Behind the Mic: Strike Two – Y’er Out!

Play ball!  Major League baseball has begun.  And, once again, a new radical idea to shorten the length of games has surfaced.  Former Mets’ general manager Steve Philips recently suggested changing walks to three balls and strikeouts to two strikes – in other words every at-bat starts with a 1-1 count on the batter.  His research indicates that 40% of the time a batter faces a 1-1 count anyway.  This is drastic, to say the least, but creates interesting discussion.  There have been many other suggestions and some have even been tried in lower levels of professional baseball.

Do you like any of these changes?

  1. A pitcher must deliver a pitch within 20 seconds. The batter must be in the box for all 20 seconds and the clock stops the second the pitcher starts his pitching motion.  If the batter steps out of the box during the 20 seconds, the pitcher may throw an official pitch anyway.
  2. The batter must keep one foot in the box throughout the at-bat. There are some exceptions.  What would big Papi do?
  3. Intentional walks would require no pitches, just an indication from the manger to the home plate umpire.
  4. Some want to limit the number of commercials, while some want to put a between- innings time limit – 2:30. At the 2:15 mark, the batter must be in the box and the 20-second clock for the pitcher begins.
  5. Pitching changes must be completed and ready for play in 2:30. Failure to accomplish this would result in a ball being called by the umpire.
  6. Only three player conferences between pitcher-catcher, player-player, or manager-player would be allowed per game. This rule would not apply to pitching changes or player substitutions.
  7. Place a runner on second base with no outs to start an extra-inning game. Statistically, a game would end after ten innings 50% of the time and 75% of the time in the eleventh inning.

It is estimated that implementation of some of these rules could save between 10 and 15 minutes in the length of the game and games would average less than three hours.

Does baseball really need to drastically change to keep their fan base and, more importantly, to grow the base of the younger generation?  For now, I do not see any of these suggestions (with, perhaps, the intentional walk modification) happening soon.

And I, for one think that’s a good idea.

Play ball (as we know it!)

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS) 

  1. I lost around nine hours this weekend watching the Masters. If you are a golf fan, I’m sure you found both Saturday and Sunday riveting.  Thank goodness for TiVo – speeding through commercials helps, but the Masters limits the number of commercials so it doesn’t help much.  It sure was dramatic and Sergio’s emotional win was not to be missed.
  2. Speaking of golf, in the recently completed Western Intercollegiate golf tournament at San Jose University, there were five holes-in-one. They were by four players from three teams.  Hunter Epson of Pepperdine in a shotgun start made one on his very first shot in the tournament.  His teammate made one in the same round.  Daniel List made one during the final round, but the topper occurred when Cal’s William Aldred made one in the second round and another in the third round.  They all used a different club, did not shoot under par, nor finished in the top 20.
  3. Did you notice that Tim Tebow, former Heisman winner at Florida and NFL player, hit a home run in his first at-bat as a professional baseball player.

  1. I, for one, would love to see the Eagles draft Stanford RB/WR Christian McCaffrey in the NFL draft. The McCaffrey family – Aunt Monica, Uncle Billy, and father Ed all went to, and excelled in, basketball at Allentown Central Catholic and Ed, of course, also played football at Central.  He went on to play at Stanford and starred for the Denver Broncos in the NFL.  Bring Christian to Philadelphia!
  2. We found out this week that former Pitt and Dallas Cowboy Hall of Fame running back Tony Dorsett has been diagnosed with CTE, a degenerative condition linked to dementia and depression. This neurological disease has already claimed the lives of more than 50 former NFL players.  The players make a great deal of money, but there is a steep cost.

Behind the Mic: Top Searches of the Year

 

BEHIND THE MIC:  Top Searches of the Year

Within the past week, Yahoo released its lists for 2013: Top-Searched Teams; Top-Searched Athletes; Top-Searched Girlfriends. Let’s take a look (not at the girlfriends – I’ll leave that up to you).

