The other day, Buster Olney wrote about an anonymous "high-ranking executive" who suggested baseball games should last just seven innings.
For traditionalists, this is pure heresy. Baseball is largely about numbers and statistics, and such a fundamental change would render future comparisons moot. Besides, if the problem is simply that games last too long, there are much less radical rules changes that would solve the problem.
But, of course, there is a larger problem. In recent decades, America's bucolic pastime has had its cultural importance usurped by football. There are many reasons for this (see George Carlin's famous comparison), but I would suggest that one big reason for this is that almost every NFL game matters, while it's hard to argue any random baseball game in April is consequential. Switching to seven innings does nothing to address that.
For busy 21st century adults, a surfeit of games creates a parodox: Too many games to care about leads many of us to watch zero — at least, until the heat of the pennant race or the playoffs. (Conversely, tell Americans they have just three hours on a Sunday afternoon to watch the Redskins play the Cowboys, and watch the economic principle of scarcity kick in.)
So here's my radical suggestion, which would also infuriate traditionalists and render the stats meaningless: Play just 60 or so games a season. By cutting the number of games by about two thirds, each game would be about three times as meaningful. It would also be a manageable number of games for fans to commit to caring about.
Basically, here's how it would work: The Yankees roll into Baltimore for a three or four-game set. They would play Thursday and/or Friday and Saturday nights — and then a Sunday afternoon rubber game. Then take a couple days off. In this scenario, every game (especially against division rivals) would be vitally important. What is more, the crowd enthusiasm — the full stands and the roar of the crowd — would make viewing it on TV more exciting — like a World Series game (or a regular season NFL game).
This, of course, will never happen. But that doesn't mean it shouldn't. Matt K. Lewis
Stonehenge might not be that impressive after all. While moving massive stones 140 miles through the mountains before the advent of heavy construction equipment has long been thought to be a nearly impossible task, a group of archaeologists from University College London has found that the task may only have required a small team of people.
In an experiment to see how the stones might have been moved, archaeologists set a one-ton stone on a sleigh, which was then dragged along tracks. Much to the archaeologists' surprise, a team of just 10 people was able to move the rock. The team managed to pull the rock one foot every five seconds, which, the experiment concludes, would "net a speed of more than one mile per hour." While the rocks from Stonehenge weigh nearly twice as much as the stones used in the experiment, archaeologists surmise that the team could be doubled to 20 people for the same ease of movement, even with the added challenge of the Preseli Mountains' tough terrain.
Archaeologists also point out that the same technique has been used to tackle far more impressive feats. The system was also used to move China's Forbidden City's stones, which weigh 120 tons a piece — more than 60 times that of Stonehenge's stones. Becca Stanek
The Supreme Court has turned down an appeal asserting that the death penalty violates the constitutional ban against cruel and unusual punishments, Reuters reports. Only two of the court's eight justices — liberals Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg — said they would have accepted the case.
The appeal was filed by Lamondre Tucker, who was sentenced to death for the 2008 murder of his 18-year-old girlfriend when she was five months pregnant. Tucker has argued that black males such as himself have an increased likelihood of being given the death penalty due to systemic issues of racism in Louisiana's Caddo Parish.
Tucker "may well have received the death penalty not because of the comparative egregiousness of his crime, but because of an arbitrary feature of his case, namely geography," Breyer wrote. "One could reasonably believe that if Tucker had committed the same crime just across the Red River in, say, Bossier Parish, he would not now be on death row."
However, by declining the appeal, the Supreme Court moves no closer to taking on a case challenging the death penalty directly. Louisiana's Supreme Court ruling from September 2015, which upheld Tucker's conviction and death sentence, will be left in place. Jeva Lange
Right-wing extremists attacked a vegan cafe in Tbilisi, Georgia, on Sunday evening — only the attackers' weapons weren't knives or crowbars, but sausages.
"They pulled out some grilled meat, sausages, and fish and started eating them and throwing them at us, and finally they started to smoke," Kiwi Cafe wrote in a statement. "They were just trying to provoke our friends and disrespect us."
According to Radio Free Europe, the incident erupted after the men were told to leave the no smoking area of the cafe during a screening of the animated sitcom Rick And Morty. "Customers said the group of rowdy Georgian men entered the cafe as the screening was under way, wearing sausages around their necks and carrying slabs of meat on skewers," Radio Free Europe reports.
