Pounding booze harder than an excited Tracy Morgan is always a favorable strategy—it’s helped you through your nephew’s piano recital, the sexual harassment seminar at work, and your sister’s intervention. And those were all slightly more monotonous than a baseball game. The trouble is, unless you’re sneaking a flask or two into the park, you’re going to pay the equivalent cost of a black-market kidney to get sufficiently trashed in nine innings.
Major League Baseball, we’re no longer living in the late 1800’s; children are no longer amused by simply rolling a hoop down the street with a stick before dying of polio at age thirteen. Today’s kids, tomorrow’s adults and consumers, spend their days captivated by video games where they murder zombie terrorists, disembowel ninja wizards, and decapitate mouth hookers with machetes while the screen is drenched with virtual blood, super aggression, and golden-warlord points.
Yeah, baseball needs to make changes to compete with that.
Step One—Play Up Grudge Matches: A good rivalry can be fun, but playing up personal feuds to a breaking point is a rush unmatched by any normal human emotion or really anything that can be obtained over the counter. ESPN, you’re no Don King and you’re no TNT—frankly, you don’t know drama. We’ve seen you try to play up animosity through reporting on player’s tweets back and forth, however, you inevitably end up coming across sounding like that pathetic friend who has nothing better to say.
Think about if players could settle their bad blood through a cage match à la Spiderman against Bonesaw. Picture Mike Piazza and Roger Clemens settling the score after their string of incidents in the early 2000s by entering a cage that contains nothing but an excess of mutual hatred and a single broken bat. Who wouldn’t pay $59.99 to watch that on Pay-Per-View? Also, playing up the revenge angle will remind young, now-entertained viewers that “it doesn’t matter if you win or lose; you can always go smack him in the mouth and call his mother a whore after the game.”
Step Two—Add Real-Life Turbo Buttons: Although there is no designated turbo button in real life like on game controllers, there will always be hard drugs and steroids. No more suspensions for players testing positive for controlled substances, but rather commending said players for the unselfish act of significantly shortening their lives to be able to rage harder, hit baseballs further, and be more entertaining to fans while in the league. Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, and Darryl Strawberry, bless your altruistic souls for putting my amusement above your general safety and well-being.
As a turbo bonus, the shear increase of irrational and unchecked anger that results from hard drug and steroid use would predictably lead to more unrestrained aggression, more violence among players, and more people tuning in to see if the National Guard is going to take down the ‘roided and coked out juggernaut first baseman who somehow turned a rain delay into a hostage situation in the dugout.
Step Three—Incorporate Wild Animals: Picture a man who’s is part baseball player, part animal wrestler, and all-American badass. His poster would grace kids’ rooms everywhere and the nation would tune in to watch him hit homeruns before battling with tigers, wolves, and cobras in the infield while he tries to turn double plays. The Romans realized the entertainment value with gladiators fighting exotic brutes and Robin Williams recognized it when he agreed to star in Jumanji. It’s time baseball followed suit.
Seriously, even the 2005 Cambodian government successfully acknowledged said appeal when they permitted forty-two midgets to fight a lion. Yes, I know, you’re so enticed at the entertainment value of that match that you’re immediately trying to find the video online. Now can you even remember the last time you were that excited to watch a YouTube clip of a baseball game? Sadly, such lion-midget video doesn’t exist; the Cambodian government did not allow the surprising and brutally easy victory for the lion to be recorded.
Baseball, at the end of the day, you need to need to recognize the obsession our country has with violence. Plain and simple, we love when hostility boils into physical action—like if an in-his-prime Pedro Martinez could throw down an aging Don Zimmer in every game I would leave satisfied, and be even more delighted if I knew a cage match featuring endangered species fighting amongst Martinez and Zimmer was to ensue after.
It’s your move, either adapt to a world where men need more excitement to hold their interest than a woman showing her ankle, or continue to be ignored while America elects to grab a pint of bathtub whiskey and watch cats fight over a sandwich in our alleyways instead of spending our cash on a ticket, parking, and a nap in a public place.