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Where's BP's winning strategy?

By Tom Toles

How I would ruin baseball for you

While baseball fans in D.C., and potential victims everywhere else, await the arrival of pitching phenom Stephen Strasburg, I will play the spoilsport. Baseball is a cunning, high-stakes face-off between pitcher and batter, and that is what is wrong with baseball.

I guess there are people out there who never tire of seeing batters routinely fail to win this eternal struggle, slinking back, dejected again, to sit down in the dugout. But I would make a few small alterations in the rules of baseball to change this altogether:
1) Let the batting team supply the pitcher for its own batters
2) Make a ball that can't be hit out of the park
3) Adjust the number of fielders and innings as needed to accommodate rules 1 and 2

In MY version of baseball, the action would shift to hitting, fielding and base-running, which to me are more exciting than listening to the ball hit the catcher's mitt yet again. My objective would be to GET THE BALL IN PLAY, pretty much the opposite of what is going on now. This is another debate that I am in no danger of winning.

--Tom Toles


By Tom Toles  | May 18, 2010; 12:00 AM ET
Categories:  Environment  
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By removing the home run, Tom, you smash the HGH industry which has fueled the salary race which has fueled the, well, you get what I mean. "Say it ain't so, Sammy Sosa" and all the other *'s out there would be without work. Where's Jesse Jackson when you need him?

Posted by: quiensabe | May 20, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Tom, your monopoly analogy seems to place all of the blame at the feet of BP.

First of all, Obama sat on his backside for 8 days before doing anything about this problem. Maybe you should put him in that wheelbarrow for speed of response.

Next, remember it was Obama administration department of the interior officials who were handing out national safety awards to transocean officials as well as recognizing them for SAFE awards.

It was also the Obama administration that ignored the 1994 oil boom plan, just as Clinton, and Bush ignored them. He could have bought a fire boom and complied with the response plan, but instead just like everyone before him he did not. Instead of buying the one boom they had in stock at the fire boom manufacturers on day 1, and deploying it when the spill was small, Obama sat on his backside for 8 days doing nothing.

Then also you have the fact that the permit for this process was a bit expedited.

But now it is Obama who is pushing hard to blame BP, and working the left up into a BP hating frenzy that leaves him squeeky clean. The sad thing you are being duped by this strategy and bolstering this plan with your its-all-BPs-fault toon.

Posted by: Wiggan | May 18, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, I didn't get enough of that Monopoly gag from Colbert and Leno. Running out of ideas?

Posted by: NNevada | May 18, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

A new rule change that would be just as feasible would be a requirement that we, the audience, believe the sound of the ball hitting the catcher's mitt is as exciting as a ball in play. To me, its like taking an annoying sedative.

Wasn't that old idea of orange colored balls (by a former oakland team's owner?) supposed to favor more hitting? That seemed to be something reasonable enough to try. But the establishment is too rigid and likes things as is. Its their sport so have the right to keep baseball ruined for me, for being so damned Boring.

Baseball a business thats not interested in gaining my attention either, so i never give them any. Something may have to give way though, now that some player's salaries have become so outrageous that the owners have to borrow to make payroll. The sport also has to deal with player stats corrupted by steroids. I thought the higher ticket prices would have had an effect by now, but it seems no price is too high for the fans (including parking, concessions, etc).

So no, i dont like baseball. I would have a different opinion if the ball was in play more. My present aversion has been amplified after learning how i'm having to help pay to sustain their sport by my taxes partly financing their new stadium in town. They had a good enough stadium, but got the new one after the city guaranteed it would only be financed with private funding. It was hard to believe they could manage that. Doubting was the right reaction.

After the stadium was built, we learned the city leaders managed a shell game that stealthily diverted funds to baseball by defrauding some 'safe' pension accounts. The taxpayers will now have to replenish that fund. Those politicians have moved on (out) but can watch all of the home games, played in the new stadium, on local TV. They dont care if that affects ticket sales. This smells like another stinking shoe may presently be in free fall. One can only hope its landing is enough to erase the public's complacency with these crooks! BP and pro baseball are same-same.

