Everything about baseball goes by too fast. It needs to be slowed down, stretched out, made to last longer. Eight balls for a walk, with the intentional kind requiring sworn affidavits pertaining to original intent as well as footnoted dissertations regarding the true meaning of purpose. Seven strikes for an out. Five…no, six outs to an inning. Twenty-three innings to a game, unless it’s tied after twenty-three, then they gotta play twenty-three more.
Batters need to step out between pitches every pitch. Pitchers need to meet with their catchers between every batter and pull up a chair if the count reaches seven-and-six. Coaches, managers, therapists and spiritual advisors can and should visit the mound frequently enough to earn a nightly footlong from Subway.
The season needs to start sooner, say January 1. The season needs to end later, say a year from January 1. Spring Training can take place during mound visits from October to December. All games should begin five minutes after the hour every hour. If we don’t like the way the game that began at 7:05 is going, we layer a new score on top of it at 8:05, and we keep going until we’ve put twenty-three or forty-six or more innings in the books.
The goal of lengthening baseball is to make it less and less like other sports, endeavors and distractions. All of life that isn’t baseball is a distraction from baseball. Baseball is essentially perfect as is, but these changes will make it more perfect and presumably more attractive to people who haven’t yet figured out how perfectly attractive baseball is. The more baseball, the better. Baseball fans can attest to that. Non-baseball fans will now be given every opportunity to figure this out for themselves.
By keeping going and never stopping, baseball will become more pervasive until there is no chance that it can be avoided, though why anyone would want to avoid baseball is beyond the comprehension of baseball fans — the people who already love baseball and can’t get enough baseball and support baseball and anticipate baseball and find the defensive posture of those who wish to make baseball more palatable to the portion of the population that doesn’t recognize its essential perfection absurd.
Speaking of defensive posture, all fielders will henceforth shift so much that we will forget what positions they play. Should balls get by them, time will be called and they will be summarily replaced by another fielder on the 85-man roster, except in September, when there are 105 players available (half of them lefty relievers), and November, when there are no limits on personnel and all mitts come equipped with handwarmers.
An alternative to this total-immersion approach to broadening the essentially perfect game’s appeal is to more or less leave it the fudge alone. I’m good with that, too. I’m good with what works for those who’ve embraced baseball their entire lives and those who are intrigued enough to begin embracing baseball at first sight. Baseball is for everybody. If everybody isn’t for baseball, that’s everybody else’s problem.