How to forfeit a game

Last night, the Rochester Red Wings were shellacked by the Buffalo Bisons, 20-3. As the game dragged on in its last innings and the Red Wings turned to a position player to pitch, Wings’ announcer Josh Whetzel wondered if maybe baseball should have a mercy rule or maybe a way to forfeit when things get too ugly.

Well, there is one way to forfeit. Sort of.

Take a look at the MLB rulebook. Now, head down to pages 85 and 86, the part on unsportsmanlike conduct. Make note of rule 6.04(a)(4), which says that no one can “Make intentional contact with the umpire in any manner.”

You’ve doubtless seen this rule in action before: a manager or player is arguing with an umpire after a bad call, and touches them. They are then usually immediately ejected.

So, in theory, you could have your players line up in a row and start touching the umpire until enough players are ejected that there aren’t enough to continue, thus ending the game.

Of course, there are other easier ways to forfeit (see rule 7.03). You can just refuse to come out and continue playing, for example. Or you could continually break rules. Or the thing that, if properly enforced, would probably lead to a wave of forfeits, rule 7.03(a)(2):

Employs tactics palpably designed to delay or shorten the
game;

Yeah, like that will ever be enforced…

Baseball should give the Hall of Fame induction its space

Yesterday, the Baseball Hall of Fame had its inductions. Due to COVID protocols and the oft-delayed nature of the ceremony because of the pandemic, it happened in the middle of a weekday, with few games going on.

And that, to be honest, is how it should usually be. Well, not the weekday part, and certainly not the pandemic-related stuff. The bit where it is goes on with few if any games going on, though? That needs to happen from now on.

Baseball, alone among the major sports, is unique in that it has its inductions usually happen while meaningful games are also happening. It is often on a Sunday, when most of the league is playing.

While this is perhaps unavoidable due to the fact that baseball is a summer sport and thus would have to vastly change its induction ceremonies to hold it during the offseason (presumably using some sort of indoor venue with far less capacity), it is an odd look for a sport that holds its history so dear. It also isn’t very fan-friendly, leaving fans to have to choose whether to watch their favorite team play or see the greats get inducted.

That has to change.

Now, it should be noted that any such change would have to be done by agreement between MLB and the HOF. Despite popular belief, the two are separate from each other- MLB doesn’t run the HOF, although it certainly does have some influence and provides some funding, board members, etc. Still, such an agreement can likely be made.

In general, Sundays are day games for MLB teams, with the exception of the two that are selected for the ESPN game. But why not, for one day every year, have everyone play Sunday night? To make it up to the players, perhaps the Monday after can be an off-day or at least have a drastically smaller schedule (perhaps only featuring matchups of teams that didn’t have to travel far). Agreements, of course, would have to be made with ESPN and other rights holders, but during the middle of summer (which is normally when HOF inductions happen, as opposed to the strange September date this year) sports networks have more flexibility.

Alternately, they could have it be on Saturday, when more games are held at night anyway so only a few would have to be moved. But then again, having the inductions on Saturday wouldn’t make it much of a weekend.

Regardless, something should be done to give the inductions more of a spotlight. It’s what the Hall of Fame deserves, it’s what the inductees deserve, and it’s what baseball deserves.

The Little League World Series was not as good without the world

The Little League World Series is over, only this year it just wasn’t the same, because the world couldn’t come. It’s obvious why: COVID-19. After cancelling the entire tournament last year for the first time ever, this year Little League Baseball returned the World Series to Williamsport, but only with American-based teams due to COVID concerns.

And while it did prove to be an excellent tournament, it still lacked much of what has made the tournament special: the international teams.

You see, part of the fun of the event is in seeing kids from so many places have fun with each other. It doesn’t matter if they are from Ohio or Osaka, it’s good to see people from different cultures bonding over a shared love for baseball.

However, there is also the fact that it also just wasn’t as fun to watch. Different countries bring different styles of play, which can be interesting. Plus, there are a clearer way of determining underdogs: you may not be able to tell who the favorite in a game between Texas and California is, but when it’s Japan vs. Australia or Curacao vs. Italy, you are instantly pulled in. Sure, the favorite almost always wins, but it is fascinating to get pulled in by the drama of seeing how long the underdogs can keep pace. And regardless of what happens, the kids don’t care: they are still having fun.

