14 better ways to speed up baseball than that moronic “Runner On Second” MLB idea

In case you hadn’t heard, Major League Baseball wants to test a new rule that would automatically place a runner on second base to start each inning, once a game is tied after nine innings, according to Yahoo Sports.

**Keep in mind here, if the game has gone to extra innings, the horse is pretty much out of the barn on shortening the game.

So, to shorten the amount of time we have to sit in the open air and smell the grass and hear the crack of the bat, here are 14 better ways to make baseball games go by faster. They make as much sense as putting a runner on second base to start an inning:

  1. Hit off a tee.
  2. If, when hitting off the tee, a batter swings and misses, his place in the lineup is eliminated for the rest of the game, and is instead an automatic out.
  3. If you insist on having pitchers — no tee — go to 2-1 counts. Two balls is a walk, one strike and you’re out. Or at least consider 3-2 instead.
  4. If a fan catches a foul ball in the air, the batter’s out.
  5. Those twin, parallel mounds in the bullpen? Utilize that technology on the field. Pitch to two hitters at once.
  6. Instead of 3 outs per inning, you get 5 outs every 2 innings. Follow me here. Every odd-numbered inning, the team at bat would have to decide, with 2 outs, whether to end the inning now, therefore allowing them 3 outs to use in the even-numbered inning that follows, or play on to the 3rd out, leaving them with just 2 outs to use next inning. So, if you’re first two batters make outs in the 3rd inning,  give up now, and save that third out for the 4th inning.
  7. Apparently Joe Torre is in favor of this fiasco. So make him pitch the 10th inning for the team that gave up the lead that resulted in extra frames.
  8. Show all commercials on the Jumbotron during the action, and eliminate breaks between innings.
  9. Bring back the bullpen cart. As a bullet train.
  10. Have relief pitchers be peanut vendors. They can warm up their arms throwing snacks, so they’re ready to pitch immediately upon being called onto the field.
  11. Use FaceTime for meetings on the mound, instead of waiting for 70-year-old managers to walk onto the field, then back to the dugout.
  12. Use only ambidextrous pitchers. Arm’s tired? Pitch with the other one.
  13. Put low ceilings over ball fields. As anyone who’s ever played squash will tell you, that really speeds up the game.
  14. If game time is 7:10, start at 7:00. Most fans don’t show up in time for first pitch anyway.

               Any rebroadcast, retransmission, or account of this blog, without the express written consent of Building Up Chicago, is prohibited.                            

                                                         PLAY BALL!

 

I don’t want you to like it. I want you to read it.

I’ve said this before, but I’m saying it again.

Having a camera doesn’t make me a “photographer.”

Having a bat doesn’t make me a “baseball player.”

Having a blog doesn’t make me a “writer.”

Occasionally, I have a thought I wish someone else would hear. But since I don’t think out loud, I write things down. And if I like what I’ve written, I put it into blog form.

If I want more people to see that blog post, I share it on various platforms. Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, all that.

I need to stop posting them on Facebook. I hate Facebook more and more each day. For the usual reasons. Too many food pictures, too many cat updates, too many political opinions. Also, no one pays attention to Facebook.

Let me explain.

I post something from my blog on Facebook. 8 people click the “LIKE” button. That’s cool. 8 people like my post. Now, I’ve gotten over the numbers, so as not to feel self-conscious that less than 6% of my Facebook friends liked my post. No, that doesn’t bother me.

Here’s what bothers me: my blogging platform let’s me track metrics. And it tells me that ONE view on my blog has come through Facebook. ONE. That likely means, of the 8 people who clicked “LIKE” on my post, only ONE of them actually clicked the link to my blog. Never mind how many actually read the post; only one person clicked the link.

The blog post I linked to on Facebook is content. It isn’t a selfie. It isn’t a status update. It isn’t a joke. It’s content. I didn’t post it so you would click “LIKE.” I posted it because I want you to read it. Granted, I want you to read it *and* like it, but reading it is the most important thing. If you don’t like it, that’s something I can live with.

Stop doing that. Seeing that you liked my post without reading it doesn’t do anything for me. It does nothing for anyone. (I have to assume that if you do that with my posts, you’re doing it for others’ posts as well.) Save your likes for recipes and your grandma’s health updates. Those deserve likes. Content deserves to be read, or ignored. One or the other. I’d rather you ignore my post, than “LIKE” it without reading it.

 

Goodbye, Darryl. Thanks for being you.

Darryl Dawkins died today, according to several media outlets.

We didn’t have a professional basketball team in Pittsburgh when I was in sixth grade. That’s when I made a free-throw in gym class to “win” a game, and was instantly obsessed with the sport. Back then, the only teams you got to see on television were the Lakers, Celtics, and Philadelphia 76ers. So I latched onto the 76ers beginning in the 1976-77 season. They went to the NBA Finals that year, losing to the Portland Trailblazers. But I had my team. And I’d remain a loyal fan for years.

Dawkins did the unheard of coming out of high school in Orlando; he gave up his right to a college education and entered the NBA draft. The Sixers took him as the 5th overall pick, and in that Playoff year of 1977, he made a name for himself. Not just by throwing down ridiculous dunks, but by squaring off against the league’s leading tough-guy, Maurice Lucas. That put him in the spotlight of one of my favorite Sports Illustrated articles of all time (I was addicted to that magazine in my younger years) as one of the NBA’s top “enforcers.”

