Why? Is it just because of the end of the "Steroid Era"? No it really isn't. It is the pace of the game? While I will agree baseball is meant to be a slow methodical game, some people abuse that and take it to another level ala Nomar GarciaParra every time he took an at bat, stepping out of the box, adjusting his batting gloves and on and on. EVERY PITCH HE DID THIS!
So I BEFORE they announced they were actually going to do something about it, I came up with some ideas on my own to speed up the game a bit without hurting the integrity of it. While keeping it fair to guys that have such long habits you can't just expect them to break it, for example a pitcher with a long delivery all his career. You don't want to make those players have to change their routine. I'm going to give you a few of my ideas. Things I wanted implememented. Now they have made some changes but I'm not impressed and we will run thru those too. Your feedback on my ideas would be greatly appreciated. I consider myself a bit of a baseball purist so I don't want to be changing the actual rules or gameplay much at all, HOWEVER I am not one of these stubborn ass 80 year old MLB writers who can't recognize less and less kids are playing baseball and that is a huge problem!
The biggest problem In my opinion that slows down the game and actually destroys the integrity of the game is the inconsistent strike zones! How can different umpires have a different strike zone? How is that not completely ridiculous? So many pitches that would either be called strikes or balls that would have been put in play at least, speeding up the at bat and pace of the game are just being looked at by batters for balls. It's infuriating! Whatever happened to the knees to the letters?? No I don't want electronic lasers, Questec, and all that but if they can't get their act together soon maybe I'll reconsider. Is it that hard to at least AGREE on what the hell a strike is? They dont even have the same strike zone in their mind before the ball is thrown! It is not just that they are blowing a few calls! They can't even agree what a strike is. How is that not the most clearly defined rule in the game?
It seems, unfortunately this issue was somehow NOT addressed this year. It's a shame because it plagues the game. It is not just slowing it down, it makes people question baseball's credibility when an umpire can call the same pitch a ball one night and a strike another.
They addressed the length of commercial breaks and set specific parameters as to when the last warm up pitchers are thrown and things like that and that is all good and dandy but c'mon MLB. They actuallly set rules for when the batter's walk up music starts and when it stops but they don't address strike zone inconsistencies?? What a joke!!
Now another thing they talked about was to ban extreme defensive shifts! Excuse me? That didn't go thru but can I comment on that? While yes that takes time, is that not neccessary? How are you going to tell a coach he can't put his defenders where the guy is most likely to hit the ball? Sometime's I wonder if these people EVER PLAYED THE GAME!!! You can't ban that! How about limiting the amount of timeouts during an inning? Maybe the manager can't stop play after using his time out(s) already so the team captain on the field has to direct people, and move them into position before the very liberal pitch clock expires. A pitch clock of like 30 seconds.
I like a pitch clock so people don't stall so long. Ever watch a September or October Yankees - Red Sox Game? However the time needs to be very high simply cuz some guys do take a long time to honestly go through their motions and delivery. It isn't fair to expect them to change their motions after all these years. This isn't meant to punish them. This isn't meant to screw with the integrity of the game( I hate using that term now! Thanks Roger Goddel) . That being said you also have to remember teams wih deep
My other idea which they did an unsatisfactory variable of, has to do with batters in the box, stepping out, time outs, etc. In my opinion you should get one time out per at bat. Unless you got a serious brush back pitch or something you only get the ONE time out. If you step out without being granted timeout then the pitch should be an automatic strike. INSTEAD they said a batter has to have one foot in the box at all times! HUH??? So what does that even mean? What happens while you have one foot in and I fire a strike? NOTHING!??!! Talk about a grey area! Here is what we know though and it is a joke. You get warned. Serious repeat offenders, they are fined. For how much??...??...... Ready for it???...... $500. To MLB Hitters. Ya that will work. What a freakin' joke!
Other changes are minor, like managers staying in the dugout during instant replays reviews. Nothing worth writing home about there, virtually meaningless, but what do you think about them NOT addressing inconsistent strike zones, yet knowing exactly at 40 seconds we will start the batter's theme song and at 25 seconds it will end? Really getting their priorities straight, hey?
C'mon MLB you have a great game. My personal favorite ever to be a fan of. Nothing was like growing up a boy learning the stats of all your favorite players. You let stubborness and ego ruin your game's management and even your Hall Of Fame even though your two enteties are NOT at all affiliated. I guess I can't compare you to the NFL and their "dropping the ball" with all the public relations nightmares this year but overall, in all recent memory as far as keeping the interest in your game you have dropped the ball. Only ONE MILLION people watched The World Series last year! Yes I recognize the difference in numbers due to all the other options out there but that is still awful.. Enough with the stubborness. Let's make the changes we need. The ones I have suggested help speed up the game and don't screw with the integrity at all I feel.
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Brian S Staveley Bitter Rivals Sports
* After Writing this, a good four or five days after David Ortiz found out about the rule to keep the batters in the box and the 500 dollar fine to go along with it and he started with one F Bomb and then swore two more times and basically told the MLB F U! Here Is The Transcript Of That.