Posted by: 26Charlie | May 18, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

A solution to your baseball problem is to make a fair ball hit out of the park a ground rule double, reestablishing the value of a hit to the difficulty of making it. This would also increase emphasis on baserunning, fielding and situational hitting and probably reduce the perceived need for steroids or other performance enhancing drugs. Also it would make sports TV "news" less a series of "dinger" videos.

Posted by: angler1 | May 18, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

BP has been watching to much of Congress in action. Notice how BP down plays the amount of oil spilling out and then overplay the amount of oil they are now collecting. Typical corporate BS. He who delivers the best BS wins the top spot in corporations.

Posted by: Maddogg | May 18, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Baseball has been played this way for God knows how long, but ooohhhhhh sure we'll just change everything because you think it's boring.

Posted by: jhnnywalkr | May 18, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

I especially like the dog wagging his tail at executives and the speedster racing away from involvement in the scene.

Posted by: maldelus | May 18, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Tom, I like your rules. The Game would definitely be more interesting, but I would add a few more, No spitting, crotch grabbing, glove adjusting, dirt kicking, finger licking, cap adjusting, sweat wiping, only one practice swing, no around the horn after an out, no Hi-Fives, No mandatory 4 pitches on an intentional walk, no Sunflower seeds, no chewing tobacco, no gum, no TV commercials,no warm-up pitches, batter must stay in box until his at bat is finished. And there are possibly more. Oh! Did I mention no spitting?

Posted by: bavery1 | May 18, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Baseball is not fun anyway, for players or spectators, once you reach sixteen and get off the sandlots. BTW, Are there any of those left, or have all the "organized" Little Leagues and such used up all the empty lots where once you wore out the grass between bases you had a fine ballfield?

Posted by: Geezer4 | May 18, 2010 7:53 AM

In most suburbs, any kids found using the baseball facilities outside of official practices and games will be run off the field by police escort (taser included) so that the softball leagues (you know the ACTUAL taxpayers) can play ball.

shame, shame, shame.

Posted by: ProfessorWrightBSU | May 18, 2010 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Hey Toles,
If you want that out of baseball... check out cricket.

Posted by: GFisher1 | May 18, 2010 8:35 AM | Report abuse

Those new rules for baseball won't work, sorry. First you have to educate televicion executives so they ask directors and camera operators to give viewers a wide shot to let them see plays as they develop. And we all know that TV suits can't be educated. QED.

George Randels
Port Townsend, WA

Posted by: gr321 | May 18, 2010 8:09 AM | Report abuse

Baseball is not fun anyway, for players or spectators, once you reach sixteen and get off the sandlots. BTW, Are there any of those left, or have all the "organized" Little Leagues and such used up all the empty lots where once you wore out the grass between bases you had a fine ballfield?

Posted by: Geezer4 | May 18, 2010 7:53 AM | Report abuse

Hans Timmer of World Bank called it best.

First he said Greece would face sovereign currency crisis in 2010 - and then Spain.

He said US would lose it's triple A status at Treasury.

I DO think he may be off on that... That's too big if so.

BUT he ALSO said- of the emerging industrial economies in the world, the top 3, China India and Venezuela ? The United States had ONE chance to compete in the new emerging energy industries - by stating a firm position at Copenhagen.

All I can gather is BP or some oil cartel influence pulled Obama aside and said - look pal, this is 1.8 billion - GOLD - standard payoff price - take it pal ?

OR ?

Really - WTF ?

I agree with Timmer

US lost it's only chance for ANY industrial progress forthcoming in Copenhagen.

To correct this ? If this spill continues ? and reminds people of the danger from use of oil ? it may correct the US failure at Copenhagen if you ask me.

Tim Miltz

Posted by: RedMercury | May 18, 2010 7:48 AM | Report abuse

You left out BP's strategy for image using the Washington Post for advertising.

I do say- just once, please tell me it's never, has a Washington Post editor chosen NOT to focus on this oil spill due to revenue from BP ads.

I do say - front page today.

Nothing - except this very article here - which was near the bottom.

Me ? I find this story critical -

So many changes to correct US failed image at Copenhagen can come from this.

100 years of oil is enough isn't it ?

Big spill down at the wind farm - as I heard one person call it.

Tim Miltz

Oh yeah, and of ALL companies who ran that PR about new emerging technologies - BP.

nice green and yellow icon.

