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The Oak Leaf

Snoozin’ on America’s pastime

Frank Sumrall, Contributing Editor

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United States’ favorite pastime was defined by a day at the ballpark full of loud vendors, excited fans chugging down beer and the satisfying crack of the bat as a baseball zips through the windless air.But the summers when baseball dominated the minds of Americans are no longer. Football and basketball conquer sports airwaves and networks while soccer and hockey continue to gain viewers. The public has lost its appreciation for the art of baseball is lost. Now it’s time to fix the dying sport.

But the summers when baseball dominated the minds of Americans are no longer. Football and basketball conquer sports airwaves and networks while soccer and hockey continue to gain viewers. The public has lost its appreciation for the art of baseball is lost. Now it’s time to fix the dying sport.

Basketball has seen an explosion in popularity with its star-studded cast and fast-paced, three-point heavy action. Football dismissed the run game for a high tide of aerial offenses, creating an ocean of new records. Baseball needs to follow suit.

The slowest sport in America needs to shorten everything. From adding a “shot clock” timer in between pitches to shortening the amount of innings and games. A pitching timer may be taxing on a starting ace, but with less innings relief can come in earlier. Cutting down on an inning or two makes the game more compact.

One of baseball’s fatal flaws is the sheer amount of games. Each contest in the short NFL’s 16-game season gives every match playoff implications. 162 games are too much for people to be invested in for an entire season. Shorten the draining season to 100 games and the campaign becomes more concise. Conciseness creates tension, high stakes and more vital games.

Changing the scoring can also add a boost to the dragging game. Adding points per base can lead to more action and entertainment. A home run should be four points while scoring from second base would equal two points. Only a third base scamper to home plate would churn out one run. In such a defensive game, increasing the offense can create more thrilling sequences in contests that already have more importance due to a shortened season.

But this is not enough. This just accelerates the same stale game audiences have grown tired of. It’s time to think outside of the box. Baseball celebrates the idea of unique fields varying in design and length. This creates different styles of play; whether there is a pitching or batting emphasis. So to accelerate that theory, it’s time to throw another curveball.

Let’s say Citizen’s Bank Park in Philadelphia added a moat in the outfield where the ball is still in play. Or Progressive field in Cleveland features a beehive on second base, adding more strategy to avoid the dangerous bees. AT&T Park would be daunting to opponents if rain was involved. Throw in an actual green monster in Fenway instead of a simple green wall and all of a sudden baseball is quivering with excitement.

Sounds ridiculous? Maybe so, but it’s time to channel the special feeling of playing backyard baseball as a kid. The bloated sport needs severe change to undo its fatal corporate wounds. No stone can be unturned in order to save the American dream that is its pastime.

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The news site of Santa Rosa Junior College.
Snoozin’ on America’s pastime