The Daily Dose/May 20, 2017

HERE WE GO AGAIN: Major League Baseball (MLB) executives are talking about farting around the game’s rules again, changes designed to make games go quicker.

As they should. The average MLB game now takes three hours and five minutes to complete, a tedious amount of time to spend watching anything – sporting event, your cute neighbor sunniny sporting event, be it in person or on TV.

Their catch phrase is ‘pace of play” and baseball executives toss it around as if it means something. Don’t kid yourself, it doesn’t. They talk pitch clocks and limiting the number of times a catcher can visit a pitcher and adding a few millimeters to the strike zone but the only way to alter the game on the field to significantly reduce game lengths is to start everyone off with a 3-2 count.

Dry, Technical Matter: This season MLB took the bold step of making intentional walks automatic instead of making pitchers throw four wide ones. With intentional walks running rampant, an average of one every other game, baseball has slashed almost a half-second of their average game times.

It was silly, too, because every now and then you see a team screw an intentional walk up because the pitcher throws the ball to the backstop or close enough to the strike zone for the batter to swing at it.

Let’s Cut To The Chase: The real problem, the elephant in the room no one wants to talk about, is the two-and-a-half minutes between half innings. If MLB executives really want to cut game times to below 12 percent of a day, they must start here.

It’s easy, too, merely cutting  the time between innings from 150 seconds to 90 seconds would cut almost 20 minutes from game times. And i don’t want to hear any whining about lost revenue, either. One, when you make something scarcer, like TV commercial inventory, it becomes more valuable. Two, ads can be added on-screen, during the game. Heck, they might already be for all we know, because we haven’t seen a baseball game on TV in years.

Fly In The Ointment: But good luck getting this to happen. Baseball has never been accused of too much foresight. Recall novel ideas like the designated hitter and interleague play were first introduced in the Dark Ages before 1940. MLB executives will say this and they will say that, but nothing of substance will get done.

GO IN PEACE, SERVE THE LORD: The first ecumenical council of the Christian church opens on this date 325 AD in Nicaea, which is now known as Iznik, Turkey.

Known by History as the First Council of Nicaea, it clarified the divine nature of God the Son, took the reckoning of Easter away from the Jewish calendar and issued the first part of the Nicene Creed, still used in Christian churches around the world.

WHY DIDN’T THEY JUST USE GPS?: The world’s first modern atlas, the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, (Theater of the World) is published on this date in 1570 in Antwerp, Belgium by Abraham Ortelius.

Though himself a noted cartographer, Ortelius included none of his own maps, preferring to use the maps of other acknowledged masters. Considering the era, the maps are more accurate than you might think. South America and China are not completely accurate, but the rest of the world looks much like it does today.

No, This Shouldn’t Cause Any Confusion At All: President Abraham Lincoln signs the Homestead Act on this date in 1862. The act gave away federal land to any US citizen – there were exceptions to this – who was willing to live, farm and make improvements on the land for five years.

Dry, Technical Matter: All told, the government gave away over 270 million acres of land to 1.6 million homesteaders. The program was ended in 1976, except in Alaska, where it was allowed to continue until 1986 since nobody really wanted to homestead anything there, anyway. 

Great Moments In Thermonuclear War: The first airborne test of the hydrogen bomb is conducted by the United States on this date in 1956, when a hydrogen bomb is dropped over Bikini Atoll in the Pacific Ocean. It was the second hydrogen bomb test and a total of 23 tests would be conducted.

Thought For The Day: She’d often observed that people generally lived up to whatever expectations they had of themselves. – Emily Brightwell, The Inspector and Mrs. Jeffries

Answer To The Last Trivia Question: The Kentucky Derby became a mile-and-a-quarter race in 1896.

Today’s Stumper: When was the last deed under the Homestead Act issued? – Answer next time!

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