Bases empty, two outs, a 3-1 game, #8 hitter up. Nothing comes down to this.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

MLB Completely Reshuffles Rosters After Three-Day Bender Leaves Players in Unexpected Locations

TORONTO (Bottom of the Fourth) - With games scheduled to resume this evening, MLB faced a dilemma this morning upon discovering almost none of its players were in the right cities. Rather than fretting over the difficult situation, however, the league has implemented a creative solution: rosters will be reshuffled to reflect where players currently are.

MLB Spokesman Sir Edmund Hillary spoke to the media this morning. "This seems to happen every year. No-one seems quite sure why there's always a three-day break in the baseball schedule right in the middle of the season, but players inevitably end up scattered across the country, sometimes overseas."

Surprising changes to MLB rosters include Derek Jeter joining the Boston Red Sox, Ichiro Suzuki joining the Cleveland Indians after vowing to "punch himself in the face" if he ever said he was excited about going to Cleveland, and the 90 or so best players in baseball becoming the newest members of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

In addition, some new teams will have to be formed, while others will be contracted. The aforementioned Diamondbacks will be split into three squads: "The New Diamondbacks", "The Diamondbacks Strike Back", and "Return of the Diamondbacks". Las Vegas will also boast three teams after discovering dozens of MLB players passed out in its suites, and the Spanish island Ibiza will become the first MLB team to play its home games outside of North America.

The Cincinnati Reds, on the other hand, will no longer cease to exist despite being one of baseball's oldest teams. The city woke up on Thursday morning with only three members of its current team still in the city: relief pitchers Sam LeCure, Logan Ondrusek and Nick Masset were discovered at early morning service at Cincinnati Central United Church.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Washington to Make Mid-Pitch Pitching Changes to Accommodate Size of All-Star Roster

PHOENIX (Bottom of the Fourth) - The size of baseball's All-Star Roster is a constant source of derision from the media, as it annually seems as if the entirety of Major League Baseball is part of the game. But while fans and the media may get amusement out of the event's shortcomings, AL manager Ron Washington gets a bit of a headache.

Washington told reporters this morning that he's been devising an All-Star Game strategy for days, and just last night had the breakthrough that will allow him to utilize all his players. His solution: mid-pitch pitching changes.

Washington says he had the breakthrough while in his 'chalking room'. "As a player, I put chalk on my hands to get a better grip on the ball," Washington explained, "and as a manager I've kept up the habit. A little chalk now and then helps me think."

Bringing in relief pitchers to face just a single batter is a strategy often employed in regular season games to gain a marginal advantage, but Washington said this wouldn't allow him to use all the pitchers on his roster. Rather, he'll make pitching changes mid-pitch: one pitcher will go into the windup, only to be replaced by a second pitcher who will follow through and throw the pitch. Washington is not ruling out making a second mid-pitch pitching change after the pitch, inserting a third pitcher to field.

The Texas Rangers' manager says that in addition to allowing him to maximize his roster utility, the strategy has the advantage of confusing batters. They could be getting set to hit off a right-handed pitcher, only to suddenly see a lefty spinning a breaking ball in on their hands at the last moment.

Once Washington had this mental breakthrough, he says his plan for using all his hitters came naturally. Mid-pitch pinch hitters will also carry the added benefit of enabling Washington to match hitters with pitch types. Once a pitch has been identified as a slider, for example, Washington can pinch-hit with a batter who is often successful against sliders before the pitch reaches the plate.

Washington speculated to the media that in order to use all his players, he'll be making some managerial move, often more than one, during about 80% of the pitches thrown during tonight's game.

Monday, July 11, 2011

MLB Agrees to Let Players "Hang" on Sidelines at HR Derby; "Chilling" Still on the Table

PHOENIX (Bottom of the Fourth) - Amid labour strife in both the NFL and NBA, MLB has had to scramble to resolve its own dispute at the last minute. The league was surprised to receive word this morning that the players were demanding "chilling" rights for tonight's Home Run Derby, a significant increase from last year's "maxin' and relaxin'" clause.

MLB Spokesman Stuart Dawson said the demand "blindsided" the league and that the players' demands were "outrageous". However, a "power-negosh" this afternoon brought the two sides to a tentative agreement. The players assented to the somewhat less extreme "hanging" privilege when the league threatened to curtail "players' kids wearing matching uniforms" rights to "kids of cuteness quotient 5 or less".

While most players are satisfied with the arrangement, a few stalwarts are still pushing for "chilling". Alex Avila, Tigers catcher and first-time All-Star, wants to make the most of his first selection to the team, and claims he won't be able to do so without the ability to "chill".

"It's been my dream since I was four years old to chill at the Home Run Derby," Avila told reporters Monday, "and I just can't believe MLB would be so heartless as to crush players' dreams so unnecessarily."

Stuart Dawson, meanwhile, disagrees wholeheartedly with Avila. "This is by no means an unnecessary, cruel decision. If MLB allowed the players to "chill" it's just a matter of time before they'd be "loafing", and before you know it "sloth" would set in. We can't have our players setting such bad examples for the kids out there. It's simply a non-starter."