Micah Rice: Pitching a few baseball ideas out of left field

By Micah Rice, Columbian sports editor

Published:

 
photoMicah Rice, sports editor, grew up in Eugene. That explains a lot.

Dear baseball,

As a newspaper writer, I feel a certain kinship with you.

You used to rule your industry, just as the old broadsheet used to dominate mine.

But society changed. Technology pressed the accelerator on our lives. Pastimes are being left in the past.

To survive, we must adapt.

Now I'm no expert. Figuring out how to make money in Internet-based journalism is harder than hitting a Clayton Kershaw curveball.

But this upheaval has forced us to think outside of the box. So I'm writing to you humbly -- I know how you hate being shown up -- with three unconventional tips for moving the game forward.

1.

Shorten up -- Have the season end on Labor Day. You've lost autumn to the new king of the sports landscape, the NFL. Four out of the last five World Series have averaged less than 10 million viewers per game. The NFL's season opener Sept. 5 drew 25.1 million. People watch regular-season football because they feel the games mean something. Even farther out of left field: Make each regular season series three games, then award one "win" to the series winner. It'd be deciding-game suspense all summer long.

2.

Lighten up -- You hate it when players make a scene. Celebrating a home run is often rewarded with a fastball in the back. But us fans want emotion and drama.

I saw this video where a Korean player hit a home run and spun 360 degrees on his follow-through. How cool is that? Take a page from the NFL and let players wear emotion on their sleeves.

3.

Clean up -- It's time to get serious about your drug problem. Fifty-game suspensions have helped, but the 2-year bans U.S. Olympic athletes face would have real teeth.

You say the union wouldn't allow it, but enough players were angry with Ryan Braun that change from within seems possible. Collectively, the players are like a neighborhood that has a known drug house. Many good folks live there, but the one bad spot gets the whole area labeled as trouble. Players need to take their neighborhood back.

That's all for now. I would write more, but there's a football game about to start.

Micah Rice is The Columbian's Sports Editor. Reach him at 360-735-4548, micah.rice@columbian.com or on Twitter @col_mrice.