(SP) – Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred announced today that the league has decided to do away with the baseball aspect of the game and instead featuring bench-clearing brawls.

“The data shows us that mainstream sports fans become far more engaged in baseball when people are getting punched and kicked and tackled on the diamond,” said the commissioner. “You can have the smoothest 6-4-3 double play you’ve ever seen, and it won’t get a mention on social media or CNN. But if 50 guys start wailing on each other, we’re being talked about all over the place. We need to embrace that kind of relevance.”

Manfred also cited historical trends showing baseball’s ratings declining over the past few decades while mixed martial arts and UFC has emerged as major players in the sports world.

“Maybe baseball diehards won’t want this adaption to our game and I understand that,” said Manfred. “But hopefully they’ll be content with the brawlers still wielding bats and wearing spikes, which is true to baseball’s roots but will also provide some entertaining kill shots in the new baseball. Sunglasses getting punched off, hats flying … no other combat sport offers this kind of stuff.”

Unlike professional boxing and UFC, base-brawling will have no rules.

“Base-brawling has rules, but they’re all unwritten,” said the commissioner. “The carnage will be extreme and the ratings will follow.”

Also see … MLB to increase pace-of-play by changing sport to outdoor hockey