All right, here we go again. I try to stay off my soapbox as often as possible because it tends to raise my blood pressure, but then the powers that be start messing with the rules of baseball and it …
All right, here we go again. I try to stay off my soapbox as often as possible because it tends to raise my blood pressure, but then the powers that be start messing with the rules of baseball and it upsets me.
What’s wrong with a three hour baseball game? To me, baseball is still the National Pastime. And, for some reason, Major League Baseball has been trying to shorten the games for several years now.
Now, I agree somewhat, with a few of the things they are trying. But, in general, I feel that they should leave it alone. In life and especially in baseball, I always refer to the idea of, “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.” Baseball is the only game without a clock. I like that. As a baseball purist, I like things just the way they are when it comes to my favorite sport. And don’t even get me started on the designated hitter, but that’s an argument for another day.
For example, look how the rules committee have almost ruined the NFL. They have changed the rules so much in football in recent years they don’t even know when a wide receiver catches the ball or not. What is pass interference? I used to know, but now it’s anybody’s guess. New Orleans Saints fans can tell you all about pass interference, but that’s another story. And does anybody know how you tackle the quarterback without getting a flag?
Now, this is just my opinion (but it’s my column so I’ll tell it like I see it) and I understand the need to get the younger generations involved and keep their attention span. If you have gone to a Major League game or a Minor League game in recent years it doesn’t take long to see the efforts they go to to give the young folks something to do (a zip line in Atlanta of all things) besides watch the game. I sometimes feel like I am at the carnival instead of the ballpark.
I know some of you agree with me and some sit on the other side of the fence and feel it is essential to shorten the game. There is a lot of downtime in baseball. There are many ways to cut down on the downtime and not affect the game. That’s all I’m saying.
I am for enforcing the rules that are already in the books. Enforce the rule, that the batter has to stay in the box and not step out after each pitch to go through his routine of glove tightening and helmet adjusting, etc. I am for the pitcher delivering the pitch in a timely manner. Most pitchers do this without a clock counting down. But there are a few who are, “human rain delays.”
I do agree that there are too many trips to the mound and excessive pitching changes. But, that is just how the game has evolved over time. I feel that relief pitching is where the game times have gotten out of hand. Back in the day, the starter went much longer with very few relief pitchers. Now, in the age of specialization, it takes a lot of time and can be addressed in several subtle ways without drastic changes to the essence of the game.
One suggestion that would save time, make every relief pitcher warm up completely in the bullpen. When they come into the game, throw one or two pitches and play ball. This would save a lot of time. If both teams change pitchers three or four times each, that would save a couple of minutes each time. That would save between 10 to 15 minutes at the least. And, It would not affect the strategy or outcome of the game.
I like what they did last year as they limited trips to the mound to seven per game. I think they could lower that to four or five and it would not affect the game much at all. Catchers and pitchers should talk before the game and between innings about pitch selection and potential hitters coming up. It’s called preparation.
Ok, enough on that. Let’s have a little fun. What is your list of all time favorite baseball movies? Here’s mine. Bull Durham (Kevin Costner should have won an Oscar and the meeting on the mound is a classic) is far and away No. 1 on my list followed by Major League (the first one not the sequels, Bob Uecker was amazing, I still use his catch phrase, “Juuuuust a bit outside.”), A League of Their Own, Field of Dreams and The Sandlot round out my top five.
My next 5; 42, The Bad News Bears (again the original in 1976 with Walter Matthau), Eight Men Out, The Natural and The Rookie. And honorable mention, Cobb, The Babe, Moneyball, Summer Catch and Fever Pitch.
Thanks for reading and all the great feedback. Can’t wait to see your list.
Bryan Grisham is a correspondent for Banner Sports. Tell him what you think or send him your list at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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