On Monday night, a young fan ran onto the field at the Phillies/Cardinals game and was tasered after a few brief seconds of outrunning sluggish security guards. Pundits, newscasters and basement-dwellers alike have gnashed their teeth and flailed about on the Internet, newspapers and Twitter, screaming at each other about whether using a taser was excessive force. But none of these screechy, would-be-experts have yet considered my idea: fans should be allowed to run on the field. You heard me!
Under my plan, a team like the Kansas City Royals would set up a Running on the Field Night every Friday. During the week leading up to the event, the team would take out a full page ad in the Kansas City Star with a unique lottery number in each newspaper. Fans would then buy the newspaper and call a hotline to find out if they were the lucky winner. Then, at some point during the game on Friday night, the winner would be able to run on to the field. If the fan was able to outrun security guards for more than two minutes, he or she would win two free tickets to a Royals game. If they were captured, though, he or she would be ejected from the park.
The benefits to this plan are too numerous to list. For one, this plan would singlehandedly revive the dying newspaper industry in Kansas City. Better than a government bailout or figuring out a way to monetize internet content, newspapers would be able to rely on good old-fashioned hard work to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. This plan would also even out the imbalance that the National League currently has over the American League. Over the last few days, two fans in National League games have run onto the field. Over the same period of time, a grand total of zero have run on the field in the American League. Why should one league have an advantage in running while another league’s fans sit in the stands? It’s unfair. Back in the 70s, I remember that fans of both leagues ran on the field, and I never saw anyone get hurt.
This plan would also help small-market teams compete against the behemoths in New York and Los Angeles. Look, the Yankees spent over three billion dollars on masseuses alone for their players last year. Small market teams like the Royals, Marlins and Red Sox don’t have that kind of advantage. No one denies this! Starting a Run on the Field night would help them get some TV exposure, which in turn will help them make smart free agent signings and try to compete with the big boys.
Legalizing running on the field would end the use of performance-enhancing capture tools that are currently running rampant in every security guard clubhouse except the Red Sox and Brewers. These hulking, juiced-up guards are using tools never before available to the Greats of Baseball History like Charles “Dusty Cap” Grove and Bucky “Stonewall” Highpockets. Every time one of these meatheads tases a fan, they commit an Act of Genocide against baseball history. They’re ax-murdering our ability to compare records throughout history! How do we know that Dusty Cap’s record of 2 captures in one season is the greatest capture record of all time, if guards today are using performance-enhancing capture tools to pad their stats?
Allowing fans to run on the field will capture the attention of today’s youth. Geeks and statheads for too long have choked the life out of the game. Baseball isn’t played on computers. It’s not computed in spreadsheets. It’s played with heart, soul and grit. I can’t think of a better way to show kids today how exciting baseball can be than allowing one of them run on the field. And let the statheads try to measure that! They’d probably come up with some ridiculous new stat like Value over Replacement Runner.
It’s just absurd. At the end of the day, stats can’t measure heart. They can’t capture hearts like the crack of a bat and the roar of the crowd. My plan will. And if pitchers complain that it messes with their timing, guess what? Too bad. They’re too concerned about pitch counts anyway! They need to toughen up. Pitchers need to pitch, hitters need to hit, and fans need to run on to the field. Period.
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