Baseball rules!

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Joe Posnanski has an article over at Esquire called Inside the Plan to Fix Baseball, which (as usual for him) is both smart and well-written.

His main point, which I totally agree with and think is the really important thing, is that people who dislike rule changes because they don’t want the game to change are out of luck, because the game has changed and is changing and will always change—the pitch clock rule, specifically, is designed to make the game more like it was before, rather than designed to change it.

On the other hand, I do think that he, and a lot of people, overestimate both the problem of game length and the effects of “solving” that problem.

I have read lot of “baseball games are too long” stories over the last decade or so, and I absolutely get the impression that sportswriters think that Young People can’t possibly be expected to watch a ballgame that lasts three house and ten minutes—but if a fifteen-year-old boy suspects that ballgames will last only two hours and fifty minutes that he will give up the Smashy-Smashy Brothers and become a baseball fan. I don’t even understand how a person could believe that. It makes no sense to me. At all.

Now, the point of the pitch clock, as far as I’m concerned, is not to make the games shorter but to make the games quicker. The games are, in fact, more enjoyable when the pitcher is getting the ball and throwing it in to the plate quickly. The rules have for years said should be the case, and the leagues have for years said that umpires were going to enforce those rules, and if it turns out that the way to do that is to have a pitch clock, then fine, have a pitch clock. I’m optimistic that within two months batter and pitchers will adjust to it, and when I watch a game, either in person or on television, or when I listen over the radio, I will barely be aware of the clock at all, but simply enjoy the increased tempo of the game. That’s been my experience of minor-league ball with a pitch-clock, anyway—well, at least that I’m barely aware of the clock at all. I can’t say that I have really noticed the game pace, but it’s minor-league ball and I don’t generally hang on every pitch anyway.

And I’ll read a bunch of articles about how the games are ten or fifteen minutes shorter, and that they are all much more exciting now, and I will roll my eyes so much.

Of course, it’s not like I have any ideas about how to fix the real problems, which are (a) Young Persons are too big and strong now, which means more strikeouts and home runs and fewer balls in play, and (2) I am much older than I used to be.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,

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