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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (CAP) - In a continued attempt to keep things fresh and re-engage fans, Major League Baseball has announced plans to implement a Ground-Rule Double Derby starting with next year's All-Star Game festivities. The new contest will showcase hitting precision over pure power.
"With all the steroids these guys do, who can't put 10 bombs into the stands with pitches lobbed at them?" said MLB Commissioner Bud Selig. "You want to impress the fans? How about launching a pitch just the right distance from the centerfield wall with just the right arc so that it bounces into the stands?
"And since it's a ground-rule double, there's still no running involved for these lazy sons of bitches," Selig added, referring to his failed 'Inside The Park Home Run Derby' experiment a few years back.
Baseball purists are already voicing their opposition to the event, pointing out that it would likely be as exciting as Single Up The Middle Derby, Sac Fly Derby or Intentional Walk Derby. Many lump it alongside such other undesirable changes to the game as playoff wildcards, batting helmets and the designated hitter.
"You know, eventually anyone who was around when the DH was implemented will be dead and it'll become just another forgotten legend, like the Seattle Pilots or Marge Schott," Selig noted. "Which reminds me, I need to get the Seattle Pilots 45th Anniversary Celebration Committee together or else that thing is never going to happen.
"Oh, has anyone fed Schottzie III today?" Selig added as he looked around the room.
Reaction from throughout the league was mixed, with some of the game's marquis players complaining that their biceps are so big that it's physically impossible for them to hold back on a swing and simply loop a hit into the outfield. "It's why I had bunting taken out of my contract," said one player. "My arms just don't go that way."
When CAP News asked some of the league's power hitters about choking up on the bat, we were met with blank stares and what appeared to be attempts at shrugging their shoulders. "I'm not familiar with that phrase," said one of the American League home run leaders whom we opted not to identify so as not to embarrass him. "Is that a '70s baseball thing Rod Carew used to do?"
"See, if this goes through, I'm gonna have to rework like 17 contracts with new goals, new clauses, more money," said agent Scott Boras. "Someone get me a copy of one of Chuck Knoblauch's deals - gotta be something in there I can use."
For his part, Selig appears unfazed by the criticism, responding to it by noting that prior to 1931, what is now a ground-rule double was once considered a home run. When CAP News mentioned that at one time it was also legal to get a baserunner out by hitting him in the back with the ball, it piqued the commissioner's interest.
"Well that would certainly get those lazy sons of bitches to run out their ground balls, now wouldn't it?" he quipped.
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