5 Ways to Speed up Major League Baseball and Rescue Bored Fans

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photo credit: Scott Ableman via photopin cc

Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig was discussing the pace of the game on ESPN’s Mike and Mike in the Morning show. He and the hosts all agreed that the game moves too slowly. I couldn’t agree more.

Regular readers of Brilliant or Insane likely know there is no love lost between MLB and me. Baseball is already like an aching tooth in many ways, so perhaps I’m a bit biased. Still, I think even the most ardent fan will agree that a Major League Baseball game is sort of like a drive-in double, featuring Schindler’s List and Titanic.

Speeding up Baseball

Baseball can spark my interest with these 5 ways to speed up the game, so I’m not spending more than a couple of hours on my lazy Sundays at the ballpark.

  1. Allow pitchers only two pickoff attempts: Granted, some of these suggestions may be a bit out of the strike zone, if I may, but this one is serious. How often do you see a runner on first base, and the pitcher forces him back five, six, sometimes eight times. If you only allow the hurler two pickoff attempts, this brings a whole new strategy into the game for both the pitcher and the potential base stealer. I’m envisioning more stolen bases and a much faster game.
  2. On the sixth foul ball, the runner takes his base: Watching a batter hack his way to 15 foul tips, trying to “stay alive” is like watching the pendulum on a grandfather clock sway hypnotically back and forth. Give the umpires one more thing to count. If the pitcher can’t get the guy out before six foul balls, he’s doing a lousy job; advantage batter.
  3. Stop singing in the 7th inning: Is it just me, or is “Take Me out to the Ballgame” maybe the worst song of all time? Save our ears and move the game along.
  4. Eliminate warmup pitches for relievers: One of the biggest wastes of time in a baseball game happens when a relief pitcher warms up, after coming into a game. He’s been warming up in the bullpen for dozens of pitches. These guys make millions of dollars, for crying out loud; how much warming up do they need?
  5. If you’re 20 games under .500, you only play 5 innings: In Cleveland, we’ve suffered through one horrendous year after another. Would anyone really notice if the Indians only played five innings?

You may be waiting for a hearty, “April Fool,” but I’m not fooling. Any combination of these will certainly speed up the game and make Major League Baseball abundantly more enjoyable.

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Mark Barnes is the author of many education books, including Bestseller Hacking Education, part of his Hack Learning Series, books that solve big problems with simple ideas. Barnes presents internationally on assessment, connected education, and student-centered learning. Join more than 100,000 interested educators who follow @markbarnes19 on Twitter.

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