I love baseball. Not just watching the St. Louis Cardinals. But playing baseball, watching little league games. Even practicing baseball. It’s a beautiful pure game that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and of any size or shape.
But the version of baseball that is currently being played by major leaguers is getting increasingly difficult to recognize as the sport I am so passionate about. Something has to be done to stop the attack America’s Game currently faces.
Baseball is supposed to be timeless and simple. But, suddenly it’s polluted with time clocks and non-sensical rules. Don’t get me started about instant replay, which is constantly interrupting the flow of games — and making fans upset far too often when the delay doesn’t result in providing any more clarity to the situation than the naked eye. They’re not there to make baseball better. They’re there to make baseball games be over faster. Only MLB owners could conclude that the only thing wrong with a game that has gotten so expensive it’s difficult for the average Joes who are its biggest fans to attend their stadium is that fans would prefer to get less entertainment for their money.
I hate to say it. But this stuff is making the game less appealing to me. I admit it, the counting of visits to the mound, clocks that measure how long the pitching coach can come out to offer a scouting report or talk strategy and even the fact that pitchers don’t actually have to throw the ball to deliver an intentional walk drive me batty. If the National League ever adopts the designated hitter, I think it’s all over for me.
It’s as if the current commissioner wants to take all of the human element out of the game.
Baseball doesn’t need all the gimmicks. What it needs are two things:
First, if the powers that be want games to go more quickly with less downtime, make the umpires call strikes. Then batters will swing the bat more often and there will be less standing around. The other day when Yadier Molina was involved in an argument with the manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks it was over a borderline pitch. In short, I had no problem with the call, whether it went for the Cardinals or against them. If the ball nips any part of the box from the bottom of the batter’s knees to his armpits and on both sides of the plate, the pitch should be called a strike.
Second, hold umpires accountable for making the right call in real time. No instant replay. Review the calls after the game and if the ump gets too many wrong, penalize him. It would eliminate all the time wasting not just when calls are actually reviewed — but when managers stall for time as they wait for their replay people to decide if they actually even want to ask for a challenge. I don’t care if they want to add two more umpires on the field to put more eyes on the situation. But stop messing up the game because the people who have done a job for 150 years suddenly realized that they couldn’t do it anymore.
I’d like nothing better than to have the commissioner make an announcement that all the things they’ve fooled around with over the past few years were an experiment — and a failed one at that. So, effective immediately they’re turning the clock back 10 years — because going back 50 to the time when American League pitchers hit for themselves is probably too much to ask.
Stopping messing with our game.