The best fictional commissioner in baseball is back and he’s got another brilliant rule change idea.
As I sat in my Captain’s quarters last night, casually watching the Athletics face off against the Los Angeles Angels of Disney’s Marvel’s The Avengers’ Anaheim, I saw something I’d seen countless times before on a baseball diamond. Blockbuster free agent acquisition Anthony Rendon was at the plate for the Angels; another big-money attempt to help the franchise live up to Mike Trout’s excellence. Rendon took a hack, fouling off the pitch, and then began to walk towards the dugout. Broken bat. A minor interruption to the flow of a game in which one of the defining qualities is a distinct *lack* of flow. But, an interruption nonetheless. We watch as Rendon reaches out to take a new piece of lumber from a bat boy who should probably be practicing contactless delivery. Now at this point, Rendon’s preparation of the new bat is pretty efficient. He uses the pine tar that’s already clinging to his gloves to sticky-up the bat, hand-over-hand from barrel to handle. Altogether, no more than a few seconds before he’s back in the batter’s box. Many hitters are a little more deliberate when getting that new axe ready for battle, using tools and substances other than their hands to make sure things are just so.
But it’s not the time spent, or the interruption itself that’s the issue. It’s the absence of a true competitor’s spirit. A warrior’s heart. What man or woman in the heat of battle has ever had the time after breaking a weapon to pause and secure a new one, and then prepare it to their liking? Sailor, not one. Any fool who attempted such a trick would be dispatched almost immediately. So why do we allow the gladiators of the diamond to complete this cowardly act? I say no more.
You use the bat you brought to the plate. No matter what happens, you see it through. A ball glances foul off the end of the bat, slightly cracking that 32 ounce maple all the way down? Make it work. This might be just what you need to manufacture the bloop that precedes a blast. The bat shatters as you foul back 97 mph at the top of the zone on a 3-2 count, leaving nothing but a jagged shard in your hand? Make. It. Work. Whatever you have to do. Put bat on ball, and finish it. For your bat. For yourself. For honor.
The rule is simple: Dance with the one that brung ya.