Wonder which rugby coach, in a bid to be the first to take advantage of the tougher tackle laws, will do a Bill Veeck?
A Bill Who?
Just the wiliest of sporting innovators, who would do anything to lure a crowd while conjuring up brilliant left-field ideas to solve a problem with the baseball teams that he owned.
This chain-smoking maverick's motto was: "I try not to break the rules, but merely test their elasticity."
Memories of Veeck were revived this week by predictions that a strict 'zero tolerance' of reckless and accidental high tackles, which has prompted a spate of red and yellow cards in the Aviva Premiership, would lead to the game being contested by smaller players.
With World Rugby "lowering the acceptable height of the tackle", it will become more difficult for the team's tall timbers to legally tackle the tiny brigade. Those players boasting a scrum-half physique will become even more important assets because of a shrinking tackle area.
One slight duck of the head, a desperate grab by a bent-over second-rower who finds it humanly impossible to contort himself any further, and voila -- a whistle-happy referee, who now has more reasons to remind everyone of his presence, is sending the forward to the sideline for a dangerous tackle.
A coach could go the whole hog and select the smallest player he can find, knowing the player would be near impossible to correctly tackle, with the high possibility of the tackler being carded, even when contact is made below the line of the shoulders.
Or a coach -- who for good reason will publicly push the importance of player safety but is mindful also of the rich benefits that come when the opposition is either penalised or has a tribe in the sin-bin or having an early shower -- - could be as extreme as Veeck was back in 1951.
Veeck, then the owner of the hapless St Louis Browns Major League Baseball team, came up with a solution to overcome the strike zone and his team's problem that it lacked a lead-off batter who could get on base with any regularity.
Veeck, after someone whose strike zone was so small that no pitcher could find it, tracked down via a theatrical agency a showman named Eddie Gaedel, who had appeared in circuses and rodeos. Gaedel was only three foot seven inches (109cm) tall.
During a double-header against the Detroit Tigers, Veeck had Gaedel, dressed in a miniature Browns uniform wearing 'elf shoes' with curled toes, pop up out of a giant papier-mache cake and present himself to the team manager as the "new Brownie".
Waving a toy bat over his shoulder, Gaedel stepped up to the plate. He crouched as low as he could, which made the strike zone only about one and a half inches wide.
Pitcher Bob Cain, scared of hitting Gaedel and realising there was no way the batter could be struck out, walked him, lobbing the four pitches. Gaedel merrily sprinted to first base, bowing twice to a cheering crowd.
Shortly after, Gaedel was changed in his street clothes, directed to the press box, where he boasted: "I felt like Babe Ruth out there."
It was a one-off, as the American League immediately voided Gaedel's contract and banned such antics.
But Veeck, who to suck in a crowd used clowns as base coaches, provided free beer, even free breakfast cereal, ran raffles for bags of live eels and homing pigeons, and conducted pig races as well as having tightrope walkers, boogie-woogie bands and exploding scoreboards as ground entertainment, got what he wanted: National publicity for his club's beer sponsor as photographs of Gaedel at bat, with the figure 1/8 on his back, were run in newspapers across the United States.
So, imagine if there were a rugby version of Eddie Gaedel. If he had the pace, he could become a try-scoring machine because everyone in the defensive line who couldn't get on their hands and knees quick enough would be too scared to tackle him for fear of suddenly becoming a spectator. With the head and shoulders a 'no-go zone', 'Eddie' would also cause havoc at the breakdown.
Also, imagine if there were a rugby version of Bill Veeck. He would certainly enliven a code that desperately needs a bit of a jolt - at least in Australia. And some of his promotions would work. Such as that conjured up by Veeck four days after the Gaedel stunt.
Fans arrived at the stadium to discover it was "Grandstand Manager's Day".
They were handed placards marked YES and NO that told team manager Zack Taylor whether the Browns should steal a base, bunt or change pitchers, even who should be in the starting line-up. As the team was managed by fans, Taylor took the field in civilian clothes and bedroom slippers, smoking a pipe. He sat in a rocking chair near the dugout, reading a newspaper, while waiting for the next direction from the stands.
The Browns won 3-2.
Imagine something similar on Wallabies Test day. You couldn't print enough tickets. Michael Cheika in a rocking chair, responding to the fans. Pure gold. A win for the masses.
Any interest cash-strapped ARU?