Monday, July 14, 2014

"Nobody Asked Me, But..." by Dad

A couple of weeks ago, my younger son (byline:CBoh) borrowed an interesting column-creating idea from Bob Ryan and Bill Simmons, and followed their lead to create his own all-Earth basketball team.

Very fun blog. Please jump back to June and check it out.

But now, since this is 2gens and I’m the older gen, I’m going to pay homage to a much older sports columnist named Jimmy Cannon.  Cannon, long dead, wrote a column for a variety of New York newspapers from the ‘40s to the ‘70s. I remember reading him as a very young kid in a long defunct newspaper called the New York Journal American, which my dad would hand to me after reading it on the train home from work. Most of Cannon’s columns were of the single subject variety, as are most newspaper columns.  But, from time to time, lacking an idea he could run with to sufficient length, he would simply write a column of random ramblings, under the heading, “Nobody asked me, but…”

To the degree that Cannon is at all remembered, it is ironically for just this.

So, nobody asked me, but…

Even though I really dislike the designated hitter, I think the National League should buckle and accept it.  The players’ union will never let the American League give it up and, with all the interleague play, not having a DH just puts NL teams at too great a disadvantage.

Citi Field has probably cost David Wright as many home runs as Yankee Stadium has added to Derek Jeter’s home run total.  Imagine their careers if each one had played in the other’s ballpark.

I think that baseball should outlaw extreme defensive shifts.  I’m a huge fan of sabermetrics, but the game has gotten too difficult for hitters, and not just because of all the 95 MPH flame-throwers that every team seems to have. It’s also all these data driven defensive shifts. The solution? Every team on the field should be required to have two infielders on each side of second base, and no more than two outfielders on either side.  There’s plenty of precedence in other sports for this. Football has legal and illegal formations, soccer has the off sides rule, hockey has the blue line, and basketball has the rule about the paint.

I also think baseball should have a salary cap, just like football and basketball.  I do realize that the bulk of TV money in baseball is local and team-based, not national and league-based as is the case with the NFL and the NBA. But this difference in revenue source doesn’t mean that grotesquely uneven spending from team to team is fair. It’s as if Yankee GM Brian Cashman were to start a Monopoly game with $15,000 instead of the rule-stipulated $1500 that almost all the rest of the teams start with, and then think he’s a genius when the last guy lands on Boardwalk and he wins. And I don’t care about the low team spending success of guys like Billy Beane.  Those guys would also crush Cashman and Co. at rigged Monopoly.

UVA and Vanderbilt recently completed a really good College World Series and, rightly, almost no one cared. Baseball is the one sport of the Big Three in which college games are kept in proper perspective. The obvious reason? Baseball has a huge minor league system where lots of aspiring players go straight from high school. This means there is way less money involved in college baseball than in football and basketball, and much less hypocrisy about “scholar athletes.” The equally obvious solution? Football and basketball should develop their own minor leagues.  Basketball has a sort of start here with its D league. The chance of this happening? Nil. Love that soccer term.

So that’s it for this time. Nobody asked me, but… this random ranting is kind of fun.