July 16, 2014
What Do We Do About Today?
It used to be that there was a day of inactivity after the All-Star break. We complained and we moaned, but we understood that a day, one day, is tolerable. Now there are two days, which is great if you're an All-Star traveling to your next road trip but more silence than most of us are into. We, as a staff, discussed some possibilities to distract us on the Wednesday after the All-Star game.
1. Play the Futures Game.
Jason Wojciechowski: How about every night that isn't the All-Star Game itself (and maybe that night, too) has a Futures Game? Make it a series and we can see the starting pitchers for longer and see the players play more like a real game.
Sam Miller: I’m basically in favor of the Sunday night idea, except then we’d still have nothing to do on Wednesday, which is the problem we’re trying to solve! I prefer the Wednesday option because I like the idea of turning the post-ASG dead stretch into a prospects showcase. Could put the Futures Game on Wednesday, and do even more than that; a skills competition between minor leaguers, for instance, would be infinitely more interesting to me than one between major leaguers. A second “futures” game on Thursday that features all draft picks from that year is something I’d definitely tune in to, even more than a regular futures game.
Bret Sayre: A second game could be called "The Hazing" and put the winner of the Futures Game against the best players from the new draft class.
2. The Amateur Draft.
Zachary Levine: You’d have the benefit of not drafting players during the college season, but this would kill short-season ball as we know it. They need the players to come in June, and I actually think the 76-game season they run (not having to sell tickets during the school year) is great. Would take it away from the NBA Finals, though.
3. Doing Stuff.
MG: I suspect it would quickly turn into yet another dopey reality show.
SM: I assume this suggestion is meant as a joke, but 16 cameras on 16 players who agree to be filmed and be relatively candid for a day--especially without the pernicious influence of editing--would be pretty fun. I'd watch. I'd flip. I'd react on Twitter. It'd be especially fun, or especially intolerable, if the 16 were competing for the most viewers; they would have no idea what the other 15 players were doing, but they know they have to be interesting to keep people on their "channel." I absolutely can't believe I'm talking myself into this idea.
4. Rookie vs. Sophomores Game (like the NBA does)
BS: This could be an excellent idea, but I have a slightly different take on it. Make it a US vs World type situation with any player 25 or under with MLB experience not in the ASG eligible to participate. At least one participant per team, 25-man rosters. Rosters would be selected by the Baseball Prospectus staff because why not.
ZL: My idea on Effectively Wild was have rookies be eligible for the Futures Game just for a little more name recognition in the game, though I like this one too.
SM: Problem is that MLB has decided players need two days to recuperate from exhibition game action. This would involve major-leaguers. Therefore, two days of rest/travel needed, and we're back where we started.
5. A skills competition, like the NHL does.
JW: I'm for this as long as the winner is awarded a tiny gold statue of Ichiro as penance for not instituting the skills competition while said Ichiro still had the physical talent to win it.
BS: Love this idea. I wrote last year about having a single event between two superstars encompassing all of these things but any iteration of this in general would be supremely fun to watch.
Craig Goldstein: Love the idea of a skills challenge. I think it combines fun and competition in a way that is perfectly suited to what my ideal all-star event would be.
SM: This is a skills competition. It tests players' ability to bunt. It lasts just 26 minutes, about an eighth as long as MLB would draw out a skills competition. If even one of you can make it to the end, I will endorse this terrible, no-fun idea that everybody should be ashamed of supporting.
6. World Baseball Classic
SM: Well, besides being aggressively beyond the scope of this prompt, there's one seemingly unsolveable problem with any mid-year WBC idea: you have to make Japan and Korea pause their seasons at the same time, and they have to all travel to the United States (which, as we know from the Dodgers/Diamondbacks’ complaints, takes a week to recover from) and back, effectively interrupting their season for two or three weeks just to play one or two games. That’s a high cost for participation, and I assume we’d want them to participate, because a Korean World Baseball Classic team with only American-employed players wouldn’t be very competitive.
SM: If this were on at the same time as the World Series, I would actually choose to watch this. Well, I’d certainly watch the fastest pitch thrown by position players. I’d watch almost anything that involved Andrelton Simmons on a mound; I’d watch Andrelton Simmons strangling a puppy if he did it on a mound. The pitchers’ HR Derby has the potential to be a big flop; home run derbies, as we’ve seen very recently, are boring when home runs aren’t being hit, and I’m not sure that pitchers would be reliable enough to be exciting. Might need to do something, like juice the balls or give them aluminum—wait, yup, that’s the answer. Pitchers’ home run derby but with aluminum bats. This is a real contender.
JW: In the video, there's a mascot sitting on his butt not too far from home plate. He's not really doing anything, but sometimes he lifts his mascot head up a ways so he can watch the position player throw 90 mph with his real eyes instead of his dead bear eyes. As long as this is part of the competition, it should happen. There isn't enough of mascots breaking kayfabe in American baseball.
8. Trade Deadline.
JW: If GM attendance is mandatory. You know how Billy Beane only shows up for like the middle day and a half of the winter meetings because he thinks the whole thing is nonsense? Don't let him do that. Required attendance for 48 hours in a big conference room by all 30 GMs. No lieutenants, no war rooms / suites, no sleep. Ideally no outside communication, either. Just lock them in and see what happens when you open the door two days later. Like Vic Mackey did.
SM: Re: above idea, lock them in and film it; release the film five years later as documentary footage. Not sure why I'm so eager to turn everything into reality television.
ZL: This would be fun. You don’t even need the meeting, but the deadline when there weren’t games going on and a fresh start with new teams after the break would be enjoyable.
9. All-Star Game for National Pro Fastpitch.
SM: A noble idea that, unfortunately, is probably doomed by the market.