Thursday, January 22, 2009

Commish For A Day #5: Playing by the rules

I got a bunch of Commish For A Day suggestions that seem to hover around the general topic of "call things according to the rulebook". Since they were brief, I'll run 'em all here.

Leading off, the almighty ShysterBall, who STILL cannot get past rule 8.04:

I'd demand strict adherence to the rule 8.04, which requires that a pitcher throw the damn ball within 15 seconds of receiving it from the catcher, and I'd pair it with a mandate to the umps that batters not be granted time every single time they ask for it. Let's move the game along people.
Channeling his inner ShysterBall is old pal Carl, a Nationals ticket holder who has an affection for seeing as many ballparks as he can as well as an unnatural affection for John Kruk and for all mascots.

I've known the answer for this for quite some time. I would change or enforce rules to speed up the game. Can't leave the batters' box without a genuine need, can't wander around the mound between pitches. Get in there and hit. Get up there and pitch.

Whenever I hear someone say they don't like baseball, and I ask why, they almost always respond "It's boring! All they do is stand around." But MLB has been unable to address this core flaw in the game. It wasn't always like this, even in the post-season. I remember reading an editorial on this subject a while back (unfortunately, can't remember the writer) that said "The 1985 World Series was important too, but they still managed to play all seven games in under three hours."
Also wanting to chip in on the "playing by the rules" is Doug Beebe, who has no problem busting the umpiring union to smithereens, if necessary:

You list SO many good options, but I'm going to go off the board for a different change:

Call the game by the rules (necessarily, fire umpires who refuse).

Some impacts of this: no more "in the vicinity" at second base on double plays, failing to avoid being hit by (or actively leaning into) a pitch does not award first base, call the strike zone as published (and, if we don't like what's written, heck, change it).

This won't have the sweeping impact of some other things I would also do (cap & floor, team stadium funding, all-star doesn't determine home field, playoff start times), but it would make me a lot less frustrated when I watch games.

As you might recall, I posted a mini-rant/ramble on some rules changes to speed things up during the World Series 2008.

For previous CFAD entries:
  1. Commish For A Day #1: Territorial Rights
  2. Commish For A Day #2: Best-of-7-LDS
  3. Commish For A Day #3: The All Star Game, Neutral Sites
  4. Commish For A Day #4: Instant Replay

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