A long-delayed tooth-capping procedure gone horribly, horribly wrong or the sinister doings of a ruthless chief of staff?
It’s yet to be determined, but the man you think is Rob Manfred is not Rob Manfred. He’s a dead-ringer look-alike for baseball’s commissioner-elect, rushed into the breach for the good of the country. And you are reading his words this very moment.
While I am known formally as Major Rudolf Rassendyll, you may call me Dave. I have not asked for the assignment before me, but I shall go forth to do what is right and just for the game of baseball which I so dearly love. Since I am married, I will not sleep with the first lady, Sigourney (well, perhaps some one-time-only heavy petting), but I will heed her advice, no doubt surprising her with a previously-unseen wisdom in the process.
Therefore, as we slog through the dog days of August, I hereby “fix” major league baseball, with a new day dawning on the land, while allowing for a fair amount of lead-time before the World Series. I’m nothing if not accommodating to the Fox Network, don’t chu know. And it’s the least I can do given that I’m about to slash broadcast, cable and satellite profits to only a Godly sum, as opposed to an un-Godly one.
Employing both the best interests of baseball authority available to all commissioners of baseball and the presidential executive order provision of the Constitution, I am assuming all power to do whatever I damn well please as of right bleeping now. Owners, you have created a monster, and you can eat my shorts. Specialty toppings extra.
My new rules are as follows:
1. Interleague play? Done, finito, kaput! One American League team is to meet one National League team, in a best-of-seven contest, known historically and poetically as the World Series. The remainder of the 2014 season will continue as scheduled, and that’s it. The Dodgers versus Angels, Yanks and Mets, Giants vs. A’s, and the ever-glorious Padres-Mariners series will be considered if held at a proper time, such as late-March, or never.
2. Immediately following their elimination from 2014 play, or the final out of the World Series, whichever comes first, it’s back to the AL for you, Milwaukee Brewers! All moving expenses paid, of course, but with an even number of teams in both leagues no longer required thanks to my first edict, the Senior Circuit washes its hands of Bud Selig’s old club, forever and always. You may keep your ridiculous home run slide celebration, sausage races and Ryan Braun.
3. State-of-the-art NL and AL offices are to open by Christmas Day, with locations to be determined by their respective presidents. Women and minorities and women who are also minorities are strongly encouraged to apply; current and former big league executives are not. Part-time telecommuting optional.
4. With his World Series jewelry and newly-unveiled Hall of Fame plaque adequately celebrated, Joe Torre is to be thanked for his contributions to the game and relieved of his duties as punishment czar and keeper of the illogical. An executive search will be conducted immediately. Extensive knowledge of baseball, 20/20 vision and an ability to operate DVR equipment mandatory. An appreciation for BABIP and a post-graduate degree preferred, but not required.
5. Arizona Diamondbacks-like retaliation at perceived slights of manliness are out. Bubble machines are in. Kirk Gibson, Tony La Russa and KevinTowers are out too. All reasonable proposals for franchise relocation and new ownership will be considered.
6. The Oakland A’s may move to San Jose. Or they may stay in Oakland, but they decide. The San Francisco Giants are removed from the equation. They are advised to be grateful for not being removed entirely.
7. Home field advantage in the World Series being determined by the winner of the All-Star Game? Whose brilliant idea was that? Never mind, it’s time to move forward, and suggestions are welcome. Items which have crossed my desk so far include awarding Series home field to the league which wins the Home Run Derby (I’ve nixed that one already), the old every-other-year framework, or based upon best record, along with a thoughtful set of tiebreakers. Since I hear such good things about the fine, young, upstanding group of writer-citizens, we’ll have the IBWAA decide.
8. Keeping peace in the family, the designated hitter rule shall remain in force, in the AL only.
9. The monstrosity known as the Major League Baseball Replay Review Regulations document is to be rewritten, stat. In time for the 2014 postseason. Interested writers should apply to me directly. Knowledge of AP style, an understanding of the apostrophe and a high school diploma required. No exceptions. Payment is $3 per word.
10. Current crew of replay review “specialists,” if you can call them that, get pink slips and a generous severance package. Recruitment process begins this afternoon, with experienced West Coast applicants receiving priority, because, well, we can’t have games decided by an intern in Manhattan who’s been struggling to keep (s)his eyes open during a Josh Beckett-pitched game until 2:00 a.m. local time, which is above and beyond the call.
11. Sandy Koufax gets his statue at Dodger Stadium.
12. Dodgers television blackout is lifted. Today, in time for a Clayton Kershaw start, which is fitting since Southern California has been deprived of his 2014 history making to this point. Either the club will renegotiate a lower fee for service or Time Warner Cable will take a monumental loss as punishment for its obnoxiousness. Or both; I haven’t decided yet.
Every TWC executive who played even a small role in the fiasco (look out, SportsNetLA Twitter person and public relations types!) shall pledge $1 million to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, do the deed with a smile by noon tomorrow, while repeating the following until they are Dodger Blue in the face and/or I until I say “for the love of God, stop”:
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, Kershaw is a god, Yasiel Puig is great, I love Dee Gordon, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, grilled Dodgers Dogs only, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I love L.A., I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.”
13. Olivia Wilde.
14. All arbitrary MLB.tv and MLB Extra Innings blackout restrictions are permanently lifted. Baseball fans can watch whoever they want, wherever they want, whenever they want, as much as they want. This isn’t rocket science we’re talking about here. We rake in enough dough. It’s our job to make the customer happy. Period, end of discussion.
15. Dodgers are appointed new relievers, one right-handed and one left-handed. I’m objective and fair, but only to a point.
And remember, glove conquers all.