Ten Ways To Make X Better: Baseball

Ten Ways To Make X Better: Baseball Comment Count

Brian August 2nd, 2016 at 11:43 AM

Previously: hockey, soccer, basketball, football.


10. No warmup pitches for relievers.

What did you just spend 15 minutes doing in the bullpen? Why are you wasting our time like this? I have things to look at that aren't you! Ever heard of a book, buddy? Yeah, probably not.

9. Every time a pitcher throws to first he has to put on another hat.

If the hats fall off before the end of the inning that counts as one ball per hat that falls off.

8. Balks are cool.

Balk away.

7. I don't have any other ideas.

Baseball! It's good if you want to drink beer outside with something else going on vaguely in your perception. The exact structure of the game is beside the point.

6. Wait, wait, now I do.

Remember Basewars? Yeah, do that.

I prefer robots but if we can get this on the road with people I'm down. You want me out? Put me out. I do not recognize the authority of this "ball" you have tagged me with.

5. This is a bad post.

You can think that. It's okay.


Ten Ways To Make X Better: Football

Ten Ways To Make X Better: Football Comment Count

Brian July 28th, 2016 at 12:25 PM

Previously: hockey, soccer, basketball.


[Bryan Fuller]

This is about college football. The NFL list is "why are you the way you are" ten times.

10. Fumbles out of the endzone are treated like other fumbles.

Nonsense that a fumble that goes out at the one stays with the team that fumbled but one that brushes the pylon is a game-changing turnover. Way to emphasize the essentially arbitrary nature of both football and life, rule. You suck!

9. Count intentional grounding as a sack, and count sacks against pass yardage

This doesn't do anything to help on-field things but hoooooo boy do I want to throttle whoever came up with these inane statistical quirks that I shake my fist at every week during the season. If I was a defensive end and saw the QB fling the ball moments before I engulfed him and then I didn't get credit for a sack I would send a sternly-worded letter to someone. You better believe that.

8. Actually enforce illegal man downfield rules.


that's two count-em two Air Force OL seven yards downfield on a pass

It's three yards in college and one in the NFL, except it's more like infinity yards in college since refs don't bother calling it*. The lack of enforcement here has created an indefensible subset of run/pass option plays. Those are fine, as long as they stay within the rules. If OL are allowed to go downfield and cut block linebackers, which I have seen multiple times in UFR, you might as well bury defensive coordinators alive. They'll enjoy it more than defending RPOs.

*[Except once when Taylor Lewan engaged a guy on a pass block and blocked him so dang good they ended up a few yards downfield. In the aftermath the announcers admonished him for not being aware enough of where he was on the field; I swore so hard at these gentlemen that an iceberg shaped like a middle finger broke off of Greenland.]

7. College overtime starts at the 35.

The 25 is so close that even a three-and-out gives the offense a reasonably makeable field goal. Moving the start back to the 35 would make each overtime period more likely to be decisive and help prevent 6 OT marathons.

6. Adopt NFL punt coverage rules.

Spread punting and its seven gunners have made the punt return an increasingly boring exercise in watching several people surround a ball until it ceases moving.

That percentage doesn't include balls that aren't fielded at all.

The NFL prohibits all but two people from leaving until the ball is gone; adopting similar rules in CFB would restore some of the drama when man kicks ball to Jabrill Peppers-type object.

6. Adopt MGoPlayoff and never change it.

In a nutshell: 6 team playoff with home games the first two rounds and the championship at the Rose Bowl. Six teams allows all reasonable contenders in almost every year without much if any filler. Byes for the top two and home games help preserve the importance of the regular season despite the slight expansion of the field. Having things at the Rose Bowl is just obvious man. All things should be at the Rose Bowl.

5. Change the scholarship cap to an annual one.

I'm ignoring Title IX and the absurd ways it funnels money from poor to rich here, so that objection is noted.

Virtually all of the problems with oversigning and medical redshirts and not-so-voluntary transfers go away if the incentives change. With an annual cap of new scholarship players instead of an overall one, schools are incentivized to keep everyone around in case they work out. I'd set it at 25 since there would be attrition still; you could tweak it if that ended up being insufficient.

4. Allow players to sign an early, non-binding LOI.

Moving Signing Day up is a dumb idea, but it's one that gets pushed on the regular because some people think the current "offer" environment is bad for player and program. They might have a point, but allowing people to sign mostly-binding LOIs before hiring and firing gets done just increases the chances that bad fits get locked in.

Instead, create a system where recruits can sign an early LOI. Parameters:

  • The team must offer a scholarship on Signing Day.
  • Team and recruit can have unlimited contact; other teams can have none.
  • Recruit cannot take officials to other campuses; gets second to team he signs with.
  • Recruit can withdraw NBLOI at any time until Signing Day.

A NBLOI offers more certainty for both player and program without the deleterious effects of locking players in early.

3. Add an FCS exhibition before the season. Other FCS games don't count.

Doesn't count against redshirts. Doesn't require players who are actually going to see the field to play. Adds another chunk of revenue with which schools can play more meaningful nonconference games. Prevents that week where everyone in the SEC plays Chattanooga at the same time.

