Statistics show that, compared to the much more focused citizens who came before us, the average American sports fan is now a lazy blob with the focus of a suburban kid at a prep school who forgot to take his Adderall for 48 hours. In fact, a recent study found that the national attention span has dropped to eight seconds, down from 12 in 2000.
To put this in context: A goldfish apparently has an attention span of nine seconds. I’m not totally sure how you measure a goldfish’s attention span, because goldfish don’t really have anything to pay attention to other than “who the hell is banging on the glass of my fishbowl again?” But whatever. It’s science, I guess.
Given that Americans are now moronic pieces of garbage who require at least two screens and on-field collisions to keep us entertained, the slow game of baseball is having to adjust. In an effort to make America’s pastime more ~*~*ExCiTiNg~*~*, the MLB is pushing a bunch of rule changes, like limiting the number of trips a manager or coach can make to the mound, getting rid of intentional walks (which the players union agreed to), and even floating the idea that a runner should start on second base during extra innings.
The players union isn’t approving a lot of these big changes to the game, however, and commissioner Rob Manfred is less than thrilled about it. He recently said this about the union’s pushback:
“I have to admit that I’m disappointed that we cannot even get the MLBPA to agree to modest rule changes, like limits on trips to the mound, that have little effect on the competitive character of the game.”
You know what? I think Manfred is right. We need to speed up the romantic game of hot summer nights and Cracker Jacks so that the goldfish-brained masses continue to watch.
But I’d argue that Manfred hasn’t gone far enough. You want excitement in your baseball? Here are some suggestions that’ll give you excitement. I’m about to give you so much excitement that you’ll get sick of being so excited. You won’t believe how exciting I’m about to make this sport.
Charlotte Wilder’s Improved Rulebook for Making Baseball More Exciting for Stupid Americans with Short Attention Spans
- Load up the bases with runners from the get-go and whoever hits a grand slam first wins.
- Build platforms — made of the finest American steel and concrete — for the bases so that each one is located 20 feet above the ground.
- Build a moat around each of the towers.
- Fill the moat with crocodiles who haven’t been fed in at least three days.
- Tie hot dogs to player’s feet.
- If a fan catches a foul ball, the player is out (my colleague Mike Prada thought of this one and he’s making me credit him. Here’s your credit, Prada).
- Fill the infield with trash in the third inning, then let a bunch of otters loose to play with it.
- Make the players compete in a hot dog eating contest during the seventh inning stretch and then make them run a 40-yard dash after the eighth inning.
- Impose a mandatory bat flip rule.
- Make all the players wear rollerblades, except for the pitcher, who has to wear roller skates.
- Use footballs instead of baseballs.
- Make the players wear full football pads.
- Play the game on a rectangular field that’s 100 yards long with markers every 10 yards.
- Call a home run a touchdown.
- Allow tackling.
- Make any foul ball count as an out.
- Put actual angels in the outfield.
- Offer fans yoga classes during the seventh-inning stretch so that it actually is a seventh-inning stretch.
- Make batters chug a beer and play dizzy bat before they get up to the plate.
- If a player is gluten intolerant, however, he can instead opt to take a shot of Fireball for every strike.
- In order for a player to be tagged out, he has to be tagged on his butt.
- Call the strike zone a “fun zone.”
- Turn the strike zone into a ball pit.
- Turn strike zone into a foam pit.
- What really is the strike zone? Like, philosophically?
- An intentional walk should only count as an intentional walk if the player’s FitBit has already registered over 5,000 steps that day.
- Mic up every player and make him sing karaoke to his walk-up song as he approaches the plate.
- Mandate that every walk-up song be the instrumental to “Smooth” by Santana ft. Rob Thomas.
- Or “Torn” by Natalie Imbruglia.
- Or “Why Can’t I” by Liz Phair.
- Hell, just play Liz Phair’s entire catalog over the loudspeakers during the game.
- Or maybe Michelle Branch’s entire catalog.
- No, sorry, Vanessa Carlton’s. Definitely Vanessa Carlton’s.
- “White Houses” is a better song than “A Thousand Miles.”
- That might be a controversial statement but I stand by it.
- Bring the trash and the otters back onto the field if the game goes into extra innings.
- Make players use a Chuckit instead of throwing with their arms.
- Put dogs in the outfield so that if a ball gets by them, players have to race the dog to get to the ball first.
- Play the game with tennis balls so that you get more home runs and so that it’s easier on the dogs’ teeth.
- Trade Boogie Cousins to the Red Sox.
- Change the ending of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” so that it goes: “For it’s eat, drink, barf in the sink at the old ballgame!”
- Ban Marlins Man.
- I’m serious about that one, actually, that’s not a joke.
- Make the Yankees play in tuxedos.
- I don’t know, why not?
- Have you ever had a Baby Ruth?
- I can’t remember if I have, but I’ve always wondered if they’re named after Babe Ruth.
- Let me Google it.
- Ah, no, apparently it’s named after President Grover Cleveland’s daughter Ruth.
- I liked the idea of the candy bar better when I thought it was named after the baseball player.
- Boycott Baby Ruth candy bars.
- Make the baseballs hollow and fill them with confetti so that when players make contact it’s a party.
- Whatever happened to the trash otters from the third inning?
- Shit, they got into the dumpster behind the ballpark.
- Can someone help me wrangle these guys back into their cages?
- Oh god, the crocodiles from the moats got loose, too. This is so bad.
- Does anyone have animal control on speed-dial? No? Can you google the number for me?
- Dammit, it’s too late.
- All the otters are dead.
- Please stop playing “Smooth,” this isn’t a joke anymore.
- Manfred, this is totally your fault.