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Shirts and Skins

Fools and Rules

By Eddie Matz | Posted 4/23/2003

Last Tuesday night at Chicago's U.S. Cellular Field (Comiskey Park to you and me), a beer-goggled blockhead jumped the fence during the 8th inning of a White Sox/Royals game and attacked first base umpire Laz Diaz. Although Diaz was OK, it's clear that baseball is not: This ludicrous spectacle comes on the heels of another similar incident last September.

How do we stop the madness? Rules.

Starting with, but not limited to, the issue of frenzied fans rushing the field, Shirts & Skins hereby proposes the following rule changes--all guaranteed to cure the various ills of the national pastime or, at the very least, make it way more fun.

1) At any time during the course of a game, a fan may rush the field at his or her own risk: Any fan who crosses either foul line before being touched is awarded two free tickets to a future game. If, however, the fan is touched before crossing the foul line, he or she automatically receives a minimum of six months jail time, unless the incident occurs at a Detroit Tigers game, in which case the fan is forced to attend every home game for the remainder of the season.

2) If a batter attempts to bunt for a hit but fails to make contact, he must retract the bat at least .00003 seconds before the ball crosses the plate in order for the pitch to be called a ball. This replaces the current rule, which only requires .00002 seconds.

3) If there's a runner on third base and a hitter takes a mighty swing, corkscrewing himself into the ground, and in the process he just so happens to fly out and drive in a run, the word "sacrifice" does not apply.

4) When a batter is hit with a pitch, he has five seconds to either take first base or throw the ball back at the pitcher as hard as he can. If the ball strikes the pitcher's body, the batter automatically gets second base, too. However, if the pitcher catches the ball in the air, the batter is automatically out. Just like in Greek dodge.

5) If a pop fly is caught within three feet of the pitcher's mound by any player other than the pitcher, it's a do-over.

6) If SpongeBob SquarePants could successfully close the game, then it's not a save situation. (SpongeBob has a 0.00 ERA when entering games with the bases empty after the eighth inning.)

7) Any player entering the field during a bench-clearing brawl is required to throw a minimum of three punches.

8) If a batted ball hits any outfield wall other than the Green Monster, and the batter gets no farther than first base, the remainder of his contract is automatically voided.

9) If a fan catches a foul ball while a fielder is reaching into the stands, any and all defensive players may hop the fence and pile onto the fan in an effort to seize the ball. The scrum continues until one full turn of the wave is completed. If the fan retains the ball, it's a strike. If the fielder recaptures the ball, it's an out. No punching is allowed, unless of course the fielder plays for the home team.

10) At the end of the year, the team with the fewest home runs in each division will be contracted. The remaining 24 teams will be realigned into two divisions based on drug usage. Teams who primarily use steroids will become part of the Dirty Dozen. Teams who primarily use marijuana will become part of the Baker's Dozen.

11) All pitchers will be issued a white, pocket-sized card that reads Uncle! In the interest of time, any pitcher wishing to intentionally walk Barry Bonds needs only flash the card. Pitchers may use the card no more than four times per game.

12) Any time a left-handed batter comes to the plate, and the opposing manager elects to remove his right-handed pitcher in favor of a left-hander, that manager is required to address the entire crowd over the PA system. In 100 words or less, he must clearly, concisely, and convincingly explain the reasons why a major league pitcher, earning six, seven, or sometimes eight figures, is not capable of retiring a batter of the opposite hand. The speech must also present a brief historical analysis of when exactly in baseball history this micromanaging phenomenon came into existence.

13) If an outfielder scales the wall on a home run ball that clears the fence by more than 30 feet, he receives an automatic ejection. And a free eye exam.

14) The balk rule shall be abolished. Instead, every time a pitcher throws to first base (or any other base) for an attempted pick-off--no matter what--it counts as an automatic ball.

15) If a team trails by more than 10 runs after the fifth inning, the game is automatically called. If the Devil Rays trail by more than three runs after any inning, the game is automatically called.

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