes we have in this world are death, taxes, and the Browns botching their early draft picks (Oh and also Kobe fading away from the elbow as time expires over three defenders while every member of his team is wide open).

No, we are here to talk about baseball and the proposed rule changes! Baseball purist better change their underwear because things are about to get crazy. The MLB came out this week and made their first move in an attempt to speed up baseball and hopefully bring the average game time under three hours.

Their brilliant strategy… only six mound visits per a game, not including pitching changes. It is such a radical idea I don't even know how they came up with it. You mean out of the nine innings in a game there is going to be three of them where everyone can’t meet up at the mound and talk about what they are going to get Jimmy and Millie for their wedding present?

I laugh at baseball and the feudal attempts to make it look like they are actually trying to change the game for young people. It’s like when your girlfriend says she has picked out her outfit already so it won't take her as long to get ready. We both know it's going to take exactly the same amount of time, but, hey, at least she tried.

How about some REAL FUN? I first heard this rule proposal on “The Lebatard Show” (Stu Gotz said it) about a year ago when they were talking about how to fix baseball. Many of their ideas were ludacris, such as having the warning track replaced with a trampoline (I don’t actually think that is ludacris. I think that would be the most bitchin’ thing ever, but let's be realistic).

What is the one thing baseball lacks more than any other major sport? When it's crunch time, game on the line, season on the line, the teams and the fans are often deprived of seeing their star players have a chance to make a difference based purely on random luck. Think about it — these teams pay their top hitters hundreds of millions of dollars, but when they are down by one, with three outs to go, they will trot out the seven, eight and nine hitters and basically wave the white flag. Yes, I know they can pinch hit, just bear with me, OK?

The idea is, what if, in the ninth inning alone, managers can send to the plate WHOEVER THEY WANT. Now that’s drama people. Yankees are down one run to the Redsox and next up comes Sanchez, Judge, and Stanton!?! Let's get the stars performing in the clutch. Imagine Tom Brady not getting a chance to lead the game-winning drive because of random chance.

Think how preposterous that is. “Sorry Tom. We know you are the face of the franchise and our best player but you threw the ball last drive so now it's Hoyer’s turn for the last drive of the game.” Or “Sorry LeBron James, you don't get to take the last shot, or even be on the court for it because J.R. Smith didn't make his three’s last quarter.”

I'm also in favor of this move because I feel baseball managers largely do nothing over the course of a season that actually effects win totals. Every dude who watches his team with any regularity can tell you pretty much every move a manager is going to make. I tend to think the best managers are really the best cheerleaders and motivators. Look at Joe Madden. Is it his Xs and Os that make him great? No. It’s his ability to connect with his team and keep them loose.

Would it make the game shorter? Nope, probably not, but is it actually going to get shorter by taking away a couple mound visits? Hell no, but at least we can crank up the drama!


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