MLB is considering two rules changes:
*Raising the strike zone to the top of the hitter’s knees. That’s a reduction of about two inches.
*Eliminating the practice of lobbing four pitches wide to intentionally walk a hitter. The hitter would just be waved to first.
I like both ideas.
Last season, 30 percent of hitters either walked or struck out. That’s the highest rate of "non-action" in MLB history. The intent of a smaller strike zone is to put more balls in play, an admirable notion.
Having to literally "intentionally walk" a hitter is archaic. There aren’t many intentional walks – just 932 in the entire 2016 season – but any time gained is good. Baseball needs to fit into America’s shrinking attention span.
That’s the cue for baseball purists to talk about the unique nature of a game without a clock, and then beat tradition to death with Shoeless Joe Jackson’s Black Betsy.
If you want to wallow in baseball’s leisurely pace, count me out – unless I can sit in a real fancy seat away from the hoi polloi and partake in fine food and beverage, which I do.
MLB doesn’t need my approval: Attendance was down last season, but only by a meager 184 fans per game. Over 73.1 million paid to see MLB. Game 7 of the World Series was the most-watched televised baseball game in a quarter-century.
But what’s wrong with speeding up baseball’s pace?
The relief pitcher got loose in the bullpen. Ditch those eight warm-up pitches upon reaching the mound.
Unfastening and refastening batting gloves should be ejection for the first offense, suspension for the second, and the death penalty for the third.
I’m not asking anyone to spit on Babe Ruth’s grave. Just get rid of whatever wastes time while adding nothing to the game.