Retrofitting Baseball to the Winter Olympics: A Brief Proposal

Now that the Winter Olympics are behind us, and with them those boreal Danish cyborgs, those European blurs, those airborne American ice-o-nauts, those pawns of the alpine graviton, we can steer our Olympian spirit back to that lonely orphan of the Quadrennial Games, baseball. We the people, endowed with the Visa-commercial belief that we can achieve our dreams as long as we set our minds to it and also have parents who will drive us to the rink each morning at 4, can now seek ways to restore the American Pastime to this international event, the Pastime having been abruptly voted out some years ago when a bunch of Commie Pinkos got together with a bunch of wine-sipping art lovers to deny Americans their Gawd-given right to Americanize the rest of the world, and also to dominate it.

Granted, baseball got booted from the Summer Games, not the Winter, but since the Games of Ice ’N Snow are still fresh on our minds, and also since the Summer Games jilted Doubleday’s baby like a lottery winner divorces his wife, let’s work to return our game to Olympia’s embrace by making baseball part of the frozen fortnight, shall we? That’s right, fellow ’Murcans: Let’s make it a winter event!

The question is: How do we retrofit baseball to the Winter Olympics?

As the self-styled leader of this important movement – seriously, I combed my own hair just this morning – I humbly submit several magnificent ideas.

1) To simulate the intoxicating appeal of curling, a pitcher will crouch in a Yoga-like posture before rolling the ball at 1 mph toward the plate while a pair of janitors hold onto their pensions by furiously sweeping the ground in front of the ball. Using the Canadian language, the pitcher will scream things at those janitors while a full 98 percent of spectators turn to each other and say, “Good grief, I could do this.”

2) To simulate the elegance of figure skating, any batter who hits a home run will perform a short program as he rounds first base and then a long program, featuring free-skating elements such as the triple lutz in addition to compulsory elements such as making people wonder if he has a life outside the sport, as he rounds third.

3) To simulate the rad derring-do of the half-pipe, a runner who goes from first to third on a single to right field will perform several aerial maneuvers in absurdly baggy pants. If he reaches third successfully, he will stick out his tongue at the camera while hoping that someone asks him what he listens to on his iPod.

4) To simulate the technical precision of the giant slalom, a runner attempting a stolen base will veer through series of gates, which Americans will call “poles,” while remaining anonymous to anyone except his parents, his wife and those two announcers. You know the ones: Whatzit and Whozit, with the jackets and knit caps.

5) To simulate the challenge of mogul skiing, an outfielder in pursuit of a deep fly ball will sprint through a series of obstacles including but not limited to: Rupert Murdoch; Sumner Redstone; Kirk Kerkorian; Mark Cuban; Ted Turner; and Oprah.

6) To simulate the balls-out nature of the downhill, a runner attempting to score by tagging up at third will run as fast as he possibly can, sometimes with arms flailing wildly, while people he can’t hear continue to shout encouragement in German.

7) To simulate the excitement of short-track speed skating, pinch-run situations in the ninth inning will feature six sprinters, each small but aggressive, in a death race around the bases. If anyone crashes before the leader touches the plate, the run doesn’t count. Even if the run counts, everyone will forget about it by next week.

8) To simulate the speed and danger of the bobsled, skeleton and luge, players will return to the athletes village in a tricked-out shuttle driven by Yasiel Puig.

OK, Esteemed Commentariat, feel free to submit your own Olympic ideas below.

All I ask is that you refrain from biathlon-y ideas that require a runner to finish the entire six pack before shooting at the scoreboard. That’s more of a summer thing.




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John, who has also written under the pseudonym "Azure Texan," writes for both The Hardball Times and NotGraphs.


6 Responses to “Retrofitting Baseball to the Winter Olympics: A Brief Proposal”

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  1. Wally says:

    How ’bout a compromise on the biathlon:

    Have Masahiro Tanaka run a few laps around the warning track before whipping forkballs at the moving mascots of other teams?

    Also, all cowbells of Rays fans can be confiscated and rung to simulate the bell ringing in a downhill skiing event, then subsequently and swiftly destroyed.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • John Paschal says:

      Now that’s brilliance, Nordic-style!

      And by the way, the swift destruction of cowbells is an idea we can all get behind, no matter the season.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  2. Tim says:

    Whatzit and Whozit may know the names of the competitors, but they will be required to mispronounce them.

    Fortunately MLB will not have to recruit Olympic announcers, since they already employ Bert Blyleven.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  3. Jenstrom says:

    How about making the basepath from third to home solid ice, so that not only is sliding encouraged, it is pretty much the only option?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  4. Michael says:

    To simulate the violent passion of hockey, the players will all be Canadian.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  5. Chris K says:

    You know the owners will just cut out the janitors at the next meeting.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

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