That title would plague him for the rest of his career. A quick mouth and an often-short fuse would make him a target for officials. He got called for the most inane non-fouls because he was Darryl Dawkins. He’d get rung up for technicals just by the way he looked at referees. He also made a lot of silly mistakes, and some of those calls and fouls that hounded him were of his own doing, but he wasn’t treated fairly, either.

Note: I don’t remember where I read it; probably in Sports Illustrated. But I read his new head coach, when he was traded to the Nets from Philly, made two lengthy videotapes of Dawkins’ career: One he sent to the league that showed the stupid calls against him by referees who targeted him, and one he gave to Darryl, showing the bad decisions he was making on the court that weren’t helping his reputation or his performance. But I didn’t see him play post-Philadelphia enough to know if those tapes helped.

I saw Darryl Dawkins once in person. He was with the Utah Jazz in the pre-season, and they were playing an exhibition game against the Bulls in Pittsburgh. I had no intention of going (Michael Jordan? Yeah, he’s okay, but not worth parking downtown to see…) until I saw the Six O’clock news team interview Dawk before the game. I jumped in the car, parked downtown, and bought a walk-up ticket at the Civic Arena. Best money I’ve ever spent? Maybe.

Dawkins barely played. In the last minute of the game, he had two chances to throw down his signature dunks, but both times, he lost the handle on the ball. He clearly didn’t have much left. But he was still the most entertaining player in the arena that night. He sat on the end of the bench with Mel Turpin. Frank Layden, then the coach of the Jazz, and a noted character in his own right, would wander to the end of the bench, whisper something under his breath, and walk away. Dawkins and Turpin would be doubled over in laughter. I would have given anything to listen to those conversations.

As the game wound down and fans started to hit the exits, every one of them that walked behind the Jazz bench got a handshake form Darryl. Not begrudgingly. Not halfheartedly. But happily. With a smile. At least, that is, until security rushed over and roped off the bench. No sense in letting the people who get to see NBA players once a year get to interact with them. Oh well. I was too far away to get a handshake anyway.

Darryl Dawkins was 6’11”, 250-ish pounds who could run the floor and jump like a forward. Julius Erving once described seeing him as “watching a building jump into the air.” He was a man-child. My affection for him was replaced after his Sixer days by Charles Barkley, and I’ll always equate those two. My favorite 76ers.

Rest in peace, Darryl. I’ll miss you. Basketball will miss you too.

 

 

 

Date with a Divvy – A Photo Gallery

If you follow my social media platforms, you know how much I love Divvy, Chicago’s bike-share program. Until this spring, I was a fan more for their own social presence than for their power to transport commuters throughout the city. Now, I’m a card-carrying (more like key-carrying, but that’s nit-picky) member. And I joined just in time.

Along with the 3000 blue bikes scattered throughout town, Divvy has a few special models they add to the fleet from time to time: #DivvyRed, #Holidivvy, and 5 #BlackhawksBikes. Note — The hashtags are important. Just after I got my member key, the 5 #BlackhawksBikes were released again out into the streets. So instead of simply taking pictures of these limited-edition bikes in racks, or with someone else riding them, I’m able to take them on excursions myself. If I can find them.

Ha! What am I saying? Of course I can find them; it’s what I do.

Sitting this one out. Again.

Skagit Flats Half Marathon race bib

Skagit Flats Half Marathon race bib

That’s the blandest race bib I’ve ever been assigned, but it looks much better against the background of a nice hotel comforter. Sadly, it won’t be pinned to running apparel today. For the second time in 2014, I’m missing out on a half marathon for which I’ve paid an entry fee.

Calf problems have been the culprit in both missed races; this most recent episode prompted me to see a doctor. An MRI revealed the underlying problem is in my achilles tendons. I’ve abused them to the brink of rupture, most likely from a combination of bad running form and an insufficient pre- and post-run stretching routine. Health insurance paid for the diagnosis; they will not, however, cover physical therapy/rehab. I’ve consequently been forced to choose rest as my only means of healing. I’ve taken 6 weeks off from running since the latest injury, but up until this morning, intended to give today’s race an honest effort. Maybe it was the pre-dawn alarm clock talking, but I awoke too apprehensive to run.

The prospect of jogging ( I hate jogging; I want to run) 6 and a half miles of an out-and-back course, only to sustain injury and have to walk back to the finish area; not getting injured, but taking more time to finish than I want to have to tell anyone about; the possibility of doing further — or severe — injury to an achilles; the next 3 days of walking injured while sightseeing in the Pacific Northwest; all make the quest for that shiny medal at the finish line seem less than worthwhile.

So I sit in the hotel room, having dropped Jennifer off at the start line for her full marathon (Jen wants to run a race in all 50 states. I seem to be striving toward missing one in all 50. I’ve achieved Indiana and now Washington), getting my money’s worth of free continental breakfast, waiting for football, and hammering out a blog post. I’m contemplating whether or not to take the entire winter off from running, hoping I’ll be healed and ready to start again come spring. I have little interest in being outside on the lakefront path during Chicago winters anyway. But this is probably the wrong day to make that decision.

At least I get to see Seattle for the first time.

P.S. I’m told it’s not “skag-it” or “skay-git.” It is pronounced “skaj-it”

Now you know that too.