About The Author

Ari Shapiro

Ari Shapiro is a writer, podcaster, and publisher with over two decades of experience working for monolithic corporations before one day realizing that the value of pure human ingenuity and creative literary expression is worth far more than being a capitalist ronin prick who drives a nice BMW. He’s a dashing technologist by day and a cunning journalist by night running one of the last independent and underground media hubs featuring articles from a cadre of ruthlessly talented contributors. He also discovered J. R. R. Tolkien at ten years of age, King Crimson by twelve, and ran the city’s most popular bulletin board system at fifteen. Now mired in adulthood, he yearns to avoid mediocrity by inspiring others to use both hemispheres of the mind.
Comments (1)
  1. Ed Johnson (reply)

    March 2, 2020 at 6:58 pm

    Great podcast today with Jesse
    I am disgusted about the Astros and the sign stealing especially how it has destroyed some pitcher careers and ruined the trust of fans.
    Rings should be striped and the baseball records should reflect that the World Series result was invalidated in 2017.

    But I welcome Jesse’s comments about changing the game even though you are a traditionalist.
    I personally would make a comparison with another relatively traditionalist game that I grew up with until I came to North America and fell in love with baseball and the Jays.
    That game was cricket.
    Big cricket games last for multiple days, not just an evening.

    Cricket fan numbers were dying until the advent of the IPL (Indian Premier League) in 2008 and the focus on timed matches and increased fan entertainment)
    What the IPL did transformed fan engagement from near-dead to sprinting on amped up steroids of enjoyment.

    I would beat the baseball sign stealing by embracing highly encypted tech watches and headsets between the pitcher and catcher and possibly the coach(es).
    It would then be a matter of “how fast can the other team decrypt the tranmission AND relay to the batter before we pitch”, which would be too slow.
    Another advantage would be pitchers and catchers could still use conventional signs as decoys or as real signs on demand.

    Secondly I really like the idea of the automated strike zone. There is no reason for the umpires to give any doubt about balls/strikes, other than nostalgia and tradition.
    Hell, we can see in real time on MLB.TV the precision location of where the ball has entered the zone far more efficiently than any umpire’s eye.
    Umpires should be wired up to the automated strike zone so they can add some panache to the pitch status on strike 3 etc.

    Thirdly umpires should be wired up to clearly state in stadium what an challenges are about, and what the results are and WHY!
    We have that in NFL, CFL, Hockey and other sports.
    It is frustrating as a fan in the stadium itself to not know what is going, and for me, to have to explain this to a casual fan.

    Fourth and more radical, I would propose that a pitcher pitches a maximum of six pitches per batter but must pitch FOUR strikes.
    Yes radical, but it might shorten the game and build the excitement for fans. If a batter has faced 2 balls, then they know that the next four pitches MUST be in the strike zone. So they can wait for the the type of pitch they want.
    This may lead to more home runs or more batters on base, but this is what the younger fans and casual fans come to see.
    Admittedly this might be awful for purists, but the advantage would be that the games would be exciting from start to finish.
    I know that for some baseball purists, there is nothing better than watching Mookie Betts foul off seven in a 13 pitch at-bat battle before hitting a Grand Slam.
    The trouble that these beautiful moments do not happen often enough in each game.

    Last but not least, I think MLB should follow the NBA example to elevate players and personalities to superstar status as true ambassadors for the game fan engagement and inspirations to young people using modern social media and far more allowance for personalization.

    Mike Trout should be a global superstar, but practically outside baseball no-one knows his name. Whereas everyone globally knows about Kobe, Steph, the King James, the Greek freak etc.

    Players should be able to do more customization and build their personalities (not just on Players Weekend) like a Marcus Stroman if they so choose.

    And don’t get me wrong…. I am also a traditionalist and I was there from for all 6 hours and 13 minutes at the Rogers Centre on Canada Day in 2016.
    But times need to change with the world and the demographics of sports fans, who have lots of choices.

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