But, alas, some of that didn’t happen this year. Hopefully it’ll be back next year.

Possible international sites for MLB games

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Previously, I discussed some possible neutral-field games in the USA or Canada. Today, it’s time to look beyond the borders and muse about possible neutral-field games internationally going forward.

Go below the jump for more.

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A few neat links

So, I’ve been slacking with updates this past week due to “real world concerns”. So to make up for it, here are three neat links:

First off, there’s Clem’s Baseball. It has a giant array of diagrams showing how ballparks have changed over the years, including how they’ve adapted for other sports like football.

Want to stay up to date on Japanese baseball? Jim Allen has been in Japan for decades and once worked the sports desk of Japan’s biggest English-language paper. Now, he writes about Nippon Pro Baseball on his blog.

Going back to ballparks to wrap it up: Stadium Page. This is, not surprisingly, a webpage about baseball stadiums, but the real treat comes in its page of “Unrealized Concepts” such as the Brooklyn Dodger Dome and the thankfully-abandoned plan to demolish most of Fenway Park and replace it with a new stadium.

And there you go- three neat links. Here’s hoping it won’t take me almost a week for my next post.

On early-morning baseball (and why we need more of it)

The Olympics are over, and while I’d like to note that I nailed the order of teams on the podium, the Olympics isn’t what my post today is about.

No, it’s about morning baseball. Well, it’s during the afternoon or night where it is taking place, but due to time zone differences they are in the morning in the USA. Mostly that…

I quite enjoy it! Sure, I might not always be able to get up on time or stay awake for all of it, but whether it was the Olympics or ESPN’s KBO coverage during 2020, I found myself at least trying to watch. And at times, I got super-pulled into it, just as if it was a regularly-timed game in our hemisphere. Besides, it’s nice to wake up and watch baseball instead of doing whatever it was you would normally be doing early in the morning.

Alas, now that is gone. Oh, sure, I can if I want try to find some stuff streaming, but that isn’t quite as easy as it is during the Olympics or when KBO was on ESPN.

Which is why I’m calling on MLB Network to fill in the gap. Have on games from Asia before MLB Central is on every morning. It would be surprisingly cheap to do: the pandemic has shown that calls can be made from continents away, and I’m sure that the rights for the games wouldn’t be too expensive. It wouldn’t even have to be every day: perhaps just once or twice a week they could showcase a game from Japan, Korea, Taiwan, or (during winter) Australia.

Make it happen, MLB Network!

After the Field of Dreams game, other possible locations for neutral-field games

Photo by Todd Trapani on Pexels.com

After last night’s amazing game at the Field of Dreams, it’s no surprise that people are already clamoring for another one (which they will get). But why stop there? After Iowa and previous games in places like Fort Bragg, Omaha and London, England, as well as the yearly game in Williamsport, why not expand the horizons even more?

Go below the jump for some ideas I have for future games outside of MLB stadiums.

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An Alternate History: The 2000 Baseball Dream Team

Previously, I took a look at hypothetical dream teams for USA Baseball in the 1992 and 1996 Olympics. Today, it’s time to talk about how a dream team might have looked in 2000, at the Sydney Olympics.

(Go below the jump for more)

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Neat Site: CPBL Stats

Taiwan AKA Chinese Taipei AKA Formosa isn’t in this year’s Olympic tournament, but their league remains one of the best in Asia. And while during some research ahead of this Olympics, I came across CPBL Stats.

While not updated daily, it has a good constant stream of news from Taiwan’s top baseball league, as well as (of course) stats and info on how you can watch CPBL baseball online.

Check it out here.

An Alternate History: The 1996 Baseball Olympic Dream Team

Way back in 2012, I did a post discussing what a baseball dream team for Team USA would have looked like in an alternate world where MLB stars came to the Olympics when NBA stars did: the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona. And while my formatting and grammar wasn’t great (it was the first year of the blog), I still think it was a neat exercise.

So now, with the 2020 (err… 2021) games in full-swing in Tokyo, I got to wondering: What would the dream team have been in 1996? Let’s move forward that clock and assume that Team USA’s Olympic Baseball Team won gold in 1992, although not nearly in such a dominant manner as the basketball team did since international baseball talent in 1992 was better than international basketball talent in 1992. What does the team look like in 1996 in Atlanta?

(Go below the jump for more.)

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