Bad Ideas Newsbeat
Monday, February 06, 2017
The [Pendleton] East Oregonian, February 6, 1917:
[Braves owner] Percy Haughton started it when he declared the offensive side of baseball needed some changes, and then outlined a few. Now they’re all doing it.
One of the most recent suggestions along these lines is that a pitcher not be allowed to pitch his first two balls to the batter in the curve fashion. Each of the first two heaves should be straight and above board, it is contended.
Every time I think I’ve seen the dumbest possible rule change to goose offense, I see something dumber. I’m with [former Red Sox manager] Bill Carrigan, quoted in the Ottumwa Courier:
You don’t hear many managers or umpires recommending that this or that rule be changed, do you?...Fans like the game as it is today. When they start complaining it will be time to consider what changes should be made.
At least somebody was being sensible.
Monday, January 30, 2017
Norwich Bulletin, January 30, 1917:
Rule alterations [to help batters] might have the desired effect, yet the best plan ever offered for the bettering end of baseball, as the writer views it, was proposed 10 years ago, by Billy Fox, then second baseman for the Lincoln baseball club…
The Fox foul line, starting from the home plate, would pass first base a foot outside the sack. On a field in which the outfield fence is 360 feet distant from the plate, the Fox foul line would be four feet outside the old standard.
Billy Fox argued that in almost every ball game the batters hit line drives and sharp grounders or lay down bunts which go foul only by inches; he maintained that as much batting skill is required to hit one of these drives which goes foul by a slender margin as in lining the leather onto safe territory within the present lines.
What a terrible idea. If you move the foul lines, you’ll still have batted balls that just barely land in foul territory. It’s just that they’ll be different batted balls. That’s not a bug, that’s a feature. If you don’t want foul balls, play cricket.
Friday, January 06, 2017
Bridgeport Farmer, January 6, 1917:
While there is little, if any, possibility of a readjustment of the professional baseball diamond as recently suggested by President Percy D. Haughton, of the Boston National league club, the proposed changes…offer a wide field for speculation as to what would be the result if such alterations were made.
Haughton suggests that in order to equalize the offensive and defensive strength of the pitcher and batter it might be found advisable, upon investigation, to move first and third bases five feet nearer the home plate and decrease the width of the plate.
If this were done it would change the entire aspect of the baseball diamond which would become, roughly, kite-shaped.
That is the worst idea I’ve ever heard in my life, Tom.
Monday, December 19, 2016
New York World, December 19, 1916:
Not only is there a chance of [the Schedule Committee] shortening the playing season to 140 games, but it is within their power—such authority having been given to them—to arrange an interleague series of games beginning the latter part of August.
The plan contemplates having all eight clubs in the National League play all eight clubs in the American League three or more games. The winner, under one of the arrangements, is to be considered the champion of the world.
Another variation is for the pennant to be decided in each league, and then have a world’s series after the interleague games are finished. Still another suggestion is for the winner of the interleague games to be entered in a world’s series which will be three cornered.
“That’s the worst idea I’ve ever heard in my life, Tom.”
Thursday, November 17, 2016
Tacoma Times, November 17, 1916:
There was great interest among baseball men today in the action of the minor league board in adopting a resolution which would abolish the drafting rule. The resolution would stop drafting from the American Association, International league, and the Pacific Coast league.
Should the move be adopted by the majors, the three minors in question would be elevated to the rank of major leagues.
I know I’m looking at this from the perspective of a hundred years later, but that seems like it would have been a terrible idea. Having five major leagues sounds crazy and unworkable.
Tuesday, November 15, 2016
Pittsburgh Press, November 15, 1916:
From a trustworthy source was learned one of the reasons why Organized Baseball is trying to form a third major league comprising Buffalo, Newark, Toronto, Baltimore, Indianapolis, Louisville, Milwaukee, and Toledo.
It appears that several backers of the defunct Federal league who have not yet received a dollar from Organized Baseball as part of the peace settlement arranged last winter, are threatening to make more trouble.
Organized Baseball was refusing to pay the settlement while the Baltimore Feds’ lawsuit was still active, and the former Federal League owners were threatening to start a new outlaw league. The idea behind this proposed third major league was to take away eight potential markets from the angry ex-Feds.
I guess that makes some sense as a strategy, though I’d have been inclined to invite the Feds to lose even more millions of dollars trying to pass off inferior players in inferior markets as “major league”.
Wednesday, October 05, 2016
Philadelphia Evening Public Ledger, October 5, 1916:
If the baseball magnates, and the National Commission in particular, want to help baseball and restore the confidence of the fans, let them abolish the world’s series.
The mad desire of magnates to have pennant-winning teams in order to get a slice of the world’s series melon does a lot of good for a few teams and satisfies the fans of a few cities, but the fans and players of the teams in seven cities in each league are bitterly disappointed year after year.
This is an excellent idea. Also, let’s stop keeping score.
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