Retro Relapse: The MLB to 7 Innings Idea

RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.

*Written in 2014.

Recently, an unnamed high-ranking baseball executive discussed trimming MLB games down to 7 innings (story here). Homeboy is probably unnamed because he doesn’t want millions of boots up his idiotic ass.

It seems that this executive feels that limiting games to 7 innings would enhance the sport. He pointed out that MLB’s audience is aging and that younger people want shit faster and faster.

Well, fuck that argument. The executive is assuming that baseball is boring and slow. It is a common argument usually broadcasted by baseball naysayers because they have the attention span of mallards in heat. The fact of the matter is, there are other ways to speed up the game, as opposed to shaving off two innings. Additionally, if kids today don’t care about baseball because the pace is a bit more relaxed than basketball or football, it just means that their parents failed them. These kids should have had certain things instilled in them like the fact that baseball is the greatest thing America has ever produced.

He also talks about how teams are having a hard time finding good pitching and that pitchers are getting injured more frequently. Okay, well how is a 9 inning game to blame? Major League Baseball has always consisted of games that went 9 innings (or more in the case of a tie after 9). The problem here is obviously something else other than the game being 9 innings. That’s like saying, more car accidents are occurring so it must be this 70 MPH speed limit, even though it has always been a 70 MPH speed limit. Yeah, ignore all other factors and single out the one thing that has always been a constant. Additionally, haven’t they already altered the game, on numerous occasions, to benefit the hitters? So bad pitching means better batting. I guess logic and consistency are in short supply.

With two less innings, games would finish at around two and a half hours as opposed to three hours. This executive is high up on that idea. Personally, I think this guy is stupid as hell. Maybe I’m a true baseball purist because I want three hour baseball! Hell, I get really fucking excited when games go to extra innings. Granted, 17 innings are probably way too many but extra baseball means more bang for your buck! Why would you want less? And why even watch baseball at all if you want short ass games? Just watch highlights like a fucking tool.

However, apart from all of that, what would this do to the history of the game? Every record from this day forward would have an asterisk because to compare records over 7 innings against records over 9 innings just won’t work. It’s as if you would have to close the book on baseball history and start the record books over from scratch.

For instance, it’d be much easier for pitchers to pitch no hitters, as there are less innings. It’d be easier for batters to maintain higher batting averages, as they’d be taking less at bats. This would also effect on-base percentages. Additionally, it’d lower the amounts of strikeouts a pitcher could get. It’d also lower the amount of homeruns a player could get over the season considering games are now 7 innings instead of 9, which for a whole season of 162 games adds up to 1,134 innings instead of the current 1,458. The same issue arises for stolen bases, hits, RBIs and everything else you could think of, really. Furthermore, it’d be damn near impossible for anyone to ever beat Barry Bonds homerun record of 762. Same goes for all-time records in hits, strikeouts, stolen bases, RBIs, innings pitched and so on. This is why we couldn’t compare new stats and records to old stats and records.

Being a traditionalist for the most traditional sport, the thought of this 7 inning idea is beyond baffling. Truthfully, this idea is fucking madness. Fortunately, this most likely will never happen. It is a horrible proposal but that doesn’t mean that this idiot exec couldn’t convince other idiot execs and thus, gain some traction with this insane weirdness. Still, I doubt enough people would be this crazy but at the same time, enough people had to think that the DH rule was a good idea.

Retro Relapse: The DH Rule Is for Pussies

RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.

*Written in 2014.

You read the title right.

Yes, the designated hitter rule is for pussies. Maybe I am biased as my team, the Chicago Cubs, is in the National League and maybe I am cool with my pitchers hitting, as they have no problem knocking home runs and at the very least, getting base hits and RBIs. Travis Wood, one of our starting pitchers currently has a batting average of .240 and in 25 at-bats has 2 home runs and 8 RBIs. I’ll take it!

Regardless of Travis Wood’s success in the batter’s box, I have always felt this way about the DH rule.

Over there in the American League, teams are too scared to have their pitchers bat because typically, pitchers are shitty batters. That’s a bullshit cop out! Do the pitchers in the AL make half the money since they only play half the time? No, they get paid full top dollar while on the flipside their team has to waste a roster spot on a player who sucks defensively but justifies having his job because he can hit. The AL is where veteran sluggers go to die. That may be harsh but it’s true.

There are several players in the American League that are making a career out of being good in the DH role. The biggest one right now is the Boston Red Sox’s Tito Ortiz a.k.a. Big Papi. Don’t get me wrong, I love that guy and he is a great presence not just on the field and in the dugout but also as an ambassador of the sport. However, he wouldn’t have a career anymore if he was in the National League. Why? Because he isn’t a very effective defensive player on the field. At one point he was better than decent but old age has caught up to Big Papi. Luckily for him, he can still swing like a beast and knock home runs in the clutch.

