Saturday, February 25, 2017



Now MLB has decided, in the interests of speeding up the game, that they are changing the intentional walk. Rather than throw four balls, the manager will signal from the dugout, and the batter will trot on down to first base. No pitches required.

This is yet another assault on the venerable game with no thought given to how the game is being diminished with all these new rules designed to counter the very nature of the game. Without the need to pitch four balls, the pitcher is given a reprieve to his tired and inaccurate arm. There will be no chance for a wild pitch, no chance for a ball to come too close to the plate and be hit by the batter, an occurrence I saw happen just last season. There will be no chance for any mayhem on the basepaths by the opposing team, should they wish to further rattle a pitcher already in trouble.

Like all of the unadvised rules changes being put into force recently, the goal is to make the game faster, for the sake of new fans with no connection to the game, its history or its charms. The problem is that it hurts existing fans, and changes the game into something very different from the old familiar pastime. We see this during playoff and World Series games, when casual fans or non-fans are watching, and rather than focusing on the game, the cameras inevitably focus on the faces of the managers or bench players looking for "reaction shots"  that may play well on the tube. For a baseball fan, these telecasts are always the worst.

There is really no hope for changing these new and unnecessary rules. The powers that be have no faith in their own sport and will continue to willingly morph the game into something soon to be unrecognizable.

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