Greetings from Grand Junction, purple hazed people, where the air is dry and the future is bright. I've got a lot of writing to do about my amazing week with the rookie club but I just couldn't go another week without delivering something for the tens of PHI fans. I know how y'all can get when you don't get your fix. A submission from community member jrockies marks the official entry of the Rowbots into this crazy fray. It's a pretty quick hit this week, so prepared to get run over by the hazy bus.
Idea #1: Intentional Walk Penalties
This isn't really my idea. I think I stole it from Jeff Aberle. Or maybe it was Bryan or Greg. I have heard a handful of conversations around this issue before as well, but this is a fresh and hazy version where possibilities are endless.
Intentional walks are annoying. No one really likes them. Not the hitter, not the pitcher, and certainly not the fan who paid money he didn't really have to get into a game only to find out that Carlos Gonzalez wasn't in the lineup only to watch him come up in a big pinch hitting situation only to receive the IBB. Okay, that last thing wasn't a hypothetical.
There needs to be stiffer penalties for deciding to pass on the other team's best hitters. I like the idea that the intentionally walked batter could go directly to second base. Heck, this is PHI, I would be in favor of him being allowed to walk directly to second, crossing over the pitchers mound free to stare down the opposition that was scared to face him.
You could have it work so that a solo runner on second or third cannot advance home on a IBB. If there are runners on second and third or if the basses are juiced, a run would score. Or you could go totally hardcore and just make it a two-base penalty where all runners advance.
Sound a bit harsh? How about, then, just disincentivizing the intentional walk by giving the next batter an automatic ball or two. Ok, you can walk Troy Tulowitzki, but now you have to pitch to Michael Cuddyer in an immediate 2-0 hole. Or maybe the guy you walked gets an auto ball or two in his next at-bat. Pass on him now, but you better hope his next AB doesn't come with the bases loaded and nowhere to put him, and starting him off in a hitter's count.
Bryan Kilpatrick wrote earlier this year that baseball TV viewership is on the down-slide. Conventional wisdom says more offense equals more viewers. The intentional walk is normally used to mitigate the damage that the best hitters in the game can do, damage we all came to the ballpark to see.
In other sports, taking the game (or the ball) out of the hands of the other team's best player is usually a very tough balancing act. Offenses try to run clock to keep Peyton Manning off the field. Defenses sag and play help side to try to contain LeBron James. But these strategies often backfire because the rules of the game allow truly great players to shine. You can't simply walk Peyton or LeBron. Baseball should give its truly great players more opportunities to shine by imposing stiffer strategic penalties on the intentional walk.
Idea #2: 40-man All-Star Game rosters
OT(ish) Idea: Accent font
I made a silly joke in the Game Thread a few days ago and it led me to this idea. You see, Michael Cuddyer and Wilin Rosario had just hit back-to-back home runs. The ROOT sports commercial with Wilin and bench coach Vinny Castilla immediately jumped into my head and being the self-amused clever boy that I am I wrote: "watch you back-to-back, baby bull."
It got a few laughs and a few recs, but my sensitive ego was not fully appeased. I wasn't sure the joke fully landed without an appropriate accompanying voice. Then it occured to me; there should be font for different kinds of accents.
Less even for the sake of clarity and more just for fun, wouldn't it be cool if each variation and dialect of a language got its own font? Then there might actually be a reason to have so many of them. How about some bubbly letters for British? They can get more and more bubbly the posher the accent. Maybe some hard scratches for urban American ... I don't know, I'm just spit-balling here. Thoughts?
Check back next week when I hope to start round one of the Baseball Umpire Terribad Tournament (BUTT). Until next time. Peace, Rowmies.