Yes, in a clutch situation, a very good hitting DH is exciting. Ortiz knocking balls out of the park during the playoffs and World Series last year was a pretty awesome display of his hitting prowess. But should a one trick pony be put on a pedestal and celebrated at the most elite level of the greatest sport in the world? I’m sorry but I think that a player in Major League Baseball should be great on both sides of the field. The DH rule keeps guys around longer than they should be.

Does this mean that I think pitchers should be criticized for not being able to hit just as much as I am criticizing designated hitters for not being able to play effectively in position roles? Yes and no. While I think that pitchers should strive to be better hitters and be as effective as possible in the batter’s box, I also realize that pitching is their priority and having an ace on the mound and a stud in the bullpen is more important than having a better-than-average guy reach first base. But yes, pitchers should make a serious effort at becoming better batters when time allows for it and they shouldn’t go up to bat and not take it seriously. The one thing I love about the Cubs pitchers is that they can produce and there has been more than one occasion where a pitcher at bat has been the offensive catalyst that produced a Cubs win.

Additionally, what’s more exciting? A DH getting hits like they’re routine or a pitcher, expected to flounder, hitting a two run homer for the lead late in a game? I’m going with the latter.

The DH is a bitch rule. It is like a fucking cheat code. It reminds me of when I used to play my cousin in Triple Play ’99 on Playstation 1, back in the day, and I used to put in the home run cheat code allowing myself to bunt homers – just to be a dick. He hated it and I don’t blame him. But how he felt is how I feel when an American League team forgoes a hitting strategy when coming to the lowest point in their batting lineup because they can just pull out their big gun.

I like the challenge and the competition and the DH rule eliminates some of the challenge and strategic planning. Sure, one can argue that when the NL plays the AL, it is an even playing field because if the AL team is at home, the NL team can use a DH but that misses the point. You see, the National League didn’t need a designated hitter until it had to play the American League. The NL shouldn’t have to lower itself but if you’re forced to play tee-ball teams, you have to play as a tee-ball team.

Vids I Dig 432: The 6:05 Superpodcast: Opening Day Star Wars 2020

Taken from Arcadian Vanguard’s YouTube description: It’s Opening Day of the 2020 baseball season, normally a day of optimism and hope, but this year a day that is totally bizarre, so that means it’s time for another 6:05 Superpodcast Star Wars special!

Retro Relapse: Baseball Needs to Grow the Fuck Up

RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.

*Written in 2016.

Warning: I’d call this a rant.

Baseball is the greatest thing in the world. It is more than a game. It is tradition, it is history, it is Americana at its most pure and it is what nearly every boy wanted to do before the NFL wrestled the ownership of Sundays away from Jesus.

The problem with this old sport is that it is a very large part of America’s unique history. While that isn’t bad in and of itself, it is ruined by those who must keep certain traditions alive despite the always changing and expanding world. Every other sport adapts with the times, sometimes a bit late, but they all adapt. Baseball has a really hard time with this and it is what is killing the game.

No one really gives a shit whether or not NFL quarterback Peyton Manning took HGH except for a few sports writers trying to make a mountain out of a mole hill and grind an ax. However, if a baseball player is even mentioned around steroids, the witch-hunt begins and the stake is already burning. Peyton Manning, after his recent Superbowl win is an American hero but Alex Rodriguez is still an unwelcome demon spawn. But I already talked about the PED issue. I’m just bringing it up because it is part of the bigger picture I am discussing in this piece. I also already talked about umpires being pussies and players as well. But all of this is relevant to my point.

Everyone in baseball is a fucking pussy. And not just those in baseball but those around it and the millions that watch it. Okay, not everyone but certainly most people.

This is why I am glad that a young player, Bryce Harper, is being pretty vocal about the sport having to adapt to the times. Last season, he put sensitive umpires on blast. Most recently, he’s been talking about players needing to man up and get over other players celebrating or showing excitement when they do something great on the field. He’s right. Despite other players telling him to shut the fuck up, he’s goddamn right.

Personally, I’m tired of professional athletes complaining about bat flips, victory dances and displays of emotion. The players claim that it is disrespectful to the player on the losing end. Jesus fucking Christ, man the fuck up and grow a set of fucking balls, pussies!

If a player is tired of a showboat, become a better player. If they can’t become a better player and beat their celebrating rival, they should learn how to grow thicker skin and deal with it. It’s childish bullshit. What’s next, participation trophies for all the professional athletes every year?

