Two drawings of the areas between the foul poles at major league stadiums. I kinda like that this combines the idea of an infographic with “art.”
Go for a walk on the moor. Feel the wind on your face. Clouds, grasses, heather, birds. Get away from the city, away from life. No cellphone reception, no scores, no line-ups, no statistics, no baseball. A break in the clouds, and the sun reveals the brightest of greens. And there, in the middle of that patch of green: a baseball game.
Digital painting done using the Brushes app on an iPad, based on this photograph.
It seems like at least once a season, there will be a bevy of tedious articles where people flap their hands and faint like ladies in Victorian novels about the length of baseball games and how that means people will soon stop going to games and watching on the television. Baseball is long and boring, they say, something has to change! I say NO! It’s too short and not boring enough MLB is not doing enough to stop people watching! This is my 20-point plan for making baseball better.
1. 7.05 p.m. first pitch? Pfff, that’s rubbish. Let’s start the games at 7.05 a.m. and snag that coming-home-from-a-night-shift demographic that all sports currently ignore. Plus ballpark breakfast food, knowhamsayin’?
2. Who doesn’t love the excitement of extra innings? Let’s make that the norm. 18-inning games. Double the pleasure. Double the fun. And if we’re still tied after 18 innings: extra innings!
3. Why are we putting so much pressure on pitchers to pitch quickly? Don’t we want them to be relaxed and mentally prepared? Take all the time you need, Daisuke.
4. Similarly, we want the batters to do the best they can, and if that means Derek Jeter needs to adjust his batting gloves twenty or thirty times before each pitch: so be it.
5. Who doesn’t love walk-up music? Well, let’s hear the whole song, not just a snippet.
6. After each at-bat has ended, one of the players’ children can appear on the big screen, calculating the updated statistics of that batter. With a pencil and paper, not using a calculator. That child could also gain some sort of school credit for doing this.
7. Catchers should be banned from throwing the ball back to the pitcher. They should have to take it to the mound and hand it the pitcher. And then the pitcher would say thank you.
8. God Bless America should be played between every half inning to remind attendees that they are American (in case they had forgotten to be patriotic), and that God exists (in case they had forgotten to be Christian). In Toronto, this still applies. Canadians need reminding that they are inferior to Unitedstatesofamericans.
9. But, we should be accommodating to Johnny Foreigner, because it’s not only Americans who play or watch baseball. Let’s play the anthems from the countries of all the players on the rosters that day! American! Canadian! Dominican! Venezuelan! Cuban! Japanese! Mexican! Australian! Curaçaoan! Saudi Arabian!
10. I’m not a scientist, so I don’t know if this would actually work, but it feels like it might: put airtight roofs on all stadiums, fill them with helium, give every player and spectator oxygen masks, and let’s see how many massive home runs the batters can hit. Helium is less dense than air, so that should work, right? We’d have longer, higher-scoring games. Just like in the Mexican League!
11. After the seventh-inning stretch and the playing of the full length version of Take Me Out to the Ball Game, why not have a special guest reading out some delightful poems?
12. Players should be obligated to take their own batting gloves and elbow and shin protector things to the dugout after reaching base. Similarly, runners left on base at the end of an inning have to collect their mitts themselves rather than having a team employee doing it.
13. The designated non-hitter. While the American League is all modern and has a DH, and the National League is all old-fashioned and allows its fans to feel superior, both leagues are missing a designated non-hitter. An extra player in the line-up would be something the MLBPA would adore. Let’s extend the careers not just of players who can no longer play defense very well, let’s extend the careers who can no longer hit very well either! Or just give a spot in the line-up to a player we all love. Ken Griffey Jr. could still be a Mariner! That player would be the tenth in the batting order, and would come to the plate, tip his cap, and return to the dugout. Joe Maddon could even have him non-batting clean-up if he wanted.
14. The fourteenth inning of every game could be brought to you by Sony PlayStation 4. Two chairs will be brought the batter’s boxes, and placed facing the big screen. A PlayStation 4 will be put on home plate. Whoever is due to pitch and hit that inning will sit in the chairs and play as themselves for one inning. This will undoubted speed up the game, so Sony can organise for people to dress up like big furry PlayStation controllers and race, similar to Milwaukee’s sausages. They will compete in a 5,000 meter race around the warning track.
15. Screenings of Andy Warhol’s Empire in the middle of the fifteenth inning.
16. Water cooler breaks for the players. Baseball is a sport. Sports mean players sweat. The body needs to replace that water lost to sweat. Let’s get a load of water coolers (prime sponsorship opportunity, Commissioner) and put one at each position so the pitchers, second basemen, center fielders, etc. can get refreshed and have a nice chat.
17. Premier League breaks. Due to my proposed 7.05 a.m. start times, that will, because of time zone difference, allow some synergy with the World’s Greatest Sports League: the English Premier League. Whenever a scintillating 0-0 draw is about to happen, the umpire calls a 90-minute time out so everyone in the park can watch Sunderland vs. Stoke City.
18. John Cage’s 4’33″ will be played and observed in complete silence. Any noise made in the stadium will mean that we have to start again from the beginning.
19. During the seventeenth inning, the t-shirt gun people will keep launching t-shirts into the crowd until every single spectator has a t-shirt.
20. Ballpark security is replaced with the National Guard midway through the game. They create an exclusion zone and no longer permit people from leaving the ballpark until the season is over. Get back in your seat, NOW! At the end of the season, attendees will be permitted to leave, but only until Opening Day the following season, when they will be required BY LAW to return to their seats.
Feel free to use all of these suggestions as you please, Commissioner-elect Manfred.
Last week, there was an article about Zinedine Zidane on Deadspin.
The photo they used really should be an album cover. Regard:
This version, by Eumir Deodato, apparently won a Grammy in 1973. But then, Skrillex has won Grammys so the award is pretty meaningless. (via the excellent Things Magazine)
My new post at NotGraphs is about the Diablos Rojos and their now ex-ballpark Foro Sol.
I’ve been keeping a chart of my sleep for eight years for whatever absurd reason I feel justifies such behaviour:
Click here to see it full-size.
This week’s post for NotGraphs is a short story called “October 27, 2011″ set during game 6 of the Cardinals-Rangers World Series. http://www.fangraphs.com/not/october-27-2011
Here’s a series of drawings regarding a very healthy British meal, the Full English Breakfast.
Forgot to mention these things I did for NotGraphs, coz I iz dumm:
It’s just wrong that eggplant comes before egg when you type “fried e” into Google.
(And this is not an eggplant vs. aubergine thing, but, y’know, aubergine is a way better word, America.)