Uh oh, the Yankees are on the brink of elimination tonight. To make matters worse, they’re sending AJ Burnett to the mound. Fortunately Major League Baseball is the least corrupt of the professional sports leagues. I can’t help but wonder, though, if NBA Commissioner David Stern was running MLB. First, they wouldn’t even be in this predicament in the first place. Why? Because the Red Sox would be in the playoffs right now. Remember that wild, amazing 162nd night of baseball we all had last Wednesday night? It never would’ve happened in the NBA since Stern would have made sure all the dollar signs associated with the Red Sox got in rather than the one dollar sign next to the Tampa Bay Rays. However, put in the position MLB is now, with the Yankees on the brink of elimination, and I know the NBA front office would be going crazy. We’d be in store for some of the worst umpiring ever witnessed tonight (we still may be). Here are some measures I would put in place tonight if I were David Stern (besides jumping in front of a train for the greater good of humanity)….
- AJ Burnet suspended for insert prior incident here - This is quite simple. Dig up some prior incident on Burnett’s criminal record – surely he has one – and have someone close to the situation go public with it. There has to be an ex-girlfriend out there who can re-hash an old domestic altercation. Suspend Burnett, force the Yankees to start someone else, thus improving their chances of winning.
- Exercise the Bartman Clause - Ever think back to the Bartman incident and think, “Hey, that would have been an out if it were the other team.”? Be it financial or something else, find a way to entice Detroit fans to reach over the wall. If they snag a ball out of play off a Tiger’s bat, then it’s an out. If a Yankee player hits it, give him a do over. This would really give New York a fair unfair advantage.
- Humidor in the Yankee clubhouse - Oh man, this one makes David Stern drool! Unfortunately for him, it’d be impossible to make each team play with two different balls. Otherwise, he’d have done it in a heartbeat. In baseball, it can be pulled off. If I am Tigers player, I’m making sure to grab a ball while I’m at bat, and also grab one in the field, and then run scientific tests on it afterward. No big league player is going to do that though, so this move could be easily pulled off undetected.
- Call more fouls - I know there’s no fouls in baseball (aside from foul balls), but one thing the NBA is really good at is star treatment. Fouls on Lebron James aren’t fouls on Lou Amundson. Let’s do the same thing in Major League Baseball. It’s true that supertstars already get special treatment. Look no further than Derek Jeter’s final at-bat last night in the 9th inning. Valvered threw a pitch for a ball that would have undoubtedly been called strike three against 99% of player. But let’s take it a step further. Let’s penalize other players for imeding the stars’ performance. Remember when A’s pitcher Dallas Braden told Alex Rodriguez to stay the f*** off his mound? Toss him! It’s the postseason now. The stakes are higher. If Porcello comes inside on Cano, throw him out of the game! There’s a good chance you can get Leyland out of there too.