Sports Column: Let's make baseball weirder with even more new rules
MLB doubleheaders could get shortened to 7-inning games
NEW YORK — Ernie Banks famously said: “Let’s play two.” Baseball players just might not want to play nine innings twice in one day during this pandemic-delayed season. While Cleveland swept the Chicago White Sox in the first doubleheader of the season on Tuesday, union head Tony Clark called Deputy Commissioner Dan Halem and said players might want to consider shortened twinbills this year. The players’ association is surveying members and may propose either two seven-inning games for a twinbill of nine innings for the opener and seven for the nightcap.
The stat geeks are all excited, even if no one else seems to be. They’ve spent the first days of the baseball season analyzing a bunch of new numbers that show the possibilities — and probabilities — of runners scoring after being put on second base to open extra innings.
What they’ve found is interesting enough, though the sample size is small. Still, deciding whether to bunt or not with the first batter has at least introduced a bit of strategy into a game that in recent times has seemed intent on eliminating any deep thoughts.
The Chevaliers du fiel stop their column on France Bleu
© Les Chevaliers du Fiel France Bleu - SCREEN CAPTURE YOUTUBE The knights of the gall record a column on France Bleu The comedians will present a new column on August 31 on the waves of the radio Laughter and songs. The Chevaliers du Fiel will leave France Bleu at the start of the school year to join Rire & Chansons with a morning column, the NRJ group announced on Monday, owner of the radio with sketches.
Assuming the pandemic doesn't cause the season to come to a crashing close — a big assumption right now — they’ll also soon be able to dive into the seven-inning doubleheaders and come up with numbers that show the proper way to handle pitchers. And they’ll study what needs to be done to make the new playoffs, though with 16 teams that’s easy enough even for those of us who weren’t paying much attention in math class.
But why stop there? Like it or not we have a weird new season with some weird new rules. Let’s keep going to make baseball America’s favourite pastime once again.
Here’s a few more things baseball can do in this, a season like no other:
NEW COUNTS: Batters will now start with 1-1 counts, much like competitive softball. This will save on pitcher arms, ultimately allowing starters to go four, perhaps even five, innings.
Fox Sports Baseball Coverage Knocks It Out Of The Park In Return
In a much-loved Saturday Night Live skit, Garrett Morris’s take on veteran infielder Chico Escuela once noted that “Baseball been berry, berry good to me.” Fox Sports is saying much the same today, as the return of Major League Baseball has proved to be a ratings bonanza. The sports-starved audience boosted three of the network’s games into ratings bests, in some cases by double digits, according to Nielsen Media Research.
BIG HITS: Let’s face it, all home runs aren’t created equal. Some barely curve around a foul pole into the first row of seats, others are caught by the Wrigley Field ball hawkers on Waveland Avenue. For now on, any home run over 400 feet is worth two runs instead of one. This will give hitters the incentive to blindly swing as hard as they can and cut down on boring singles. Still to be determined is what to call a long home run with the bases loaded, which would now be worth five runs. Grander Slam?
PICK A PITCHER: Teams will have to warm up two relief pitchers at a time in the bullpen, something that should be doable in a season of expanded rosters. If a pitcher is pulled, the team at bat gets to pick which reliever it wants to face.
SCHEDULE: The Yankees must be scheduled to play at least a third of their games against the Orioles. Unless, of course, the Orioles have a winning record. Then the Yankees play the Red Sox like usual.
Baseball fans in South Korea back in stands amid COVID-19
SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of — Masked fans hopped, sang and shouted cheers in baseball stadiums in South Korea on Sunday as authorities began allowing spectators to return to professional sports amid the coronavirus pandemic. After a weeks-long delay, South Korea’s 2020 baseball season began in early May without fans in the stands amid a then-slowing virus outbreak in the country. Seats in baseball stadiums had since been filled with cheering banners, dolls or pictures of fans. On Sunday, the Korean Baseball Organization allowed a limited number of fans, or 10% of the stadium capacity, to watch games live.
SWING AND MISS: It’s tough to face 99 mph fastballs, and splitters that dive before they reach the plate. To help hitters, anyone who has swung twice and missed in an at-bat will be allowed to place the ball on a tee and hit.
POWER BALLS: With the coronavirus very much in play, umpires are tossing out new balls almost every time one gets touched. Under the new rules, two orange balls will be put in the umpire pouch at the start of each inning to be pulled out at random. The batter at the plate when the ball is put into play has the option of accepting a free pass to first base or taking a chance on spinning the wheel behind home plate that offers outcomes ranging from a ground out to a home run. The inning is automatically over if the wheel lands on a picture of Rob Manfred's face.
UMPIRE DISCIPLINE: Enough grousing about umpires who slow games down by missing obvious calls. Let’s do something about them. Umpires who have calls overturned will now have to sit on a big stool in the right field corner and wear a dunce cap for an inning.
MOUND VISITS: Eliminated, along with conferences on the mound. Talking behind gloves spreads the virus.
ROJAS RULE: There will be new protocols for deciding whether teams can play games because of the coronavirus. Final decisions will now go to Marlins shortstop Miguel Rojas, who will make the ruling. Rojas is also the designated relief bus driver for Covid Coaches that take infected teams that were on road trips back to their home city.
COVID RULE: Remember all those rules about spitting, high-fiving and wearing masks in the dugout? Start respecting them — and quick — or there will be no baseball.
And, one final new rule:
The next time a team cheats to win a World Series don’t punish the losing team for being upset about it.
___ Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org or http://twitter.com/timdahlberg
Tim Dahlberg, The Associated Press
Mike Trout calls for daily virus testing in return to Angels .
Mike Trout remains skeptical about the wisdom of completing the full baseball season amid the coronavirus outbreak, and the Los Angeles Angels' three-time AL MVP would like to see the addition of daily testing to the sport's safety measures. Trout spoke Tuesday after rejoining the Angels in Seattle following the birth of his first child. He missed four games after his wife, Jessica, gave birth to son Beckham Aaron Trout last Thursday. The sleep-deprived superstar got on the Angels' team plane Monday night with excitement and wariness.