Someone get Dusty Baker on the phone.

I know our fan-base here at swayzesghost spreads far and wide so I’m asking you guys a little favor. I need to get in touch with Dusty Baker and I need to do it quick, so if one of you could send this his way I would really appreciate it. It’s not too often you get the opportunity to completely revolutionize the game of baseball, but one such time is upon us my friends. Not since Tony LaRussa introduced the idea of a closing pitcher or Jose Canseco introduced the idea of Human Growth Hormone has something this momentous happened to Major League Baseball and I’m glad to share it with you, Dusty. I hope it’s OK if I call you Dusty, I feel like you owe me that much after what you’ve put me through, you son of a bitch.  Sorry.  Let’s not get into that right now.

Let’s take a look at our supposed Ace, Edinson Volquez. So far this season in his three outings he has given up 11 total runs, 9 of which have came in the first inning. To break that down a bit more, 8 of those runs have been given up within his first 30 pitches of each game. The opposing teams batting average through those first 30 pitches is a staggering .583 while it’s a paltry .130 through pitches 31-60 of the same games. Okay, so he takes a little time to warm up, so what? You just gotta deal with it, right?   Wrong.  Just think back to the 80s, people just thought “well, the guy gets a little gassed in the 9th, you hafta expect that, he has thrown nearly 150 pitches already tonight, but hey, what can you do?” This is how baseball worked up until 1987, you just had to deal with your starter getting worn down or some scrub long reliever coming in and pitching 3 innings. Then one magical night Tony LaRussa, blind drunk off of peppermint schnapps, threw Dennis Eckersley in to pitch the 9th as a joke.  And he did. And it was great.

“Check this, I'm gonna send Eck in for an inning. Hahah, seriously. One inning. What a joke. If that doesn't work, the dog goes in.”

What I’m suggesting here is next time Volquez gets the mound, Dusty plays the same kind of joke on the entire baseball viewing world like LaRussa did back then, and put in Aroldis Chapman to pitch the first inning. Here me out here folks, don’t go grabbing the pitchforks just yet. We’ve all seen Chapman throw one inning lights out then come back and struggle for the next, so we just play to his strong suit here too. But we don’t just have Volquez sitting on the bench watching, oh no, because that clearly hasn’t worked. I’m sure he is warming up before games now but it just ain’t cuttin’ it. Unless he just isn’t warming up before games, in which case I gotta put this one all on you, skip. Gotta get your boys limber, Dusty. Anyway, while Chapman is out there chewing up the first inning or 30 pitches, whichever comes first, you’ve got to have Volquez not only warming up in the bullpen, but facing live batters. And not just any live batters, we need some power houses to hit him around a little. We’ve seen him give up back-to-back home runs to the first two hitters of the game, then come back and shut ’em down, so maybe that’s what he needs. “Surly Scrap, you aren’t suggesting we bench Joey Votto for the first inning just so he can take BP against Volquez are you?” That’s exactly what I’m saying. Volquez throws 30 or so pitches to Votto who I’m assuming knocks 20-25 of them into the stands or onto the playing field, which has got to be a major distraction to opponents, while Chapman strikes out the side. Now we’ve got Volquez ready to throw some shut-down baseball,Votto is loose as a goose and 95% guaranteed to hit a homerun, and Chapman increases his strikeout count by 3. There are literally no downsides to this and I frankly will not listen to anyone who tells me there is, so cram it.

Alright, I’ve got to stop talking about this because I think I’ve almost convinced myself it’s a good idea now and that makes me feel really, really stupid. Plus, Dusty doesn’t need any more bad ideas so let’s just pretend this didn’t happen, OK?

"Hell, let's give it a shot."

Since the Reds are on the west coast and don’t start until 10, I’ll share with you all a little trick to make watching other games more entertaining. Drinking. Who would have thought?! I sat down to watch the Phillies play the Braves the other night before the Reds came on and I thought I was going to shoot the TV, Elvis style. It’s like yeah, Cliff Lee, we get it, you aren’t pitching well tonight, let’s just wrap this thing up. But nooo, he’s got to drag it out for two more hours while literally nothing of interest happens. Wait, I take that back. I think I saw some drunk dude fall down a few rows up behind third base, so that was cool. So rather than assassinate my brand new $20 TV I made up a little drinking game to numb myself into a state of oblivion, and I assume you want to hear about it because you’re a raging alcoholic just like me. First of all, this game is meant to play with beer, ideally Busch copper tops, but you can substitute any beer really or even Four Loko if you consider yourself a more experienced player. Think of it as playing from the tips. The game basically breaks down like this, you split up into teams and drink every time the other team does one of the following.

Walk – One (1) drink
Single – One (1) drink
Double – Two (2) drinks
Triple – Finish (Finish) your drink
Ground Rule Double – ½ beer
Home Run – ½ a beer
Grand Slam – Full beer
Hit for the cycle – Four (4) beers
Inside the parker – Drink until you spew
Turn a triple play – Three (3) beers
Charges the mound – Grab one (1) beer and smash it over someones head. Preferably if they’re on the other team.

Prepare to enjoy baseball like you’ve never enjoyed it before, unless you don’t like drinking in which case I just don’t know what to tell you pal.

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