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Here’s an idea: “Total Baseball”

May 4, 2013, 9:40 AM EDT

Screen Shot 2013-05-04 at 9.20.56 AM

No, not the old, now-defunct baseball stats and records book I used to so dearly love. But a proposed new scoring system for baseball created by Pat Cunningham of the Rockford Register-Star in Rockford, IL:

There’s nothing complicated about it: Every time a runner reaches a base — be it first, second, third or home — he scores a run. A single or walk with no one aboard counts for one run. A leadoff double counts for two runs. A single that moves a runner from first to third would count for three runs. And a grand-slam homer would count for 10 runs, not just four — and that doesn’t include the scores tallied by the players who were on base before the home run was hit.

Cunningham lays out a scenario where the home team is down four runs entering the botton of the ninth. Instead of a nearly certain loss, a single, a muffed double play and a hit-by-pitch brings them to within a single run! Anticipation! Drama! Excitement!

Silliness of course, and neither I nor Cunningham actually think anyone would adopt it.  But it would be great fun for beer league softball, pickup baseball games, assuming anyone still plays those, or college kids just messing around.

And heck, even if the majors did it, it’s not like the guys we think are the best now would suddenly be at a disadvantage. Just look at the all-time total base leaders. Awesome dudes, all.

  1. dondada10 - May 4, 2013 at 9:58 AM

    I would love to see what this scoring system would do to last year’s team w/l records.

  2. mustbechris - May 4, 2013 at 10:00 AM

    Is anyone else sick of this being a thing? I’m sick of this being a thing. Yes, players cheat, have cheated, will cheat. That does not make it okay for people to make wild, unfounded accusations. Hopefully this goes away.

    That picture amuses me quite a bit, I lol’d.

    • mustbechris - May 4, 2013 at 10:01 AM

      I swear to you, I posted this on the Tim Hudson article, and it redirected me here after I hit “post comment.”


      • natslady - May 4, 2013 at 10:52 AM

        Has happened to me several times. Now people make fun of me for it… :) Don’t worry about it. That picture was funny.

  3. chill1184 - May 4, 2013 at 10:04 AM

    If we’re going to introduce absurd, funny and perhaps also frustrating ideas to baseball then I have two;

    1. Introduce the NHL point system to MLB

    2. Expand each league to four division (North, South, East and West) and structure playoffs like so;

    Wild Card round best of 3, Division series best of five and League Championship best of 7 and World Series best of 9

    I have no logic or reason for these ideas other than my personal boredom

    Also OT: Has anyone here in HBT land played Out of the park baseball?

    • bigharold - May 4, 2013 at 1:30 PM

      “I have no logic or reason for these ideas other than my personal boredom”

      That’s better than a lot of what passes for logic an reason around here.

  4. randygnyc - May 4, 2013 at 10:32 AM

    I like the idea that a pitcher can work himself into and out of trouble while the offense gets nothing to show for it.

  5. nbjays - May 4, 2013 at 10:40 AM

    Welcome to baseball games with football scores…

    • bigdicktater - May 4, 2013 at 3:57 PM

      Or basketball scores!

  6. ILoveBaseball - May 4, 2013 at 11:01 AM

    Bad idea. This method gives too much credit for context and you know it Craig! Context is almost all luck. Measuring players based upon how lucky they are is how we miss-attribute value.

  7. Charles Gates - May 4, 2013 at 11:01 AM

    For runs scored when the ball is still live, i.e. not on HRs, balks etc, the scoring runner should* have the option of turning and heading for first to be on base again. The runner could overrun home plate and not be tagged out unless he shows intent towards first, similar to a runner running through first base on an infield play.

    * very, VERY loose definition of should being used.

  8. elmo - May 4, 2013 at 11:10 AM

    Angels and Astros would be looking good this year, currently ranked 6th and 7th in total bases.

  9. knowlegeforyou - May 4, 2013 at 11:34 AM

    stupid idea

  10. indaburg - May 4, 2013 at 11:37 AM

    Let’s just play Calvinball. The pitcher needs to run to centerfield after a pitch the gets hit to the first baseman. Because I say so. Triples = six points. Everyone tackles the shortstop. Play ball.

    • raysfan1 - May 4, 2013 at 12:08 PM

      I remember as a kid my mother reading the Sunday paper, looking up from the comics section, and saying “You’re Calvin!” I decided to take that as a compliment. .

      • indaburg - May 4, 2013 at 12:47 PM

        It was. :-)

    • nbjays - May 4, 2013 at 2:40 PM

      Good idea, ‘burgie… this would actually make umpires completely superfluous, as Calvinball can’t be played the same way twice, and therefore would have no rulebook to enforce.

  11. botlecap - May 4, 2013 at 11:53 AM

    That scenario is really the same as a team being down 1 run. The score of the entire game is inflated and the normal gap in runs at the end of the game would be geometrically larger. This wouldn’t add any excitement at all.

  12. tmohr - May 4, 2013 at 12:13 PM

    Drat, I was hoping for a discussion of how the Dutch soccer teams of the 1970s influence baseball in the Netherlands.

    Who will be honkball’s Johan Cruyff?

    • cktai - May 6, 2013 at 12:10 PM

      Back in the 1970s, it is pretty standard for football teams in the Netherlands to play baseball in the summer. So in that respect, baseball’s Johan Cruijff would be… Johan Cruijff.

      Cruijff’s position was catcher, but that really goes without saying.

  13. spudchukar - May 4, 2013 at 5:44 PM

    Man I miss the days of great funny pages.

    • sonoco - May 4, 2013 at 6:44 PM

      No kidding. Calvin & Hobbes was so imaginative. Bloom County, The Far Side . . . . sigh.

  14. sparty0n - May 5, 2013 at 12:15 AM

    I’ve wondered for a long time what baseball would be like if the original rules had the runner return to the bases they occupied when the 3rd out occurred on the previous play.

    Can you image getting out of a bases loaded jam only to have the bases loaded again to start the following inning?

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