And really, did none of these players ever play ball as kids? Kids are brutal as hell and talk more shit and celebrate more than any professional athlete.

I sucked at baseball, even though I loved it. I got called all kinds of names. Yeah, it pissed me off and it made me want to knock the next pitch out of the park but I got over it and always came back the next day. And I was in middle school, certainly much younger than these crybabies. I also wasn’t making millions to play the game. I played it because despite the name calling, it was still fun.

Usually a player that celebrates too much is beaned with a baseball. There are other forms of retaliation but regardless, retaliation is a bitch move in that situation.

Sure, I get the old code. I understand that when one of your players gets beaned, you bean one of theirs: eye for an eye and all that jazz. It’s one thing if a bean is intentional, it’s an entirely different thing if it is an accidental wild pitch – that shit happens. But to bean a guy for celebrating a game-clinching multi-run homer, shows that the team on the losing end is a bunch of temper tantrum toddlers. Boo fucking hoo, you lost! Well, it’s a competition, someone has to lose.

The NFL penalizes football teams for a player showboating. I don’t agree with it but they’re pussies too. But no one is as big of a pussy about it as MLB players. And the fans are even bigger pussies than that. But luckily fans aren’t in the game to bean chronic offenders in the head.

The problem with baseball is that everyone, from top to bottom, is just a sensitive bitch. To see grown ass men act like pissed off toddlers in a sandbox rumble is deplorable. And if you call them out on it, they reference “the code” or talk about the “culture” of the game that us outsiders will never understand.

Well, if I go to a rival company and throw a ball at the head of an employee, I can’t turn to the media and talk about “the code” and the “culture” of the industry I work in. I’d be laughed at and probably be called “a baby” or a “psycho”. I’d also be in jail.

For guys that have a job that makes them a public figure, they can’t handle the scrutiny that comes along with their stupid childish behavior. But again, they’re fucking pussies.

The game needs to adapt in a lot of ways. It needs to change and grow up. The biggest change needs to come with the behavior and the ego of these prima donnas.

Baseball also needs to get over its shit with Pete Rose and deal with PEDs in a better fashion. But if you don’t see things through the MLB’s antique pair of glasses, you don’t know about the game and the tradition and the blah, blah, blegh!

There are a lot of old men in the baseball world that just need to die off. The sport may be be doing well enough but it can never be America’s pastime again if it doesn’t grow and change with America. Compared to baseball, I think football mostly sucks but that certainly isn’t majority opinion. It also won’t be majority opinion until baseball can kill off the zombies roaming around the grounds. They’re slow, they smell and they won’t stop until everything else is a wobbly mass of decaying shit and all the brains are devoured.

I just hope more young players are influenced by Bryce Harper. I hope more players become vocal if they share the same sentiment. I want to see the sport survive. Fuck that, I want to see it thrive. I want it to thrive like it did in the old days when it was the coolest thing in America.

In 1943, a team of women were told, “There’s no crying in baseball!” In 2016, a league of men don’t do much but cry.

Film Review: My Blue Heaven (1990)

Release Date: August 17th, 1990
Directed by: Herbert Ross
Written by: Nora Ephron
Music by: Ira Newborn
Cast: Steve Martin, Rick Moranis, Joan Cusack, Melanie Mayron, Bill Irwin, Carol Kane, William Hickey, Deborah Rush, Daniel Stern, Ed Lauter, Colleen Camp, Troy Evans, LaWanda Page

Hawn / Sylbert Movie Company, Warner Bros., 97 Minutes

Review:

“Richie loved to use 22s because the bullets are small and they don’t come out the other end like a 45, see, a 45 will blow a barn door out the back of your head and there’s a lot of dry cleaning involved, but a 22 will just rattle around like Pac-Man until you’re dead.” – Vincent ‘Vinnie’ Antonelli

Even though My Blue Heaven kind of bombed when it came out, I’ve always liked the movie. I’d even go as far as to say that Vinnie Antonelli is my favorite Steve Martin character. I think a lot of that has to do with it being a real departure from typical Steve Martin while still having his DNA all over it.

Rick Moranis is also great, here. However, he plays the straight character and he’s not too dissimilar from the regular Moranis role. Well, except he’s an FBI agent and a bit of a badass when push comes to shove.

Rounding them out is a good cast of character actors, as well as Joan Cusack, who is pretty dynamite, overall. I like her character a lot and as you get to know her, you start to feel for her while the story makes her character’s journey a worthwhile one.