And while "antivegan provocative action" is a somewhat preposterous-sounding accusation, the attack on the counterculture and LGBT-friendly Kiwi Cafe is symbolic of a larger trend of intolerance in Georgia, where neo-Nazis and "fascist ideas" are on the rise.
However, Kiwi Cafe has said they are still "ready to accept all customers regardless of their nationality, race, appearance, age, gender, sexual orientation, or religious views" — just not, perhaps, diet. Jeva Lange
Much has been made about Donald Trump's historic refusal to release his tax returns — but apparently the presumptive Republican nominee requires similar IRS documents from charities before he releases donations to them.
Trump's campaign has been criticized for being slow to gift money to veterans groups, to which he had promised $6 million after a fundraiser in January. Trump excused his tardiness by saying his team needed the proper paperwork to be in order before donations could be released. However, by the time he finished naming recipient organizations at his press conference on Tuesday, Trump said his campaign was still waiting to release $10,000 to Project for Patriots because "they have to give us that final document" — an "IRS determination letter."
BREAKING NEWS: Trump thinks IRS documents are important for vetting.
— TJ Helmstetter (@TheTJHelm) May 31, 2016
The irony, apparently, was lost on Trump. Watch below. Jeva Lange
Donald Trump took on the press during a news conference on Tuesday, slamming the media for being "dishonest" and made up of "not good people." Trump had appeared in order to account for charitable contributions his campaign said it made toward veteran organizations during an Iowa fundraiser in January, but he repeatedly lashed out at the press in attendance for requiring him to do so.
The press returned fire, with CNN's Jim Acosta accusing Trump of not being able to cope with the scrutiny it takes to run for president.
"I've seen you on TV, you're a real beauty," Trump replied.
— Christina Manduley (@cmanduley) May 31, 2016
Trump later pivoted to calling ABC reporter Tom Llamas, who was in attendance, "a sleazy guy."
"He's a sleaze, in my book." Trump said.
WATCH: Donald Trump calls ABC reporter "a sleaze." pic.twitter.com/0DxoksTgzb
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) May 31, 2016
"Is this what it is going to be like covering you, if you are president?" another reporter finally asked.
"Yeah," Trump said. "Yeah, it is." Jeva Lange
Conservative commentator Glenn Beck's radio program won't be airing on SiriusXM this week, the satellite radio company announced Tuesday. Though a lot can be said on the radio, SiriusXM says that it draws the line at what guest Brad Thor said about Donald Trump last week on Beck's program. The fiction writer hypothesized that it might be necessary to break the law to oust Trump from the presidency:
If Congress won't remove him from office, what patriot will step up and do that if, if, he oversteps his mandate as president, his constitutional-granted authority, I should say, as president.
If he oversteps that, how do we get him out of office? And I don't think there is a legal means available. I think it will be a terrible, terrible position the American people will be in to get Trump out of office because you won't be able to do it through Congress. [Thor, via Breitbart News]
A vocal supporter of Ted Cruz's run for the GOP nomination, Beck "did not immediately admonish or distance himself from the comments," Politico reports. SiriusXM says the comments "may be reasonably construed by some to have been advocating harm against an individual currently running for office," which it says it can't "condone."
Beck has yet to comment on the suspension, but he denied last week that anyone on his show threatened the presumptive GOP nominee. "NOBODY stated or implied any harm coming to Trump, that's not something we joke about," he wrote on Facebook.
His usual slots on both the Patriot channel and The Blaze have already been filled with other programming. Becca Stanek
The Democratic Party likes to see senators tapped for vice president. In fact, if this year's VP candidate hails from the Senate, Democrats will have chosen senators in 16 out of 17 elections going back to 1948. (The one exception was 1972, when George McGovern named former Ambassador Sargent Shriver to replace his first choice, who was — you guessed it — a senator.)
Republicans have no such affinity for the Senate. Six of their veep picks since 1964 were former members of the House of Representatives, and three were governors (Spiro Agnew twice and Sarah Palin once). The GOP also went with a senator in three elections (Dan Quayle in 1988 and 1992 and Bob Dole in 1976).
This year, with Donald Trump as the presumptive Republican nominee, an unpredictable campaign season combines with an inconsistent Republican record to leave the GOP's veepstakes wide open. Trump's campaign has indicated that its VP list is quite short at this point, and one Trump adviser said it may include women — after previously commenting that selecting anyone other than a white man would be "pandering." Bonnie Kristian