Off Base
A Prescription for Baseball

January 1, 2008

What, you were expecting a list of New Year's resolutions?

Well, the thought did occur to us, but we figured first of all, New Year's resolutions have been done to death.

Plus, what are the chances of baseball sticking to its resolutions even through January, when the rest of us aren't going to? Besides, to whatever extent New Year's resolutions actually work, baseball is less capable then the average Tom, Dick and Harry. Or Barry. Or Roger. Far less capable.

And you know what? Since it's a prescription we're dispensing, baseball might just make the association – a little white piece of paper with a doctor's signature on it, Rx equals drugs – and fill the damn thing. Drink it right down.

So the editorial board convened, and here's what we came up with. This is our Rx for baseball:

A thorough study of the Mitchell Report by the powers that be, starting with an acknowledgment from the top that being "briefed" doesn't cut it.

As suggested in the Mitchell Report, baseball must turn its drug testing business over to an objective entity, and one that's actually good at it. The United States Doping Agency works fine for us.

Full and immediate agreement by the player's union to allow blood testing for HGH. No excuse, no delays.

Full, immediate and in-advance agreement by the player's union to allow for the next best science to be used in testing, the second it becomes available. No excuse, no delays.

The commissioner of baseball must stop talking about the wonderful growth of the sport and all the money being made at every imaginable opportunity to do so.

The commissioner of baseball is required to wear suits manufactured outside the state of Wisconsin and during the current millennium. He must appear in public with a professional haircut, refrain from repeatedly shrugging his shoulders and cupping a hand around an ear, and sit up straight at all times.

The commissioner of baseball and the executive director of the player's union must appear before Congress January 15, 2008, tail between their legs, prepared to do nothing other than nod their heads in unison, and repeat the following: "You're right, we're sorry, we'll do whatever you say. You're right, we're sorry, we'll do whatever you say. You're right, we're sorry, we'll do whatever you say."

All major league baseball players must apologize. That means all baseball players. Drug users, non-drug users who knew about drug users, non-drug users who didn't know about drug users. All must apologize.

No excuses like, "I just did it once, for an injury, to help the team."

No online dentists.

No signings of players reported in the Mitchell Report to have used drugs. As Vin Scully would say, "zero, zip, nada." Any player already signed should be released. With pay or without pay; we don't care. Call it collusion, a blacklist, or a witch hunt. We don’t care.

All managers, general managers, assistant general managers and executives complicit in any way with their employees drug use must accept a level of responsibility, and apologize. These apologies must be the most sincere, and the loudest.

Paul Lo Duca; tarred and feathered.

Jim Leyritz; tarred, feathered, locked-up, the key thrown away, and a lifetime ban on the most hideous batting stance known to man. Neither should ever see the light of day again. Or at least, for a very long time. Asshole.

Zero tolerance for managers and general managers who drink and drive, use illegal drugs, or turn a blind eye to such activity from their charges.

Play between leagues to be reserved for the World Series only. Under no circumstances is the World Series to be cancelled due to labor issues.

World Series home field reverts to an every-other-year scenario. National League gets the even years, American League the odd.

No ties allowed in the All-Star Game.

No celebrations for wife-beating managers who break records of any kind, much less records associated with temper tantrums.

Seriously decreased usage of the following clichés: “flu-like symptoms,” “strained oblique,” "five-tool player," "we all have to be on the same page" "anything can happen in a short series," “back in the day,” "intestinal fortitude,” “it is what it is,” “clubhouse cancer," and "it’s only May." "Sample size" may be used when discussing urine or blood collection only.

Contraction of all franchises in the state of Florida. Major league baseball may be played in Florida during the month of March only.

Permanent removal of the words "Los Angeles" from anything relating to any team which plays its home games in a city and county determined to be anything other than the actual City of Los Angeles.

With nothing to lose and everything to gain now, Mark McGwire comes clean about his drug use. Tells all, apologizes like no one ever has before, cries as much as he needs to, and dedicates his life to the prevention of drug abuse, by adults and children alike. Becomes a real hero.

Some sort of labeling for ex-Angel, Brendan Donnelly, both scab and busted drug user; a double whammy of a distinction if ever there was one.

Hall of Fame vote extended to baseball scribes with 10 years' experience in Internet baseball writing. Guess who celebrates year number nine in 2008…

Talkback: Your comments are always encouraged…

Media Savvy: Congratulations to old friend Peter Schilling, of for the publishing of his new novel, "The End of Baseball." Great stuff, Peter, and even better timing. We're proud of you.

"We gotta get off the air." As bad as the Lakers looked Sunday night, their performance was laudable compared to the one turned in by DirecTV and Prime Ticket. If the courtside-only camera angle coverage, sans announcers, wasn't the lamest thing in all of communications programming history, it certainly was the lamest thing in sports programming history. Absolutely retarded.

The execution of this thing was so bad that no amount of criticism from sports media experts Tom Hoffarth of the Daily News or Larry Stewart of the Los Angeles Times can possibly do it justice.

Forget for a minute that when it comes to entertainment directing experimentation, this wasn't exactly Alfred Hitchcock, and putting aside the fact that the idea should have been shelved the second it was brought up in a meeting, wouldn't you think that if, God forbid, some poor schlub actually put his John Hancock on the go-ahead, he'd schedule it for a mid-week contest against the Clippers, instead of a weekend once-per-season visit to L.A. by the Celtics?

Unbelievable, unwatchable, moronic…

Poli-Sigh: In defense of Mitt Romney, while his statement about being endorsed by the NRA was misleading, it wasn't completely without basis in fact. It's just that the candidate was referring to the other NRA. You know, the National Restaurant Association…

The Day Job: It's been awhile since I've run an advertorial for myself, so indulge me for a minute, please. My other baby is Cool Flash Designs. Creative web development, Cracker Jack copywriting, and rush-job delivery, without the rush-job prices.

Mention promo code "Tomko" and receive free hosting for a year, two fine seats to a Dodger game of your choice (Opening Day excluded) or a $100 gift card from Starbucks.

Statue for Sandy: The Koufax in bronze campaign continues. Please Vote “Yes on 32.” And tell a friend…

Remember, glove conquers all….








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