The plot revolves around an ex-mafioso who has been put into Witness Protection by the FBI. Martin plays the mafioso while Moranis plays the FBI agent assigned to him. Cusack plays the District Attorney of the town where Martin has been relocated to. Martin’s Vinnie can’t keep his hands clean, however, so Cusack’s D.A. keeps trying to throw the book at him while Moranis keeps interjecting, drawing the ire and the attraction of Cusack.

Mostly, the film plays out like a series of gags and funny bits with a simple but nicely layered story bringing it all together.

The best parts are where Steve Martin interacts with other people. He really makes this picture work and on paper, he probably didn’t seem like the best casting but he actually shines and shows his range in the comedy realm. Granted, Moranis and Cusack also bring a lot to the table and they only compliment Martin’s performance, giving him solid people to work off of.

In a lot of ways, this is just a feel good romantic comedy with some crime and a wee bit of action. It’s good, mindless entertainment and reminds me of a simpler time when we could escape into our entertainment and forget the world for 90-120 minutes.

The film has held up well and even though many would disagree, it’s still one of Steve Martin’s best.

Rating: 7.5/10
Pairs well with: other Steve Martin comedies of the ’70s up to the early ’90s, especially Parenthood and Little Shop of Horrors, which also feature Rick Moranis.

Book Review: ‘Relentless Optimism: How a Commitment to Positive Thinking Changes Everything’ by Darrin Donnelly

I’ve never been big on reading self help sort of stuff. I certainly write about the subject, though. I like to help other people and I’m often told about how I give good insight and I’m easy to talk to and usually give solid, rational advice. I’m no therapist, however, and even if I can help people deal with their own shit, sometimes dealing with my own can be a bit taxing. But you have a very different perspective when you’re really close to a problem.

Being that I’ve been overwhelmed by mental clutter lately and because that doesn’t help when I’m a person that has battled severe depression and anxiety my entire life, I’ve been in a really negative, cynical head space, as of late. So I felt like I needed to inject some optimism into my life and while searching for books on my Kindle, I came across this one.

To put it bluntly, this is one of those books that is legitimately life altering, at least from my point-of-view.

The author’s advice and examples of how to apply it are all told through a story about a struggling minor league baseball player. The story isn’t real but it helps frame what the author is trying to convey in a way that’s easy to understand and digest.

While I understand that many people don’t give a crap about sports and that this is written to help athletes, the lessons and ideas expressed here just work in life, regardless of whether or not you’re a baseball player, an office workers or in a creative field.

I really enjoyed this and actually read it in one sitting within a few hours. I plan to read it again and keep it to reference in the future.

I also discovered that this is the third book in a series of five, so I think I’ll start giving the other volumes a read as well. Because even if they’re only 50 percent as effective as this book was, they’d still be way ahead of similar books I’ve read in the self help realm over the years.

Rating: 10/10
Pairs well with: I’m assuming the other four books in Darrin Donnelly’s Sports for the Soul series. I’ll probably read the others in the near future, based off of how much I enjoyed this one.

Comic Review: Everglade Angels

Published: February, 2020
Written by: Scott Lobdell, Blake Northcott
Art by: John Upchurch

Northworld Publishing, 48 Pages

Review:

I backed this campaign on Indiegogo several months back and I was really excited to finally get my copy of the graphic novel.

For one, I love slasher movies. I also live and grew up on the edge of the Florida Everglades. So combining those two things is a win/win for me.

Additionally, this was written by Scott Lobdell, a writer I’ve liked for years, and Blake Northcott, a mutual follower on Twitter, who has a great personality, a solid perspective on how to manage her social media, and most importantly, a stupendous track record.

That being said, I really liked this quite a bit.

The characters were all cool and well developed in the minimal space they had to live and breathe. I also liked the backstory for the villains.

The art is also really good and for a crowdfunded book, this truly is in the upper echelon of comics I’ve seen. It’s actually better than most of the mainstream comics coming out in 2020. I especially like the colors and overall visual aesthetic of the book.

There’s not much else I can say without spoiling too much and I’d rather people go out and pick this up, assuming they still can somewhere.

I’m not sure if any follow ups are planned but I’d probably support a sequel.

Rating: 7.5/10
Pairs well with: other horror/slasher comics. It really reminded me of Hack/Slash stories.

Retro Relapse: Pete Rose: A God Amongst Old Men

RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.

*Written in 2015.

Pete Rose is one of the greatest players to ever play the game of baseball. He is the all-time hits leader with 4,256, as well as games played (3,562), at-bats (14,053) and singles (3,215). He also has 1,314 RBIs and a career batting average of .303 over 23 seasons in the majors. Then there are also his three World Series rings with the infamous “Big Red Machine” Cincinnati team of the 1970s. He also has three batting titles, one MVP, two Gold Gloves, was the Rookie of the Year and also made 17 All-Star appearances playing five different positions (2B, LF, RF, 3B, and 1B).

