Good morning everyone! The biggest news to come out yesterday was that Major League Baseball will no longer require four balls to be thrown for an intentional walk. Instead, managers will simply signal to the umpires that the batter will be allowed to move to first.
While many may have issue with this rule as a fundamental aspect of the game — such as arguing that throwing those four balls are important — my argument is much simpler: stop trying to shorten the game.
Rob Manfred seems to be under the impression that people don’t like baseball because the game is too long. He’s partially right about the game being long, as a recent study estimated that an average game lasts just under three hours and contains only 18 minutes worth of “action.”
However, football — the “true American pastime” — is actually 10 minutes longer on average and contains half as much “action.”
The truth is this: people who don’t like baseball just don’t like it. Many might say the game is too long or boring. But small changes like a pitch clock or an automated intentional walk aren’t going to move the needle for anyone who already dislikes the sport.
The only way to dramatically shorten the game of baseball would be to fundamentally change the way the sport is played. The game will always be nine innings, will always include six outs per inning, and will always have a sizable amount of time between pitches. The game will never be fast. If it becomes fast, it will have become something that isn’t baseball.
So perhaps what Manfred really needs to do is to stop trying to pitch the game to non-baseball fans. He’s not pleasing anyone by making these changes. Stop trying to turn the game something it isn’t and instead focus on making the game better for those who already care deeply about the sport.
Alright. Rant over. Let’s see what else happened in the baseball world yesterday.
In Mariners news...
- Leonys Martin told the harrowing story of his journey to the United States from his home country of Cuba.
- Ariel Miranda will toe the rubber for the M’s in their Cactus League opener on Saturday.
- Jerry Dipoto stepped onto High Heat to discuss the state of the team.
- Mitch Haniger will be answering fan questions on Reddit tomorrow.
- The M’s had some special visitors in camp yesterday.
Mariners manager Scott Servais talking to the Oregon State baseball team. pic.twitter.com/dSWDDXYssh— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) February 21, 2017
- As always, here’s some fresh video from Mariners spring training.
Haniger stings the baseball. pic.twitter.com/pvE1Y9w6zf— Shannon Drayer (@shannondrayer) February 21, 2017
Around the league...
- Our good friend Patrick Dubuque thinks it’s incredible that Justin Smoak has had as successful a baseball career as he has.
- Ichiro had to visit the trainer’s room for the first time in his career yesterday. Considering the dude is 43, that’s unbelievable.
- Matt Wieters has finally found a landing place. The catcher will suit up for the Washington Nationals next season.
- Eno Sarris at Fangraphs gives 10 hot takes for the upcoming baseball season.
- Eric Hosmer is now going against reports by saying that he never claimed to be seeking a 10-year deal.
- A handful of MLB umpires have announced their retirement.