How to Improve Baseball

Yes, this is going to be one of those meditations that attempts to find things wrong with Jesus’s favorite sport. If I were a newspaper columnist out of ideas and averse to reason, I’d call for a salary cap. If I were on a message board and had a poor grasp of tenability, I’d call for soccer-style relegation of the Pirates. I, however, am neither. So I propose this:

No, I’m not calling for more Chad Paronto (although that would be fine). Rather, I’m calling for the use of championship belts in MLB. On this point, I am as unyielding as a large, resolute, unyielding thing. You see, despite my occasional use of hifalutin prose and my New Yorker subscription, I am at heart something of a rube. And this rube — as a native of the fair state of Mississippi — was raised on professional wrestling.

I still count Ric Flair among my sports heroes. As a child, I had recurring nightmares centered around the dark ways of Joe Le Duc. I wept when the Freebirds blinded Junkyard Dog, and I believed the Iron Sheik was deeply hostile to the values of the Republic (whatever those were at the time).

An outgrowth of all of this is a deep and abiding passion for championship belts. How deep and abiding is this passion? I made a non-ironic purchase of a championship belt as recently as 2009. I am about to turn 39 years of age.

As such, I want baseball to adopt this most blessed thing and do away with the lamewad trophy for good and all. When it comes to baseball, I long to use the phrase “the belt and the title” in the most literal of senses. Mr. Paronto, who is obviously a gentleman of discriminating tastes, has the right idea.

I mandate, in my Judge Ito fashion, that the following changes be made immediately … Each member of the World Series-winning team will be presented with a championship belt. The players must wear their belts during all games and official appearances until some other team wins — wait for it — the belt and the title. At which point, those players on that team will rip the belts from the clutches of the fallen champions and wear them until the same happens to them. Some may argue that wearing a giant golden belt might restrict movement at the plate, in the field and — most especially — on the mound. I don’t care. Such are the burdens of a champion. Also, the manager and GM must wear them, too.

I defy anyone to find something wrong with this idea.

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Handsome Dayn Perry can be found making love to the reader at's Eye on Baseball. He is available for all your Twitter needs.

20 Responses to “How to Improve Baseball”

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  1. Chris says:

    Well, who really wrestles with the belt on? Don’t they all take it off before the match and conveniently get laid out next to them, so that when their foe who has just bested them in the match takes their belt(s) they can suddenly regain consciousness enough to weakly reach out to try to take it back before collapsing again?

    Oh professional wrestling, you are the soap opera for men.

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  2. Dayn Perry says:

    You make a fair point, Chris. However, wrestlers don’t wear the belt in the ring for the sake of the narrative, as you observed. It is my belief that ballplayers should wear the belts at all times so as to remind the opposition of their failures and their ambitions. Without the belt, there is no title.

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  3. Chris says:

    Ok, ok, but only if the Champion’s base runners can go all Albert Belle on second basemen try to tag them out by removing the belt and taking it to said second baseman’s face to avoid the out.

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  4. Dayn Perry says:

    I see no reason why that shouldn’t be part of the game’s tapestry going forward. Kudos, sir.

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  5. Chris says:

    Oh! and you can send out bat boys to distract opposing batters coming to the plate long enough to steal a folding chair from the dugout and nail the would be batter in the back of the head with it! If he doesn’t get up, it’s an out.

    Sorry, I used to love wrestling back when I was a kid.

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  6. Rex Manning Day says:

    The only vaguely problematic aspect of this suggestion is that most baseball diamonds lack ropes on which players can climb, hoisting their belts with one hand above their heads to the crowd. Standing on the dugout will get the job done, I suppose, but it’s not the same.

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  7. Leo Martin says:

    I love this as a parity mechanism — forcing the best team in baseball to wear cumbersome metal accessories. It’s a little like the version of checkers in Graham Greene’s Our Man in Havana where they use minibar whisky bottles as game pieces, and whenever they capture a piece they have to drink it.

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  8. Stephen says:

    What happens if a player gets traded or retires? Does he get to keep the belt? Or are there 25 player belts that stay with the organization and as the championship team, those on the 25-man must wear them?

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    • Reader Stephen, asking the tough questions.

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    • Chris says:

      He keeps it, because the guy coming in didn’t earn it, yet. However, they can enter a title match during the All-Star game festivities (if before the deadline, immediately following game 162 if after) to determine who most deserves the belt. This match up will be a TLC Hell in a Cell match!

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  9. Dayn Perry says:

    If you retire, you give up your belt. If you’re traded you give up the belt, but you receive a championship pageant sash for your past efforts. Them’s the breaks.

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  10. Scott Hall says:

    So what happens when team decides to go “all N.W.O.” and create their own belts as an act of defiance towards the system?

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  11. Krog says:

    Ken Arneson of Catfish Stew used to do something similar. He chose one team (the world champions or whatever) as the heavyweight champion and whoever beat the team was the new champ.

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  12. bcp33bosox says:

    Lol, this post cracked me up…As I read, I was waiting for an admission of the post being tongue-in-cheek, but nope…the author “doesn’t care” of the restricted movement…Lol. The Four Horseman and the NWA can never die!Great post that certainly gave me a laugh on this cold winter eve as I patiently await Truck Day.

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  13. Mike Eller says:

    This might be one of the best articles ever Dayn. I agree with all of this and agree about the excellence of wrestling.

    Still have nightmares about Shawn Michaels losing to the Undertaker at WM 26. Haven’t cried that hard in a while.

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  14. Evan says:

    I can never deny there was a time in my life when I thought Hulk Hogan was the biggest, strongest, most athletic man in the universe. More accurately, the ‘Real American’ was the model of what a man should be.

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  15. Brian says:

    What happens if a guy retires in the offseason after winning the Belt? Does that one get retired with him? Or if he gets traded? Does the guy he’s traded for get the belt? He didn’t earn it.

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  16. Vaga says:

    Hall of Famer’s will have:

    “The best there was, the best there is, and the best there ever will be.”

    Etched upon their plaque.

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  17. Katie Vick says:

    How cool would it have been in 2003 while Aaron Boone was rounding the bases after his dramatic HR in Game 7 of the ALCS if Tim Wakefield violently ripped off his Red Sox jersey and revealed an ALCS Champion Yankee T-shirt underneath and then proceeded to join the victory celebration of the Yankees at the plate? This would have been the ultimate heel turn. Then he could talk to a flabbergasted Gene Okerlund and cut a BartScott-like 4-minute promo about how the fans at Fenway never fully respected and often openly mocked him because he was just a so-called junk-throwing knuckleballer. But now he got his revenge against those brainless drunken out-of-work zombie fans and he’s the one who will be laughing the loudest while cashing in his millions of dollars. And if Tim’s promo skills aren’t that great they could just have his new manager (Joe Torre) as his mouthpiece to explain how much he despises the Boston fans. Like most 80’s managers, Joe Torre can handle the mic extremely well.

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