The word “legend” is almost too small for Pete Rose.

The problem is that he’s banned from the sport of baseball because he bet on games during his time as a player and a manager with the Reds. Due to being banned, he cannot go into the Hall of Fame and cannot participate in any Major League Baseball activities. He’s been exiled from the sport for decades and the league has been pretty adamant about their decision.

Rose’s situation has been pretty controversial since this all went down in 1989.

Back then, he was questioned by MLB commissioner Peter Ueberroth. Rose denied the allegations and it was dropped. Ueberroth’s successor, Bart Giamatti decided that the matter needed to be investigated further. As the facts came out, Rose continued to deny the allegations. Eventually, it was proven that he had gambled but he still refused to admit to the crime. Although in August of 1989, he voluntarily accepted a permanent place on the MLB’s ineligible list because he really didn’t have much of a choice.

For some time, the debate as to whether or not he ever bet for or against the Reds went unresolved. In the end, it was discovered that he did but it wasn’t until years later that he finally admitted to it. Long-standing MLB commissioner Bud Selig often times entertained the possibility of Rose’s reinstatement but nothing ever happened during his tenure.

Now, with a new commissioner in power, Pete Rose has applied for reinstatement.

Will he get reinstated? I doubt it. And frankly, that is a shame.

What Pete Rose did was wrong, as it went against the rules of the game. Regardless of that, there probably aren’t many players in the entire history of the sport who haven’t broken a few rules. That’s not to excuse what he did but to bring to light the harshness of the punishment and ridicule he has had to endure for decades.

Worst-case scenario, Rose directly had a negative impact on the integrity of baseball – something the purists and old school nerds hold as ultimately sacred. However, there has never been any proof that Rose deliberately sabotaged games as a player or manager in an effort to make personal profit. People can speculate on that and they have for years but Pete Rose lives in a land of innocent until proven guilty and correlation isn’t causation.

How many baseball players have gambled throughout history? That’s impossible to answer but one doesn’t have to go far to make a comparison.

Babe Ruth, considered to be the greatest baseball player of all-time by most, gambled a lot. Did he bet on baseball? And furthermore, did he bet for or against his team? No one knows for sure. But considering his questionable moral character, it does raise speculation. But as I said before, correlation isn’t causation. And the difference here, is that Rose got caught: Ruth didn’t. Or at least, people were willing to turn a blind eye to Ruth’s antics in his day. The same way they turned a blind eye to racism, drinking on the job and douchebags like Ty Cobb who would maim opposing players deliberately.

Looking at the Hall of Fame, I already wrote extensively about the lack of character many of its inductees have displayed in my monster article about PEDs (see here). I’m not going to rehash all of that but feel free to read it. The point is that there are many players who are honored and held in high regard but their highly questionable antics are worse than Pete Rose having an addiction to gambling. If anything, Rose needed help.

I get it though, it is about the integrity. But it is hard to preach integrity when most of those doing the preaching are guilty of something.

New MLB commissioner Rob Manfred, when asked about Rose’s recent request to be reinstated, said, “I think the gambling rule is so fundamental to the integrity of the game that it should always stay where it is.” He also said that PED offenses were treated too harshly and that gambling was a bigger offense (article here). Manfred sounds like he’s a member of the old guard and not very progressive in regards to the changing times and evolution of the sport and the world in general. Somewhat hypocritically, when asked about the MLB’s partnership with DraftKings.com, a sports gambling site, Manfred said that fantasy sports are not the same as gambling, even if there is money involved. Yeah, okay, bro.

So why is this so important now?

Well, as stated earlier, Rose requested his reinstatement once again. Considering that there is a new commissioner of baseball, it is now the decision of that new head honcho. Additionally, this year’s All-Star Game is being hosted by the Cincinnati Reds. So what better venue and place is there to finally bring Pete Rose back into the Major League Baseball fold? And think about the press and attention it would bring to that event. People may actually take baseball a bit more seriously and respect how the sport is ran if Rob Manfred can show that it isn’t some archaic bureaucratic shit show anymore.

But more importantly than all of that, Pete Rose deserves recognition. He deserves to stand among his peers, many of whom he is better than. Considering his crime in comparison to the crimes of many of his peers, he has served his time and his debt to the sport has been paid ten fold.

If the answer is “no”, then Rob Manfred and Major League Baseball are just being uptight jackasses. And ultimately, they are denying fans what they want, denying Pete Rose what he deserves and proving that they are cherry-picking hypocrites.