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:
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.