BP is 28% of the BTC pipeline that runs through Turkey from the Caspian Sea.

Haliburton is trying to build a fatter pipeline - more than the BTC 1 million barrels a day - Turkey said no, guess where the only two access points are ?

Through Iraq then Iran

OR out through Pakistan.

We've ALL been sold out by oil cartel.

face it.

Who WAS George Bush ?

My god - the ODDS - Bush family 20 of 28 years in office ?

After Neil Bush looted US Savings and Loan for over 1 trillion ? I used to think as a teenager- wow- that Bush family will be living in Alaska.

I think I was flipping past the Gene Scott TV evangelist network - little did I know Palin was around the corner.

Wow- I guess the mercury in high fructose corn syrup really does cause neuronal damage for life kids.

Thankfully, I did see as Senator - Obama helped pass a law that said no more mercury in high fructose corn syrup starting in 2012.

2 more years I suppose.

Have you seen that louse 1960's product Sunny Delight ? high fructose corn syrup.

US EPA - Jan 27th - 2007, 4 doctors came forward and showed Heinz BBQ - had the highest mercury - but in general it was ANY product with HFCS.

What's the point of living if you don't protect your brain eh ?

more oil please. ?

big spill down at the wind farm.

If people knew how badly they were bought and sold by the oil cartel in 2000 to 2008 ? with the FACT that the TAX SUBSIDIES Bush allotted to BP ?

HA - US tax payers PAID for this rig lease from Transocean on the books at BP if you bring in the cash tax breaks from Bush to BP....

Tim Miltz

Posted by: RedMercury | May 18, 2010 7:43 AM | Report abuse

So Taxcutsin12 are you insinuating it's the governments fault... They may be culpable in measure, but this travesty lays solely on the corporations involved, BP, Halliburton and a few others, it’s their responsibility.
You see when their are certain directives, or a situation where a department is purposely being underfunded or understaffed, (although I have no evidence this happened here), as is the priority of conservative mindset; you know "STARVE THE BEAST", the result becomes government not doing it's job.
Now this is a self serving cipher and how conservatives justify "GOVERNMENT IS THE PROBLEM". But wait, don’t our conservative friends champion the free market system where there is no regulation and the good ole corporation will self regulate? There is a pattern emerging here, when conservatives want to pile on President Obama, they blame the government, when that does not serve their purpose they claim the market can do everything..... Shameless partisans all of ya...

Posted by: wise_pharaoh | May 18, 2010 7:25 AM | Report abuse

Hey Tom,
Your rules are a lot like a version of softball that we played in PE in college. One more rule that we had was that the team at bat did not have to wait for the defending team to get in position before batting. Talk about exciting!

Posted by: creek77 | May 18, 2010 7:12 AM | Report abuse

Tom, you're almost describing slow pitch softball. Hardly any strikeouts so the ball is always in play, and the ball hangs in the air waiting to be caught unless you nail it dead center. My most treasured memory was a slow pitch tournament final, our college kids against a team with a bunch of ex-Oriole minor leaguers that we won 3-0 [sic]. Fielding, fielding, fielding. (I played CF, so I got to take a lot of the outs. :-) And then a baseball season where our pitcher kept the batters off balance so they didn't kill the ball very often but he didn't beat them either, with the result the ball was always in play. Flies to catch, runners to throw out. (CF again.) Fun to play, but I don't know if it was fun to watch.


Posted by: Jim19 | May 18, 2010 1:22 AM | Report abuse

Hey Tom,
Regarding your baseball post, you should just wait until the Pittsburgh Pirates come to town. Their games often feature lots of scoring -- by the opposing team! I just tuned in tonight's Pirates game at Philadelphia, and it was tied 1-1. By the end of the inning it was 6-1 Phillies! That's the way it's going for the Pirates this year. You should persuade the Washington team to trade for some Pirate pitching!

Posted by: Legandear | May 17, 2010 8:21 PM | Report abuse

Of course the logical among us will continue to put all the blame on BP and ignore the growing evidence of the government's failure to properly administer current oil drilling regulations already on the books. Today a government witness failed to show at a Senate hearing on the oil spill, but a logical person will probably not mention this.

Posted by: taxcutsin12 | May 17, 2010 6:33 PM | Report abuse

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