Top-Searched Sports Teams on Yahoo in 2013:
1. Dallas Cowboys
2. Boston Red Sox
3. Green Bay Packers
4. Los Angeles Lakers
5. Detroit Tigers
6. Pittsburgh Steelers
7. Los Angeles Dodgers
8. New York Yankees
9. Denver Broncos
10. Milwaukee Bucks

What’s wrong with these people? The Steelers appear to be the most popular team in Pennsylvania. Where are the Eagles, the Phillies, and the Flyers? In fact, where is any hockey team? And why Dallas – are they still really “America’s team” despite their recent failings? The Yankees at #8 is a surprise to me. Aren’t they loved AND hated enough to be higher? And to be beaten out by three spots to the Detroit Tigers and four spots by the Dodgers! Is the temperature dropping in Hades? The Milwaukee Bucks over the Miami Heat – what’s up with that?

Maybe I can make more sense out of the Athletes searched this past year:

Top-Searched Athletes on Yahoo 2013:
1. Tim Tebow
2. Tiger Woods
3. Danica Patrick
4. Lindsey Vonn
5. Ronda Rousey
6. Lamar Odom
7. Tito Ortiz
8. Serena Williams
9. Maria Sharapova
10. Gina Carano

What? Obviously, I cannot make more sense out of this list, either. Tim Tebow has an offer to play football in Italy, but he can’t make a team in America. He’s #1?? Wouldn’t it have been nice to put Lindsey Vonn and Tiger Woods next to each other? They are a couple, you know, and I don’t like seeing Danica Patrick come between them. Lamar Odom – seriously – his personal life and Kardashian connection create interest – his 2013 athletic achievements – not so much? Serena and Maria: I would not have guessed that women’s professional tennis would create such interest. Perhaps, it’s not the tennis.

I had to look up Ronda Rousey, Tito Ortiz, and Gina Carano. Who are they? It turns out that they are all associated with the MMA (Mixed Martial Arts). And by looking them up, I have added to their popularity. Go figure.

And to satisfy your curiosity, the top-searched athletes’ girlfriends on the list are:

Top-Searched Girlfriends on Yahoo in 2013:
1. Tim Tebow’s girlfriend
2. Tiger Woods’ girlfriend
3. A J Mccarron’s girlfriend
4. Colin Kaepernick’s girlfriend
5. Johnny Manziel’s girlfriend

It appears that the road to finding that special someone is to be a quarterback or the world’s best golfer. Glad I could help!

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS)
1. The Sunday snow sure made for some interesting NFL watching. The Eagles game was just plain fun to watch. It could foreshadow the possible weather conditions for this year’s Super Bowl. Is that a good thing?

2. Did you take notice that of the eight teams that will vie for the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association state football championships in four classes, six are private schools and just two are public schools. Eventually, there will be an outcry from the public school sector.

3. It looks like Auburn vs. Florida State for the NCAA BCS National Football Championship. It should be a high-scoring, entertaining game.

4. The scene: Golf’s World Challenge: Par 4 – Final Hole – $1,000,000 prize – tied for the lead with Tiger Woods. That’s what faced Zach Johnson on the 18th hole on Sunday. He hit his second shot in the water. Tournament over? Not so fast – put the ball in the drop area – one stroke penalty – and hit the fourth shot 58 yards in the hole – easy par! Tie Tiger. Beat Tiger in the playoff. Have a nice day.

5. Nelson Mandela was rarely mentioned in a sports story. In his autobiography there is no mention of sports, but no event in South Africa symbolized what he spent his life fighting for than the rugby World Cup in 1995. South Africa won and, as president of the country, he embraced the blond captain of the traditionally white team, and symbolized his desire to unite the country and put an end to apartheid. It’s all there in the movie Invictus.

NFL PICKS FOR THIS WEEK
(Last week – 11-5) (131-76-1 overall – 63%)

DENVER
JACKSONVILLE
INDIANAPOLIS
PHILADELPHIA
SAN FRANCISCO
CAROLINA
GREEN BAY
TENNESSEE
CHICAGO
PATRIOTS
SEATTLE
ATLANTA
KANSAS CITY
NEW ORLEANS
CINCINNATI