FanPost

Rules? We don't need no stinkin' rules...

First off, I want to commend OOLF for embarking on this mission to increase activity in the community. It's a noble vision and I'm happy to have the opportunity to make my foray into it with you all. It's also a much better way to increase interest than pushing some "pace of play" objective.

Now that the brown-nosing is out of the way, my rule change is simple and can be readily implemented. It is also a way to increase the fan involvement in the game with no disruption to the actual product on the field.

Setup: We all see the foul balls that are scooped up by a ballboy/girl and handed to a kid in the front row. We also see some of these foul balls tucked away to be checked and possibly put back into play later in the game.

New rule: Any ball that is out of play (foul ball, pitch in the dirt, last out of the inning (looking at you Joey Votto), etc.) stays out of play and is given to a KID in the stands. And not just the front row (often season ticket holders who've likely got a closet full of balls at home), toss it a few rows deep. Give it to an usher to distribute.

As a youngster, I had a store-bought MLB ball and "game balls" earned from LL contests, but when I first held an actual game-used MLB ball at age 11 it was such a different feeling. The touch and the smell elicited grander dreams in my mind. I wanted more than ever to be able to play the game on those perfectly manicured fields. To know what it was like to slide into a base on that finely crushed brick. To step up to the plate with a wooden bat in my hands and "the whole world" watching.

I already cherished baseball because it gave a kid a who was not strong enough for football, not tall enough for basketball, and not cold-tolerant enough for hockey a chance to dream big. But after holding that game-used ball, I truly "loved" the game. More kids should have that feeling.