I am seriously thinking about expanding the playoffs for next season and adding a wild card play-in game. Because when you have two teams battling for the last postseason berth, that makes for drama, and drama makes for big ratings. That’s why all of TV’s top rated shows are dramas. House. Gray’s Anatomy. The other one. You know, the one with the lawyer? Or lawyers? I dunno, the wife seems to like it.
But I’m not restricting these moves to the postseason. The regular season will have more drama as well. Once a week, we’ll pick a random superstar and mail him a letter taped together from newspaper clippings that says unless he has an absolutely monster game, he’ll never see his family alive again. Think the players will assume we’re bluffing? Would you want to take that chance?
Of course, we expect the same type of threat would lose its effectiveness when used repeatedly. So we’ll have other ones up our sleeve as well. Maybe dangle a player’s first born child over a cliff in an old Buick, just inches away from teetering over the edge. Maybe we’ll set his house ablaze, with the fire department just waiting to put it out as soon as he hits for the cycle. Maybe we’ll hire ninjas. Maybe we already have. Maybe there’s one in Adrian Gonzalez’s apartment right now. Not saying there is, not saying there isn’t.
We plan to roll this program out slowly, in stages, to acclimate players to this new environment. In spring training of 2012, we’ll start by threatening players’ possessions, like their cars and award trophies. Then we’ll work up to more severe things like sending threatening notes to their parents and hacking into their email accounts. By season’s end, each player will think he’s starring in his own personal version of The Game, which is easily the best Michael Douglas movie he ever made.
However, I want reassure everyone that just because we’re going to severely alter the way baseball in played by constantly threatening all that its players hold most dear, that does not mean we have any plans to make any truly drastic adjustments like instituting wider replay. I feel this would irreparably harm one of baseball’s most treasured features, the human factor. We must leave the sport’s most basic decisions up to humans, flawed though they may be. Like, does a player want to see his children eaten by fire ants? If not, maybe he’ll throw a complete game one-hitter.