I’m no baseball purist.
I’m not going to try to convince you that Christy Mathewson was a better pitcher than Clayton Kershaw.
(I just like mentioning Christy Mathewson.)
I’m not going to try to convince you that Babe Ruth was the greatest ever. (He was. This is not up for debate. If you wish to disagree, I encourage you to set up a Babe Ruth Hater blog. Seriously. This blog is not for you.)
I’m not going to try to convince you that baseball was better in the “good old days.”
Because this, for one.
There are many innovations and changes over the years that have made baseball better. I’m all for ’em.
Putting facemasks on catchers? Good.
Infield fly rule? Kinda weird, but good.
Balk rule? To be honest, I don’t see the point, but I’m good with it. Sure. Balk it up!
Designated hitter? Very good. (Stop arguing, National League, just give in already. DH. Good.)
New 2017 rule mandating that four-pitch intentional walks will no longer include four pitches, but will simply require a simple “Oh waiter? Check please.” wave of the hand from the dugout? Are you kidding?
Baseball’s rule-makers promise us that this simple (stupid) new rule will speed things up. (It was also the only rule change baseball and the player’s union could agree on.)
Four-pitch intentional walks will no longer be an agonizing, endless, thankless ordeal that has ruined the game for countless would-be baseball fans who don’t have the time to spare for such frivolousness.
Time saved? 35 seconds per game. Baseball will be fun again!
I’m not going to waste my 35 seconds arguing about how stupid a rule this is.
Sure, the human attention span is now just eight seconds, which means, congratulations humans!, goldfish are now more thoughtful than we are.
Has no problem with a four-pitch intentional walk.
Anyway, sometimes weird things happen during intentional walks. Weird things that will never happen again, because we don’t have the attention span of a goldfish.
Earlier this week, in an extra-innings college game, an intentional-walk pitch soared over the catcher’s head, allowing the winning run to score.
And, here’s a very young Miguel Cabrera in a game against the Baltimore Orioles in 2006 …
“I’ve just never seen anybody walk anybody like that.” ~ Jim Palmer
Because you had to have a shorter game. You’re oh-so-busy with all the important stuff you have to do. You couldn’t sit there for a few seconds to let a four-pitch intentional walk accurately include four pitches. You had to have your stupid 35 seconds back.
Now, you do. I hope you’re happy.
But I can eat several goldfish in 35 seconds.
Multi-tasking! You can eat the goldfish while you watch the four-pitch intentional walk. It’s like getting 70 seconds for the price of 35!
It seems to me, and I am getting old so my memory might be a bit foggy, that Johnny Bench was once struck out on what he thought would be an intentional walk. The pitcher had gotten two strikes on his, but signaled that he wanted to go ahead and walk him, but struck him out instead. Do you remember anything like that, or did I dream it?
You didn’t dream it. Your memory is perfect … it happened in the 1972 World Series. The A’s Rollie Fingers faked an intentional walk and then struck Bench out. Here it is …
Thanks for yet another good example of intentional walk weirdness!
Another great one Jackie! Agree wholeheartedly, except of course the part about the DH. DH bad. DH very bad!
After Kyle Schwarber appeared as DH for the Cubs in the World Series last year, I think the Cleveland Indians would agree with you.
What a peculiar bone to pick! If we’re talking speeding up the game, may I suggest a 10-second rule for in between pitch “adjustments” for batters? I can think of a few hitters who take longer between pitches than I do to get dressed entirely in the morning! :-) Great post, as always, Jackie!
Thanks, Wendy! I’m with you … how peculiar. But, apparently, that was the only thing MLB and the player’s union could agree on during the off season, so I guess, rather than say they couldn’t agree on anything, they decided this was “something.” Even though it’s not. It’s just stupid.
I honestly can’t agree with you more. About both the DH (really, let’s get with the times. Every time Verlander is up to bat, I cringe…), and this new rule. Too much can happen when a pitcher throws the ball to the catcher, it’s that simple. Just think if Kelly Leak was just sent to first in the ‘Bad News Bears’, the ending of the movie would not have been all that suspenseful…
‘Bad News Bears’ and Kelly … I had totally forgotten about that moment at the end … they could have written that scene any one of a million different ways, but the IBB that becomes a hit is, I think, the perfect touch. Thanks, Mike! So glad baseball is finally here … and are your Louisville Cardinals ever going to lose? :)
It took them 13 to beat Eastern Michigan on Saturday, then another one run win on Sunday. They’ll have to get better against better competition coming up! Brian wants to hit a UK game next weekend if it doesn’t rain.
You’re my hero. You’ve put into words – so perfectly – what I couldn’t because I became apoplectic. Also, I’m rather partial to a Christy Mathewson picture :)
Just thought of you … I’m doing a baseball talk at a local museum this weekend … and, wouldn’t you know it, I found a way to slip in photos of two of my faves … Babe Ruth and Christy Mathewson. :)
Yes! If I were there I’d applaud you loudly and embarrassingly :)