Over at the Atlantic, which is a Serious Journal by and for Serious People and which, as the name suggests, is housed deep within the intrepid waters of the ocean to your right if you’re facing north, Conor Friedersdorf has some ideas about how to make sports more palatable to those among us who prefer that their cultural pursuits not last long and be shitty. Here’s Mr. Friedersdorf’s baseball thought experiment:
Presumably I’ll never persuade purists to eliminate a whole inning. So I’ll offer my next best suggestion: allow managers one opportunity per game to borrow an out or two from a later inning. So it’s the bottom of the third. There are two outs, with men on first and third. Your batter strikes out. And you can decide to borrow an out or two in order to try and drive in those runs… but it’s going to cost you, because once the current inning ends the opposing manager gets to decide at his leisure when to charge you that out or two.
Like most proposals for radical change, this has not a whit of a scintilla of a chance of happening, but it’s decidedly less half-baked than most of its species. Usually, we get indeterminate bleats like, “MAKE THINGS GO QUICKER NOW!” or things like, “PAY CUTS FOR ANY PLAYER WHO IS RUDE TO A DAILY NEWS COLUMNIST!” or, “MAKE PITCHER PITCH BAT, MAKE HITTER HIT WITH BALL!” or “ARGH!” Mr. Friedersdorf’s, at least, sounds like something worth trying in rec-league softball, which means Charlie Finley could’ve come up with it during a Dewar’s bender. (Lest it seem otherwise, that’s totally a compliment.)
As for how to improve our fair game, the NotGraphs Highly Reputable and Totally Real Think Tank needs your help. To get you started, here’s one heavily focus-grouped suggestion: pre-game flyovers by Falcon Heavy.