Baseball Isn’t Broken. Stop Trying To Break It

Pitching clocks, free advancements to first base, and starting off innings with runners on second base are examples of MLB stupidly trying to fix what isn’t broken in baseball.

Love it or hate it, Rob Manfred, the Commissioner of Baseball, is determined to speed up the pace of the game. The man is on a mission, so baseball fans are going to have to accept changes in the game to speed things up, but we sure don’t have to quietly accept ridiculous – and blasphemous – changes that will unquestionably alter the game, and not simply speed things up.

For the past two seasons baseball’s minor leagues have used a 20-second pitching clock, and Manfred is pleased with the results.

“The reason I like the clock is not that I’m looking to force somebody to do something, but I think it is a constant reminder of the need to move things along, and I think that’s really important in terms of dealing with the pace-of-play issues. “It’s had great results in the minor leagues. Quantitative data shows that it made the games go faster, but equally important, players don’t complain about it. They get used to it and they work within it.”  – Rob Manfred

Pitching clocks look like they’re here to stay, and now Manfred is eyeing a couple of new changes. Where a pitch clock was a quaint reminder, these new ones are hand grenades.

First up is a proposal to eliminate the intentional walk. That’s right, they want to do away with “four wide ones” and just grant first base to the batter. Why waste 45 seconds tossing four balls to home plate? Why not just have everyone agree and allow the runner to happily trot to first?

I submit Exhibit A:

 

Exhibit B:

 

And Exhibit C:

 

Commissioner Manfred, please explain to me – explain to all of us – how eliminating the strategy, AND FUN, in these plays is going to make the game of baseball better?

If they don’t listen to me and eliminate the intentional walk, perhaps they’ll listen to this suggestion for adding a level of entertainment to the situation. You know, for all those folks who can’t accept time-honored strategic parts of the game. When the batter is awarded first base, have the pitcher remove his cap and curtsy while the batter struts, dances, or pimp-walks his way to the bag accompanied by his pre-selected intentional walk music.

And now, for the really ridiculous, nuclear option that Manfred is considering for extra inning games. Each half-inning will begin with a runner on second base. ON SECOND! Let that sink in.

They’ll be experimenting with that one in the minors this year. This will supposedly eliminate those 15, 16, 17 inning games that run through every pitcher and end up with Wade Boggs throwing knuckleballs. Listen Manfred, having Boggsy or A.J. Ellis take the mound is our payoff after sitting through those 16 innings.

While we’re on the subject, do you know how many times a position player came in to pitch in extra-inning games in 2016? Once. Sorry, Joe Torre, I don’t see a big problem here.

Having a runner standing behind a pitcher before he’s thrown his first pitch is not an improvement to the game. It cheapens it.

Why stop there? Why not make every pitch that’s not a strike an automatic base for the batter? Make the umpire’s ball bag large enough to hold 75 baseballs. Then we won’t have to wait for the ballboy to trot out new balls a few times a night. That’ll speed things up.

Enough with the stupid suggestions that change the game’s fundamentals. We understand you want to speed the game up, but give us some common sense. How about counting every visit to the mound, by player or coach, as an official visit? Find a way to cut out those trips to the mound that are stalling tactics so the pitcher in the bullpen can warm up longer.

And for pete’s sake, assign an MLB instant replay official at every home stadium so the umps don’t have to make those time-consuming phone calls to New York for an instant replay ruling.

 

Oscar Martinez

Oscar Martinez

I was born in the shadow of Dodger Stadium and immediately drenched in Dodger Blue. Chavez Ravine is my baseball cathedral, Vin Scully was the golden voice of summer all my life, and Tommy Lasorda remains the greatest Dodgers manager ever. My favorite things are coffee, beer, and the Dodgers beating the Giants. I also blog about my baseball card hobby at All Trade Bait, All the Time.

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25 thoughts on “Baseball Isn’t Broken. Stop Trying To Break It

  1. Baseball doesn’t want to be sped up. I’ve said for years to limit time between innings by getting them in and out more quickly. 5 pitches warmup (or even fewer) and batter up. That would work in the minors and below but not in MLB. Why? TV commercials. They are not in a hurry between innings because that time is money.

    The runner at second I find interesting. Maybe after the 11th you try it. But I doubt anything like that happens. Not in baseball. Agree about an ump upstairs.

    The pace of the game could be sped up during play with a Baez rule – a 20 second clock. Put in on the scoreboard where everyone can see it.

  2. I agree that they should not attempt to fix what is not broken. They want to save time? Tell the umpires to quit being so argumentative. Make pitchers like Baez throw the damn ball. Putting a runner on 2nd? What are they trying to become? Football? Yeah during OT lets put the ball on the 25 of the defending team and see what happens. Baseball has thrived for over 100 years because fans like the game the way it is….leave it alone.

  3. Wouldn’t putting runners on base make the game longer?

    So what has been the cause of longer games? Beer commercials or a mechanized bullpen, or something else?

  4. Want to speed up extra inning games; flip a coin. Call heads, comes up heads you win. Call tails you lose. No more long drawn out games and the fans can argue for days, why does so and so always call heads or tails and loses. We can also have a new position; the flipper and sabermatric fans can go crazy analyzing the correct call to make.

  5. Eliminate those 15, 16, 17 inning games? When I was a kid we ALWAYS hoped the games would go extra innings. My kids are the same. We went to Oakland Coliseum to see the A’s play the Dodgers when the kids were young, we had lousy seats back by the right field foul pole, game went 17 innings, most fans left after about ten innings, we did the same thing I did as a kid, moved to the best seats in the house for the last seven innings, kids still remember that game. Me too, Dodger pitcher walked in winning run in the seventeenth.

