ARA: Baseball and the Olympics

Designated runner rule – yuck

Kelly, who’s now been writing over at, asked a few questions for Ask Roger Anything.

Should we still be having the Olympics? And if so, is it time to just pick a permanent location for the Summer and Winter Games and stop all this business of Olympic bids and cities and countries spending billions for this stuff?

I had been just having this discussion about the outsized impact of sports on society. Is it social good, exercise, comradery? Is it glorified too much? I know that there are folks around Albany trying to restart youth baseball in a particular neighborhood, not just for sport’s sake but to encourage discipline and teamwork.

On the other hand, I’m rather annoyed by corporate welfare. Specifically, New York State taxpayer money is going towards building a new stadium for the Buffalo Bills.

Here’s a video about how the Olympics hurt the poor of the host city and add to the militarization of the communities where the games are being held.

Optimally, I would like to see the Olympics, and the Paralympics continue. But the power needs to be ceded to some non-IOC entity that includes athletes. Perhaps they could root out cheating far earlier than what happened with that poor Russian 15-year-old skater this year. The grownups have to do better.

Finding a single country, or two, for the Olympics, will be quite difficult, I’d think. I mean, it can’t be Russia, China, the US, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Iran, or a bunch of others. One could certainly make the case for Greece for the Summer Olympics, although the 2004 games were a fiscal debacle.

And what of the Winter Games? Politically, I doubt they could have both sets of Games in Europe. I’d love to see them in southern Africa or southern parts of South America. Or Uruguay in the summer and Switzerland in the winter.

Peanuts and Cracker Jack

You can make ONE change to something about Major League Baseball. What is it?

Let’s go with two because I know you already agree with the first. The baseball playoff games and World Series should start by 7 pm Eastern at the LATEST. How are you supposed to generate a new generation of fans when the premier games finish after their bedtime?

The other change is controversial, I imagine. And for a baseball traditionalist like myself, it’s surprising. Allow for a tie after 12 innings. This would only apply to the regular season.

And count the ties as half a win and half a loss. This is why this matters: in a 10-game pretend season, one team could go 6-4 and another 5-3-2, If you ignore the ties altogether, one team would have a .600 record, and the other .625. I don’t want to reward the tie.

Many pro sports have ties: NFL football, NHL hockey, soccer. Chess has the stalemate.

I thought about this because the bizarre thing MLB implemented during COVID, the designated runner rule, may not be dead. It’s that… thing established in 2020 and 2021 to shorten the game. A runner mysteriously is placed on second base in extra innings. I HATE, HATE HATE this rule, WAY more than I dislike the designated hitter.

Totally unrelated, Deep Space Nine Innings: A Star Trek Spinoff’s Unlikely Baseball Obsession.

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

One thought on “ARA: Baseball and the Olympics”

  1. Random thought:

    Participating in sports (of any kind, even if you’re not that good) with friends or family: fun and good and team-building. Pro-sports: a machine for corruption and rent-seeking.

    Participating in music (of any kind, even if you’re not that good) solo or with friends or family: fun and good and builds relationships. Much professional music: lots of corruption, especially on the part of the recording companies.

    The Olympics, when I was a kid, was mostly inspirational stories of young people working hard at something; now the stories about them more often than not are the corruption on the part of the IOC. Don’t know if stuff got worse or if I just grew up and became cynical.

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