Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Baseball: My thoughts on how to make it more exciting

Robin with an Olympic baseball!
Originally uploaded by athens2004blog.

Hey up. We're just back from the baseball semi final (where, as you'll see, we got a pic of Robin with a baseball that was hit into the stands and caught by someone behind us).

Now, the game saw Australia (the outsiders) knocking out Japan (the big favourites) 1-0. I enjoyed it, but one run in three hours? And just ten hits in the whole thing? I'd be interested if our US readers could comment on my two suggestions to make the game more exciting from a fan's point of view (I had plenty of time to think about them this morning!).

1) Move the pitcher back a few feet. Clearly the odds are stacked way in their favour, as pitching techniques have got better and pitches have got faster (plus the wind was behind them today). 10 hits (as in when they made it to 1st base without getting out) in three hours is not very exciting. Everyone wants to see hits, why not give the batter more of a chance?

2) Don't let the far outfielders have gloves. One of the most exciting things in cricket is when the ball gets smacked way out to the outfield, because you're not sure whether the fielder will be able to catch it. In baseball, when the ball does finally get hit, then because of the catching glove, it's an absolute formality that it'll be caught. I understand the people on bases need gloves to stop their hands getting hurt (US sports and their excessive protection eh!), but couldn't the outfielders try using their hands?

Most sports change rules ever so slightly to make the game better for spectators, could baseball not do the same?

See Athens 2004 Blog, we don't just give you pictures of a Robin, but thought-provoking international sports debate too!


noelle said...

Hahaha! Basball too boring? Not enough scoring? You sound like an American talking about soccer... er, football.

I won't comment on your suggestions to improve baseball as I really don't follow baseball myself, but 1-0 is not a typical score. I don't know how the game is different in the Olys vs. in the pros, but I have the feeling what you saw is not representative of how Major League Baseball is played in the home country, but perhaps someone else can say something more illuminating.

Anonymous said...

Big Hitting Bobby - Shame there were not more hits...when I was a student in the US i really fell in love with baseball and have even imported US baseball computer games over here to play! Cos they are hard to get in the UK. To be honest I reckon u saw a dull game - altho an amazing achievement by the Aussie pitcher...

Anonymous said...

My niece, Bri, and I came up with 2:56:16 for our guess in the men's relay competition. We're just guessing for the fun of it again. Also, a few questions for you: what made you decide to start this blog, will you be continuing it after the Olympics are over and are you employed as a writer (if you're not, you certainly should be!!!).

Vix and Bri, Philadelphia, PA

Anonymous said...

My niece, Bri, and I came up with 2:56:16 as a guess for the men's relay competition. We're just guessing for the fun of it again. Also, I have a few questions for you. How did you get interested in blog writing, will you be continuing it after the Olympics, and are you employed as a writer (if you're not, you should be!!!)?

Vix and Bri,
Philadelphia, PA

Anonymous said...

Hey Kit, you forgot my 2:55:25 entry for the competition.
I don't know anything about baseball, but saying that making a sport more like cricket would make it less boring just doesn't sound convincing!
Dennis, UK

Anonymous said...

Your idea, Kit, about having the pitchers back up has been suggested by some commentators. In fact, the pitchers were moved up (sorry, I've forgotten the year) specifically because it was felt that the batters had too much of an advantage. So, the argument could be made to move them back again. However, I think the pendulum is already swinging back to the batter. Now, if they get serious and stop letting them take steroids.... Just kidding. Your second idea about the gloves.... Yikes! I'm not sure too many people would agree with that one. Those balls are REALY moving. I'm also not sure it would have the effect you want. I strongly suspect you just saw a rather slow game. It happens now and then. Now my team - those games aren't boring. The Arizona Diamondbacks are the worse team in Major League Baseball this year so everyone can be entertained by watching fans like myself trying to kill themselves by holding their breathe or banging their heads on the wall.

Todd from Flagstaff (who is still glowing from having Kit call him a boffin)

Kelly said...

Take my word for it - there is one, and only one way to make baseball more interesting: lots and lots of beer!

Perhaps there should have been beach volleyball bikini dancers who performed between pitches? :-)

KJ in the USA
(specifically - Wisconsin - land of beer, cheese and cows)

Joanne said...

I'm not a big fan of baseball myself but, watching it much different from actually having to play it. Somehow, when you're up to bat things get exciting. It's a weird paradox.

However, when I do go to games, most of the time I end up pigging out on hot dogs and soda and paying more attention to what my friends have to yell at the umpire than to the game itself. I think that's what makes the game more fun.

Hope you're still having fun in Athens,
Joanne-Los Angeles, CA

Al said...

Going to a game is about beer and hotdogs. You can't really see the stuff that makes the game exciting unless you're right down behind home plate. It's a game made for television where you can see where the pitches are going.

The brawls are better in person, though.