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Monday, June 25, 2012
Playbook's guide to bearable baseball

By Steve Etheridge

Bobby Valentine
Looks like Bobby Valentine could use a little dipping sauce to go with his baseball.
This again. The spring of hockey and basketball relents to the summer of baseball, an adrenaline shift so immense it's like swapping Four Loko for buttermilk, Van Halen for Van Winkle. Not saying baseball is boring, but its occasionally exhilarating game play wasn't designed for today's chimp-in-a-straitjacket attention spans.

Games of Monopoly can be finished between pitches, and naps can be accomplished while husky DHs plod to first in slow-mo. If patience is a virtue, then anyone who can sit through nine innings of baseball without getting antsy should be elevated to sainthood.

Maybe MLB should gussy things up a little. Timeless doesn't have to feel interminable, right? So here are a few suggestions -- take 'em or leave 'em -- for boosting the overall excitement of baseball.

• Quicksand warning tracks.

• Hang mistletoe over home to make plate collisions all the more exhilarating.

• The seventh-inning stretch should be a mandatory activity for players over 250 pounds where they're paraded to center field and tethered to poles, and a cheddar biscuit is placed just beyond their reach.

• Enlist a fleet of WALL-Es to deliver balls to pitchers and collect litter from the field.

• Dipping sauces? They seem to make everything else better in life.

• More footage of Jim Thome chuckling.

• Promise the Cubs a World Series if they play the season dressed as geishas, then, come October, pretend you have no idea what they're talking about.

• Give the game a little "Mutant League" treatment.

• STEROIDS! Are wrong. Keep it clean.

• Let Yogi Berra and Ozzie Guillen do some sort of Waldorf/Statler thing during nationally televised games.

• More prayer. Anyone who saw the excellent 1994 documentary "Angels in the Outfield" knows what I’m talking about.

• No more intentional walks, unless it's to give Prince Fielder some exercise.

Have some ideas of your own? Add them in the comments.