Thursday, April 15, 2010

As Usual, Hunter S. Thompson Had This Shit Figured Out Ten Years Ago

Hunter S. Thompson was a man ahead of his time. While journalism was still revered as a noble and upstanding pursuit, Thompson was calling out both athletes and politicians on their bullshit, getting smashed at the Kentucky Derby and running around Vegas drugged out of his mind, in an effort to get the most sensational and therefore "real" story possible.

So it should be no surprise that he had a solution to the ever-growing problem of baseball games taking goddamn forever to play, and that it is wholly representative of the "Gonzo journalism" he popularized in his heyday.

In his November 6, 2000 "Hey Rube" ESPN column, Thompson outlined his plans to redesign and shorten baseball games, in three easy steps:

ELIMINATE THE PITCHER: This will knock at least one hour off the length of a game... Pitchers, as a group, are pampered little swine with too much money and no real effect on the game except to drag it out and interrupt the action.

Works for me. Pitchers are far and away the major source of my frustration with the game (especially the ones currently on my fantasy team). The good Doctor proposed that a pitching machine would pop up from the mound, provide an automatic pitch (dialed to the exact specifications of the catcher), and then sink down into the mound to open up the infield. Open it up for what, you ask?

ALL BASE-RUNNERS MAY RUN TO ANY BASE (but not backward) -- First to Third, Second to Home, etc. And with NO PITCHER in the game, this frantic scrambling across the infield will be Feasible and Tempting.

Oh, for that. Between the chaos going on in the infield and the customizable pitch-bot, the catcher becomes the most important player on the field, throwing runners out and dictating the exact pitch needed in every situation (which a real pitcher provides about 2% of the time).

This is all well and good, but what of the length? And how the hell do we keep score of this madness?

LIMIT ALL GAMES TO THREE (3) HOURS: Like football and basketball and hockey, the Baseball game will end at a fixed time. THE SCORE, at that moment, WILL BE FINAL, based on an accumulation of TOTAL BASES IN 3 hours.

Delicious. Try and tell me you wouldn't watch that. DON'T LIE TO ME!

You can read the full article in all its glory and wild genius here, or listen to Hunter's widow Anita read it aloud in the video above.

We miss you, Hunter. Mahalo.

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