The first idea today is actually a combination of two ideas, one of which I stole from our own Craig Baker who wrote me a while back and suggested, "Manager's choice for one aluminum bat AB during the game? They call timeout and elect to give their hitter an aluminum bat. I don't know if I have the understanding of the half baked deal down yet."
"I like that one. I sometimes like to think of them as the ideas that would come to you in the middle of a boring business meeting (or GMs meeting) that you would really want to say, but probably wouldn't. Sure, what you just suggested would never in a million years happen, but if it did the day it was implemented MLB would set its all-time TV viewership records."
This is the essence behind PHI. I wanted to include this explanation in case some readers were still curious as to exactly what kind of space this column exists in, especially if you have never heard the podcast of which it was originally based. I hope more and more community members will get involved, either with submitting of ideas -- the way Gasstation1 did last week with his umpire relegation idea -- or by remembering to contribute some good-natured ribbing. Making fun of these ideas is half the fun!
And now we're goin' off the rails on a hazy train.
Idea #1: PED Aluminum Bat Home Run Derby
I liked the one aluminum at-bat per game idea. It is pretty self-explanatory and it could certainly add an interesting element to the strategy of the game; when do you play your aluminum AB card? The downside? Someone might get killed. So I thought of ways to add on to it. We discussed a few weeks back some additions to the All-Star game so my brain jumped inevitably to aluminum bats in the Home Run Derby.
This almost seems like too good an idea (not quite hazy enough), as it would actually probably be pretty fun to watch the normal competitors get a few swings with some aluminum bats during the derby just to see how far they can hit it. Then, as I was formulating this idea, it was reported that MLB is seeking to suspend about 20 more players on the suspicion of PED use. And it all clicked.
I usually hate this topic. I love baseball and hate PED use, but still believe that many users should still find their way to the hall of fame. Many I know who feel similarly have suggested that we let guys like Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire in to the HOF, but with some kind of notation as to their suspected drug use. I have a better solution: the PED Aluminum Bat Home Run Derby.
By competing in the PED AB HRD (gonna need a snappier acronym) you are openly admitting to having used PEDs during your playing career. Rather than have it be some miserable press conference that no one (including fans and the players themselves) really wants to sit through, we can actually make this a celebration. Let them admit what they have done by entering into a contest to show us what they can still do.
Once you enter, you can no longer have PEDs held against you for HOF voting, but the picture of you holding an aluminum bat at the PED Home Run Derby will be the first, and most visible, part of your display. In other words, it will be a universal sign to anyone who visits the hall that these particular guys used, admitted it, and put on one more show for the fans.
Wouldn't you tune in to see Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro, and the like (soon to add Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun) swing a metal bat, hit some 500 ft. bombs, and ask for forgiveness? One catch to this whole thing would be, if you are already inducted into the HOF and then it is discovered that you have used PEDs, but not participated in the Derby, you are automatically disqualified from the hall.
Doing this highly incentivizes players telling the truth. Well except pitchers ... I guess you could have Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, and etc. throw behind the L screen. Either way, this makes it so that people who used can come forward, tell the truth, accept the consequences and clear the air for the guys who played during that era who didn't use. Whether it is viewed as a celebration or a mockery of the players involved, the PED Aluminum Bat Home Run Derby just makes the world better for everyone.
Idea #2: Added World Series Implications
There are some national writers who believe that MLB needs to do something to draw more interest in the World Series. One way to add a little juice for the fans who don't care about the two teams involved would be to make a rule where the World Series determined the set of rules ALL INTERLEAGUE GAMES would be played under during the following season. If the AL team wins, there will be a DH in every interleague game next season and the following World Series. If the NL teams wins, pitchers will have to hit in every interleague game next season and the following World Series. This would help reestablish the animosity between fans of teams from different leagues that existed in decades past and would suddenly make the result of the World Series directly impact games every team will play the following season. If MLB wants fans of all teams to have another reason to watch the World Series, this would certainly give them one.
So far, the only thing I don't like about this is that home field for the World Series is still determined by the winner of the All-Star game. Or as I like to call it "the-fans-mostly-of-San-Francisco-choose-the-wrong-players-for-an-exhibition-baseball-game game."
I like the idea of reestablishing animosity between leagues and especially dig the fact that many fans would be put in odd positions, i.e. Rockies fans cheering for the Giants in the World Series because they don't want to have to use the DH next season.
I also like the idea that the league that wins the World Series could decide their own "natural rivals" the following season. The team that wins the World Series gets first pick, then the next one down and so on. Now that there is actually strength of schedule in baseball, might as well reward last year's winners by being able to pick an easier (or at least perceived easier) schedule. If this system was in place last year the Giants would be playing a lot more games against the Astros.
Idea #3: Sports Movie Czar
This technically should be an off-topic idea, but I'm already cheating at my own game. See, at the end of this year I would like to do a tournament of champions NCAA basketball-style bracket for all of the Purple Hazed Ideas. The OT ideas are mostly lagging behind and I didn't want this one to wipe up the competition in that part of the bracket.
Anyway, however you classify it, every sports movie should have a Sports Movie Czar. I've noticed, on a few thousand occasions, that many sports films have obvious and easily fixable flaws in the way they portray the actual game. The most recent example I can think of comes from the film 42. More than once, the film is edited so that we see Jackie Robinson take his lead, then we see the pitcher throw his pitch, then we see the ball crossing home plate, and then we see the shot of Jackie taking off for second. This is completely and utterly absurd. If Jackie left when the edit suggests he did, he would have been out by 10 feet.
This is a simple fix, too. Had the Sports Movie Czar been standing right there, s/he could have told them to cut to Jackie taking off right after the pitcher starts to move, then show us the rest of his delivery and the ball crossing the plate. Too many films have too many issues like this that end up ruining them for what should be at least a sizable portion of their target audience: knowledgeable sports fans.
There should be one person whose job it is to veto and/or re-edit any scene where the play on the field, court, or rink doesn't match up with the way the game is actually played. Football players shouldn't be leaping and tackling each other mid-air constantly. Almost every basketball movie ever made includes excessive carry-overs and traveling, although I guess so do some NBA games.
I would humbly (well about as humbly as I do anything) offer my services, as I'm sure many would, to be the Czar on any number of films for the simple pay of food and shelter during the shoot. More sports movies might end up looking like this. And that is not such a bad thing.