Baseball too slow? The pace of the game of baseball is in question. In this age of technology that allows you to have everything at your fingertips with your smart phone – it seems that there isn’t enough hours in the day. Everyone is in the market for the next best product – whatever can make your life easier. Faster is considered better to the consumer and producer. This same issue has come up in baseball. Newly elected commissioner, Rob Manfred has already hit the ground running on looking into way to improve the game. One of the first issues brought to him was the pace of the game.
Some of the ideas that have been reportedly discussed have been putting the pitcher on a time limit in between pitches, less time in between innings, limiting the time of the batter in the box and the amount of times a hitter can step out of the box. The idea of timing the pitcher is a tough one. While I agree some pitchers take far too much time on the mound, it is a part of a strategy to throw off the hitters timing.
I do agree with hitters leaving the box too much. When Nomar Garciaparra was playing , he had his superstitious quirks of constantly fixing the straps on his gloves. It was more annoying than the problem of being slow. One solution – forcing the hitter to stay in the box – if they walk out of the box completely, it’s a strike. I know some high schools have used that rule and it worked. There is no need to walk away down the line and back to the batter’s circle.
One fix that needs to be made for more than one reason is cutting down on the swing and misses. I’m not saying its time to shrink the strike zone or tighten the seams on the ball – I’m saying hitters need to put the ball in play more. Guys like Tony Gwynn, Mark Grace, Wade Boggs, put the ball in play and that created action. If you have action in the field – it will make the game seem to move faster to the viewers.
Another fix would be to really enforce the time and the amount of times that there can be meetings at the mound. The managers have a limit, but the limit to the catcher going out could happen and that wouldn’t affect much of the play of the game but would increase the pace of the game.
Oct. 14, 2014; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; Detailed view of the pitch clock being tested as Houston Astros pitcher Mark Appel throws during an Arizona Fall League game between the Surprise Saguaros against the Salt River Rafters at Salt River Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
This isn’t a new issue for baseball. I can remember in the mid 1990’s, this same issue was being discussed. I also remember a great commercial that was aired on WGN Chicago that ran during Chicago Cub games. There was a guy talking about how people would complain about the game taking too long. The guy replied with a comment of, “People keep saying baseball is too slow, maybe everything else is just too fast.” I heard that and I thought it was a perfect reply to the complaint.
The time of the game is long, I will agree with that. But professional baseball is a form of entertainment, so if it’s entertainment why time it? Do you complain when you watch a good movie – one that you want to see and it runs for over two hours or more? No, you enjoy it – in most cases you’re upset to see it end.
If you’re sitting down after a long day at work or at home and you’re looking for an outlet to just forget about the problems around you and you turn on the television and watch your favorite team for two and a half hours. If makes you forget about what was bothering you – how is that a bad thing? That is the point of entertainment.
I think that too many people just want change for the sake of change. I say that no change is a good thing – if it’s not broken than don’t fix it. Baseball is fine, let it be and enjoy the game.