To wash away the taste of Monday’s disappointing home opener, I wanted to do something fun today based on a conversation I had over Twitter with Stephanie. She was joking about being the only person in the world who loves Tropicana Field because of its crazy catwalk rules, which I couldn’t explain if my life depended on it but it basically amount to the old, if it hits the gutter it’s a double, the tree is a triple and if it gets into the road it’s a home run. I then said Trevor Bauer could have used the rule we played with in my backyard: no walks.
Seriously though, I think this would be a great promotion for some minor league team (I’m looking at you Lake County Captains). Put on a three inning exhibition before or after the real game playing with backyard rules. Maybe five or six guys per side, ghost runners, all-time pitcher, no walks, four strikes to make an out, using an old the wooden board with the strike zone painted on it instead of umpires, heck you could play it with a tennis ball and plastic bats and I would be on board with that. You could make a list and let the fans vote for the rules they most want to see, I think it would be a ton of fun.
That also got me thinking, what backyard rules would benefit this particular Indians team the most? Would a no walks rule help a team that’s already drawn 27 walks (which is fifth best in baseball) but has given up a league leading 32 (obviously Bauer’s outing really skews those numbers this early)? They’d certainly be hurt by the no outfielder rule – where a ball in play is an out, hit, double or triple based on where it lands on the field – because the outfield has been as good as advertised (the outfield defense has an MLB leading 4.2 UZR to start the season according to Fangraphs ratings).
I think however, given the beating our guys have taken early on and how little the Indians have actually tried to steal so far, I’m going to vote for the no catcher/no stealing rule. Poor Lou Marson and Carlos Santana have not had an easy go of it this week. Thank goodness early reports are the X-rays came back negative on Santana (I’m almost afraid to type that sentence for fear of the dreaded jinx).
I’d be curious to see what fun backyard rules other people used to play with, and if there’s one or two you’d enjoy seeing this Indians team get a chance to play with. Let me know in the comments, or feel free to Tweet me, @mhutton722.