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New Rules for Baseball

In an effort to be less moronic, Major League Baseball has ratified some new rules. I am pleased to be the first writer in the nation to report these. Susan Slusser will be so envious.

New MLB rule: No more idiotic punch-outs on called third strikes.
New MLB rule: No more idiotic punch-outs on called third strikes.
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

New Rule #1: Players must carry Kleenex at all times.

Along with crying, projectile sinus-cleaning has now been banned in baseball. MLB has finally come to its sinuses...uh, senses, with this ruling. (Sorry, that was one of Nico's leftover puns.) I, for one, applaud the rule. I remember the telecast of the first game in the Giants' fabulous, revolutionary, Camden Yards-knockoff stadium, Pac Bell Park. It was an exhibition game against the A's, which was the only reason I was watching.

Prior to the player introductions, the Giants-centric TV camera panned the Giants' dugout and came to rest on The Great One, Barry Bonds, sitting pensively on the bench. It was a dramatic moment if ever there was one. The camera zoomed in. The Great One gestured! His right forefinger moved upward, pressed against his right nostril, and kablooie! He blew a snot oyster the size of Rhode Island out his left nostril!

"A wonderful moment in televised sports," I thought.

To my surprise, the TV director did not cut away from The Great One after that display. The focus lingered for an encore and, sure enough, Bonds complied! Barry Bonds, a multi-millionaire with a locker room La-Z-Boy recliner and a 14-man posse, apparently could not afford a damn Kleenex.

From that moment, every baseball televised shot seemed to catch major leaguers in every sort of nasal exorcism. MLB became alarmed after a national focus group of baseball fans said, "It's bad enough listening to Joe Morgan and Tim McCarver, but this?"

The ruling would have come sooner but for a protest from the Players Association. The player's motion was characterized as a blow for pride. "Kleenex is for wimps," an MLBPA spokesperson said. "Besides, MLB cannot burden its players with extra gear."

It was pointed out the players carry batting gloves, sunflower seeds, and chewing tobacco in their back pockets. Jeff Francoeur even carries a pound of bacon which he feeds to the A's right field fans. How could carrying a travel pack of Kleenex be more burdensome? Use of Kleenex might even entice more women to watch games.

In response the MLBPA spokesperson faked a sneeze/cough that sounded suspiciously like the word, "horsesh*t!" In response to the MLBPA response, MLB announced a new promotional award, the "Blown Save of the Game," sponsored by Kimberly-Clark, makers of Kleenex.

New Rule #2: Players will be limited to one tribute gesture toward heaven per season.

In an effort to get serial performance grief under control, MLB has curtailed players' use of the trite tap-chest-point-heavenward gesture to once per season, per player. In ratifying the ban, the owners have acknowledged this reality: In any crowd at any major league game, there are at least 5,000 fans who have experienced greater tragedy than any of the players. Yet the fans still manage to attend a game, cheer, boo, drink over-priced beer and generally affirm Life. They don't want to see a player gesticulating to his dead Granny in Heaven every time he singles to right field.

"Do it once and fans can sympathize," an MLB spokesperson said. "Do it 150 times a season and the gesture ceases to be about the Dear Departed. Then, it becomes preening self-promotion."

On behalf of its members, the MLBPA has sued MLB stating, "Preening self-promotion is a performer's birthright and a cherished part of American culture. Why shouldn't ballplayers be able to embarrass themselves as badly as politicians, movie stars, and Lady Gaga?"

MLB remains firm, however. Any phony heavenly gestures exceeding the maximum allowed will be penalized severely. The rest of the season the offending player will have to make the same gesture every time he strikes out or makes an error.

Let's see how Granny likes that.

New Rule #3: No more exaggerated umpire punch-outs on called third strikes.

Umpires have always insisted on respect from the players. "Showing up" an umpire during a game is considered as egregious a sin as sucker-punching the Philly Phanatic in his furry green scrotum. (You must look very closely.) Yet, somehow the umpires have been free to embarrass the players with their idiotic, choreographed demonstrations following a called strike three. No more.

Even the late Leslie Nielsen is happy about this rule change. (The author pauses momentarily to touch his chest and point upwards to Heaven.)

From now on, umpires will be required to make the strike three call as casually, and as carelessly, as they make their calls on strike one or ball one. "We realize this is a complete reversal of a moronic, insulting baseball tradition," an MLB spokesperson said, logically. "If we ban preening self-promotion for the players, however, we should ban it for the umpires as well."

In a related note, the Umpires' Association has sued MLB stating, "The players get to use drugs; preening self-promotion on called third strikes is the only thing we have left."

New Rule #4: Brims of caps must be worn upward at a 45-degree angle.

Yes, now every major league player must resemble Huntz "Sach" Hall of The Bowery Boys. (You young ‘uns are going to have to Google that reference. Never mind, here's a shot: )

An MLB spokesperson, speaking anonymously because of complete embarrassment, said, "The curved cap brims looked too white bread. The flat brims looked too rapsta. We settled on the Huntz Hall look as the most profitable compromise. Yes, all the players will now look like 1940's movie dunces, but just think of the advertising/sponsorship possibilities on those up-turned brims!"

New Rule #5: Hitting the cut-off man is now mandatory.

How many times does a cannon-armed outfielder launch a perfect throw to home plate to cut down a runner? The answer is, approximately 12 times a year, less frequently than armadillos win state lotteries. (Of course, armadillos might do better if they actually bought lottery tickets.)

A related question: How often do moronic outfielders, in errant attempts to nail base runners, launch throws into the third row of spectators, thus allowing the scoring runs to (1) score or (2) advance to scoring position? The answer is, 12,000 times per season.

MLB has finally acknowledged this embarrassing reality and made hitting the cut-off man a requirement for outfielders. "We instituted this rule after receiving numerous complaints from 12-year-old Little Leaguers," an unnamed assistant to Bud Selig said. "The kids asked, why are we made to practice throwing to the cut-off man when major leaguers violate this fundamental baseball defensive tactic several times a game? Commissioner Selig didn't have a good answer, despite empaneling a Blue Ribbon committee, so we made it mandatory to hit the cut-off man."

New Rule #6: Players must now use jai-alai cestas rather than traditional fielder gloves.

If you have no idea what cesta is, have no worries. Neither does Bud Selig. But here is an illustration:

The immediate implication of this new rule is, there will be no more home plate/second base collisions. Previously, MLB rules stated a runner could not interfere with a batted ball or a fielder's glove in the act of making a play. According to moronic MLB tradition, however, a runner could do several other things. He could steamroll a shortstop in the middle of a double-play attempt and separate the fielder's thigh from his calf (as long as the runner could theoretically sniff second base.) A runner approaching home plate could launch himself like a cruise missile through the larynx of the catcher and the whole incident would be extolled as gritty heroism by the color commentator. No more.

Now fielders will be equipped with jai-alai equipment to eliminate traditional base path slobber-knockers. Think of it, had Ray Fosse been using a cesta, Pete Rose would never had a chance to screw up his career. With a cesta, Daric Barton will never have to execute the splits again. Jed Lowrie can take the catcher's throw and apply the tag four feet away from the runner. And, best of all, by using a jai-alai cesta, Coco Crisp will never have to use his weak-ass throwing arm again. In one motion, he will simply catch the ball and sling it on a line to the cut-off man without the usual three bounces.

In an optimistic related note, MLB expects these new rules to have as much success as its prohibition on the use of performance enhancing drugs.