    1. Boxout, I’m reading a Viet Nam War Book, probably the best I’ve read about that big mistake. The 13th Valley by John Del Vecchio. The main character is a newly arrived kid whose brother went to Canada. Reminded me of your situation, hope that’s not offensive…

          1. Jonah

            I thought most men like adventures, not just adventure stories.

            I think most people, love adventures actually.

            But I find most guys who went to Nam, doesn’t like to talk about it, unless it is with another guy, that went there, too.

            But what do I know, who does that sound like?

      1. jonah, not offensive at all, I think it was another poster who’s brother went to Canada. My brother, who somehow avoided the draft right in LA, and I are cool.

        Never bothered me that many avoided the draft, many kids I knew were either drafted or enlisted, but, many also were very much against the war. My best friend, who used to be my brother’s best friend, tried talking me out of enlisting by telling how he avoided the draft (he’s 2 1/2 years older than me). He went to LA induction center, marked “yes” to every illness, when that didn’t work said he told them he was homosexual, and during interview, told the doctor how he especially loved sucking big d__ks. That worked! He thought fighting in the war was only for suckers!

        We became best friends after I got out of service, we both liked playing guitars to help seduce girls. In our early twenties he used to think he had been pretty smart in his draft avoidance methods. After just a few years, he changed his tune and denies doing that. It only comes up now when I feel I must use the nuclear option on him when he pisses me off.

  6. I think eliminating the intential walk, is not even worth the effort.

    How often does a hitter, get intentially walked, not very often.

    So that isn’t going to speed the game up.

    All of these things that they want to change, takes away from baseball, and its differences, from other sports.

    Baseball is the only sport that is not on a timer.

    And that is something that should never change.

    They are worried about the pace because they think young people don’t have the patience, to watch a three and a half hour game.

    Young people are always on there phones, and they can watch baseball, at the same time, they are on there phones.

    If they really wanted to speed the game up, they would just make a relief pitcher, have to pitch to more then one hitter, but they are not going to do that, because that would eliminate leftie specialists.

    And the union won’t allow that either.

  7. Just read the Dodgers signed Utley and Gutierrez. My question is why? Why do we need another second baseman. Another outfielder!!! Utley makes a little more sense if you think he can sub at second, first and third. Maybe they think they can trade some of the outfielders. These signings make no sense to me. We need to move on and give our farm kids a try.

    1. Potential Trade brewing Al?

      Love Utley & what he brings on a daily basis, and you know what? another player who wants to be here. I’m sure he could have gone elsewhere, but he wants another ring.

      This group of players is as good as any I can remember.

      Guitierrez I imagine, will be used against Lefties as his numbers are good. Platoon.
      Since last year we have added him, Ruf & Forsythe who should help to improve our numbers against LH pitching.

      One thing for certain is that there will be few everyday players, we will be platooning everywhere.

      We cannot possibly fit them all on the roster so Will have a great team at OKC., but surely we will unload a few by trade.

      1. So more young guys are going to be traded? Or the over hyped players?

        You really don’t think anyone would trade a bag of balls for these 2 when they could have just signed them IF they had wanted them….of which no one did.

    2. Idahoal

      I understand where you are coming from, because look what happened, when they signed Howie at the last minute, last year.

      Roberts had to find a way to get him into the line up.

      I assume that you saw the spring training schedule, so I didn’t bring that up on my last post.

      As you know, they are only going to feature 17 games.

  8. A lot of older moving parts on this team. We’ll need every one of them. They might have to design a special scorebook to sell at Dodger Stadium.

  9. I like Chase, and I am sure he was told, he would only be a utility guy, so I don’t have a problem with Chase, because he won’t pull a Howie.

    Wouldn’t Ethier be our only leftie on the bench, if he doesn’t start?

    Maybe that is why they signed Chase, among other reasons.

    Because everyone else, I presume will be on the bench, are righties hitters.

    I don’t see Ruf on the major league roster.

  10. Amen, Oscar. You know what’s too long? The playoffs! Lose the second wild card.

    Someone over at DD said the weeks before spring training for AF are like the week after Halloween when candy is 50% off for the rest of us.

  11. I like baseball how it is! I don’t think that three hours is too long, and I enjoy extra inning games. I think that the pace of the game is just fine how it is!

  12. Oscar, you are so very right. Until they face one simple truth. Tightly pitched games are actually shorter than high scoring games. All the silly shortcuts won’t change that. But the ignorant fan they are trying to attract and won’t stay with the game anyway is more excited about the high scoring affair than watching the best of the best pitchers duke it out inning after inning. What does Manfred actually know about baseball anyway? He’s an attorney!

  13. The commissioner is there for one reason – to keep the cash flowing. Baseball revenues have been on a upward swing for a long time. They work for the owners, all billionaires now, and their job involves tv contracts, labor relations, handling Congress, PR, criminal law, and to a degree player health.

    I don’t believe anyone, from the fan to the owners to the Commissioner’s office really believes games are too long. Players might, but nobody cares what they think. They are a union of millionaires who can retire by age 30 and take the rest of their lives off living as only the 99% can dream of living. I suspect many of these “game changing” ideas are floated to gather information on what the fans, we baseball junkies, reactions will be. Every game is televised, so unless the audience is demonstrably diminished after 3 hours then there will be no changes in length of games. I don’t know the facts on numbers, but I think as long as people are sitting in the stadium vendors are making money and as long as fans at home keep watching, I think most do, money is being made. Always, ALWAYS follow the money.

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