2. Kickoffs that go through the uprights are worth a point.

Yeah buddy. Put some bite in those personal fouls after touchdowns.

1. Multiball allows you to score as many touchdowns as you need.

In the last two minutes you can snap as many balls as you please as long as they're all snapped at the same time. You get the outcome of the worst ball, but if you score with both you get two touchdowns.


Ten Ways To Make X Better: Soccer

Ten Ways To Make X Better: Soccer Comment Count

Brian May 31st, 2016 at 12:56 PM

An irregular series in which I fix all of a sport's problems. Previously: hockey.


[Paul Sherman]

10. Use goal line technology. The imposition on the flow of the game is minimal and there is no reason to not have it. Whether or not a goal is scored is kind of a big deal in a sport that sees 3 or 4 a game.

9. Offsides is reviewable on goals. Again, this disrupts the 90-minute-flow that soccer and only soccer has. But since the game is getting broken up anyway—at least slightly—a quick peek at whether an offsides was or was not accurate is worth it as long as they adopt the NFL's hard limit on time available to make a decision. If it's not obvious in 30 seconds the call is close enough.

8. Stop the clock when people are injured. Ideally soccer would dump the whole stoppage time concept and have a clock that actually reflects what time it is. Every other sport manages this. In lieu of a total overhaul which is not coming, soccer games should borrow a concept from college soccer and allow the ref to cease the inexorable march of time with an X symbol over his head.

The X is deployed when the game is stopped because a player is down. Right now the perception amongst players is that falling over when nursing a late lead helps you win, so it happens all the time. Erase that perception and second half time-wasting gets 50% more tolerable.

7. Yellow cards for being Pepe. In the Champions League Final, Real Madrid defender Pepe twice rolled around like he'd been shot after light taps to his face. These should be cardable events. I will also accept a firing squad.

6. Dump Financial Fair Play and replace it with… I don't know. FFP, if you don't know, is an attempt to prevent a rich owner buying a Chelsea or Manchester City and making them very good by spending a lot of money. Because teams are allowed to spend what they make it tends to set the current power structure in concrete, Leicester notwithstanding. Also it does not work for the same reasons that NCAA amateurism rules, and prohibition more generally, don't work. There is always someone smart enough to cheese the rules. Like… yep, Leicester.*

I have no idea what to do with it in its place. Ideally the euro soccer structure would change so that a Leicester City event was more of a one-in-ten-year event instead of one in a hundred, but I struggle to come up with something that would work. Even Germany—which has the most even revenue distribution and rules against club ownership by individuals—has seen Bayern win four straight titles and 12 since 1998.

The predictability of euro soccer is the main reason I can't be bothered to care about any of it. I have the choice of picking the Yankees or the Lions, and no thanks to either. But without radically reshaping it into a socialist American-style thing*, which isn't happening, there appears to be no solution other than buying a little defensive midfielder from Ligue 2.

*[The cheesing Leicester managed was not enough to get them anywhere near the giants in the EPL and should not color anyone's perceptions of the magnitude of their accomplishment. The fact that there's a Guardian expose on the fact that Man Who Owns Soccer Team Spends Money On It that includes the phrase "Leicester City’s dash to an unlikely Premier League title is billed as football’s most romantic story in a generation but" is so very NCAA and demonstrates why FFP is destined to fail.]

**[The irony here is vast, yes.]

5. Allow refs some discretion on PKs. Right now a lot of fouls in the box don't get called because the punishment for them is outlandishly severe. Also some harmless situations get punished in an outlandishly severe way. If a ref spots a foul in the box that doesn't disrupt an imminent scoring chance he should be allowed to call for a free kick at the spot.

4. Free kicks resulting from fouls that draw yellow cards should be more dangerous. Defenders should not be allowed to line up in the penalty box on the resulting free kick unless they are level with or behind the ball*. That's not as severe as a penalty kick, but it's a lot more severe than it currently is and would adequately punish teams that specialize in those canny fouls just outside of PK territory.

*[IE, they can still defend the opposition on FKs that are more or less corners.] 

3. No shootouts in finals. I don't care what you have to do to prevent them. Anything vaguely resembling the actual sport that's going on is far superior to the current system, in which all of a sudden a darts competition breaks out after 120 minutes. The only person who likes that is Steve Lorenz. I grudgingly accept that maybe you have to have shootouts for early stages in competitions because winning the equivalent of a triple OT hockey game is going to destroy your fitness for the next game. Finals should end with someone scoring a goal.

There are various ways to approach the problem but I think the simplest and best is to remove the goalies after 30 minutes of extra time and play sudden death. Is that 100% soccer? No. But it's at least 50% instead of 0%.

2. All throw ins must have a totally rad flip before them. I mean.

This one is obvious.

1. Teams have the option of putting a guy on field with skates. Offsides does not apply to him. Goals he scores count double. It works for any sport!