Times Are A Changin'

Friday, February 17, 2017

Throughout the offseason there has been more focus from the commissioner and great baseball minds in the industry to improve the pace of play. Many ideas have been kicked around since 2015. Some implemented. We had the instant replay that a manager can enact at any point during a game to have an umpire’s call overturned. We have also seen the minor leagues adopt the idea of a pitch clock where 20 seconds resets after every play.

There are some new ideas being kicked around that I don’t think would be too terrible, all the while believe some of these ideas being entertained are downright disrespectful to the game and it’s lineage and the fans who don’t just go to the ballparks for cracker jacks.

  1. There is more an more support for the pitch clock to be implemented into the majors and along with that support I am right there with it. I attended a Louisville Bats AAA game during the 2016 season (To which I seen Reds top pitching prospect Amir Garrett get rocked for ⅔ of the 1st inning before being pulled) and I witnessed the pitch clock at work and it did seem to keep the flow consistent. The pitcher never seemed too rushed. I think this is also good to keep batters locked in as well. They’re not allowed to step outside of the box now so no more walking 10 feet away to tug on your shirt and tighten your gloves anymore they they need to be. Pitching clock is a good move if you asked me.

  1. My favorite idea that I am a huge supporter of more than any of the other ideas. And that is to make relief pitchers face at least 3 batters per appearance. I love this. We are currently in an era of dominant pitching and only have a handful of premiere hitters. Of course the other side of that coin is pitchers are constantly at the mercy of hearing the 3 words no pitcher wants to hear. Tommy. John. Surgery. Now before anyone yells at me, I do understand the purpose of having a left handed specialist to come in and get that right handed clean-up hitter out. I understand matching up a pitcher against a batter who he traditionally has done well against as well. Typically with this influx of great pitching in bullpens there aren’t many lead changes in games. This causes fans to leave the park in the 7th, 8th, innings because the game is over to most people. That doesn’t help the ballparks bottom line when it comes to money I’m sure. When people aren’t in the ballpark they aren’t spending money. And let’s be honest, offense is the best part of the game! Nothing like an 8th inning 2 run bomb into the 10th row of right field to take the lead. If that doesn’t get the crowd amped up then they’re probably sleeping through the excitement around them. We currently are in the stalemate of relievers getting starting pitching salaries to work 35-60 innings a year maybe?  Poppycock I say, good day sir! Let’s see the relief pitchers earn their money and face more than one batter.
  1. Eliminate the DH. So the American has the DH and this has been a constant debate for as long as I can remember now. This is always going to be debatable and it depends on who you ask. Why is it not exciting to watch pitchers hit? Well because they are so focused on their craft that they don’t spend as much time learning about the other team’s pitcher. Why could it be exciting for a pitcher to hit? I think that it’s super exciting when a pitcher gets a hit because it’s a pleasant surprise every time. I watched Mike Leake simply rake in Cincinnati for a number of years. You have Madison Bumgarner who is simply notorious at the plate. And my absolute favorite is Michael Lorenzen. In 2016 this guy is making an extended relief appearance and ends up going to bat for himself just days after losing his father. He sends a pitch into the seats for a 3 run homerun. It was the most emotional moment for me as fan of baseball and the Reds in 2016. A pitcher did that. Granted he played Center field in college and is incredibly muscular and well conditioned, it is still impressive. So I guess what I am saying it I have no dog in this race. If you take away the DH there will be defensive lacking great hitters out of jobs, but if you keep it that keeps the AL pitchers on the mound. I simply can’t pick a side.

Lorenzen hitting a 3 run bomb and giving it up to his late father.
  1. Another idea that makes no sense to me. Limiting how many times a pitcher can throw over to first when a runner is on. What. The. F#!@? This will have statistical trickle downs effects when it comes to inflated numbers for baserunners. I mean I get it when Pablo Sandoval is on 1st base he might lead off and you chase him back. Nobody expects him to steal. But what happens when you’re a pitcher with 2 outs facing George Springer in the bottom of the 9th and the Astros are tied and who else is on 1st but Jose Altuve. Are you telling me that the guy trying to disrupt the flow of the game and spark a winning run is on and the pitcher with all the pressure can only chase him back 2 times? I need someone to give me a few reasons why this makes sense. Does it help improve pace of the game? Sure. But let’s respect the game and what it means to us all. If pitchers cannot throw over more than twice then perhaps the base-runners shouldn’t be allowed to lead off when they steal then. I say this needs to just be left alone.

Dee Gordon, taking 2nd because the pitcher already threw over twice (not really)

I believe change is inevitable as proven throughout time but at some point we have to leave well enough alone and respect the game.

I’d love to hear what other people think about this.  


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