Major League Baseball Debuts 450-Inch Bases
By Mike Range
GOODYEAR, AZ - A typographical error in the new size requirement for major league bases resulted in the Cleveland Guardians and Kansas City Royals playing the first-ever spring training game with 37-foot-wide bases, with the Guardians eking out a 94–92 win.
"The bases are actually 37.5 feet," clarified MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred. "Our intention was to increase the length of each side of the base by ‘3.0 inches.’ Somehow, our specifications were interpreted as 'increase the length by 30 times.' We had just updated Microsoft Word, so it's possible the mistake was on our end. Anyhow, the bases have gone from 15 to 450 inches. Which it turns out is great!”
Manfred went on to talk about the immediate impact he noticed the enlarged bases were having on the game.
"We had hoped the three-inch increase would lead to extra offense, but man, these backyard-sized bases really do the trick! The distance between bases was supposed to decrease by a few inches, letting a few bang-bang plays go in the runner's favor. But now home to first has shrunk by forty percent! Good luck throwing a guy out on a ground ball!
He also noted that the distance was even shorter from first to second and second to third.
"It's like thirty-five feet! That's about five running steps after you take a leadoff. We expect Ricky Henderson's single-season record of 130 stolen bases to be broken by Mother's Day!”
League officials had hoped to capitalize even further on the giant-base trend by testing an equally large home plate in a Padres - White Sox contest, but it turned out a 37-foot-wide plate resulted in every pitch being a called strike in a neverending 0–0 game.
The Commissioner stressed that there were defensive advantages to bases the size of multiple boxing rings, pointing out that unassisted triple plays on a line drive to the second baseman would likely become the most common way to end an inning.
Looking to calm the fears of baseball purists, Manfred assured fans, "If scoring really gets out of hand, we can build an escape room on each base that the runner would have to solve before advancing."
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