Thursday, May 20, 2010

New Rules

One of my favorite parts of the Bill Maher HBO show “Real Time” is just before he gives his concluding monologue, when he lists the “new rules”. Such a scenario played out at the health club Tuesday morning. I had finished my morning workout at Pinnacle Health and Fitness in Fitchburg and was headed out for a day of slaving over a hot computer, when the owner of the club, Mike McMahon, greeted me.

I was wearing one of my many Brewers t-shirts, and he glanced at the logo and said “another tough night”. I shook my head in disgust and said “if they play any worse, I’m going to have to stop wearing this stuff”.

Malingering behind the front desk was Matt Hanson, the fitness director of the club, who helped me develop a program to re-hab my left leg after I had hip replacement surgery back in ’01. “Naw, they just need a new rule….games are over after the sixth inning”.

Stroke of genius!

How many times in the past couple weeks, particularly when playing at home, have the Brewers lost a game because the bullpen couldn’t finish the starter’s work? The night before, on the road, the Brew-Crew’s bullpen imploded and wasted a great start from Yovanni Gallardo, allowing the Reds a five-run rally in the 7th inning. Another game lost by the ‘pen.

Tuesday afternoon, they allowed the Reds three runs in the 9th to end up losing 5-4. Last night they were tied at 3 after six, and let the Pirates beat them 5-4. Ryan Braun’s boneheaded base-running in the 9th killed any chance for a win.

The answer to the Brewers woes is as simple as Matt’s suggestion. Call the game at the end of the sixth, and you don’t have to worry about the bullpen serving up a bunch of cupcakes to the opposing batters, or boneheaded base-running mistakes.

Some guy who was sitting nearby reading the Wall Street Journal put down the paper and said “softball rules – if you’re up by 10 runs or more in the 5th, the game’s over”. The old “mercy rule”.

Several decades ago, when I played bar-league softball every summer in two leagues up in the Fox Valley, we got “run-ruled” out of more games than I can remember.

I don’t know how many games the Brewers would have won so far this year if the game had been called in the sixth, and quite honestly, I’m afraid to look.

Sounds like a good idea, though, and I believe I’ll take it up with Mr. Magoo (a/k/a Bud Selig).

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