Coppola: Who’s On First? Change…

The other day in the camp of the NY Yankees, Didi Gregorius and Starlin Castro put on a home run display that had the no admission crowd (estimated at 673), on it’s feet cheering. They loved it. Maybe during the regular season, batting practice should go on for an hour mixed in with a few lucky fans who won the daily call-in contest on the team owned radio station.
Then follow that with a six inning game. Pitchers can only go six innings tops now anyway. I understand why baseball wants to change, as they try to please the next generation of fans, so anything is possible. Example, the no pitch intentional walk that we will see this year. Want to put a batter on first? Just tell the umpire and he will point to first. 
There were 932 intentional walks in the 2016 season, over 2430 games or ‘ONE’ every 2.6 games.
I guess shaving 20 seconds from a game will keep the texting fools at the game happy. Lost now, will be the unusual things that sometimes happen when a pitcher gets too close to the plate and an alert batter hits what was supposed to be a ball outside.
Or the occasional wild pitch or passed ball. I will always remember Johnny Bench, with his bat on his shoulder waiting for ball four of an intentional walk only to see Gene Tenace of the Oakland A’s jump back behind the plate as Bench took strike three in the 1972 World Series.
But that was when baseball fans were different. The new generation of fans will never have a moment like that etched in their memories. Fifty years from now the conversations around the cyconometer quick drink cooler at the Mars shuttle station will be, “Hey Klaus, did you see the menu they have at the new Mets ballpark?”
They are serving pigs in a blanket with beer shots now. Those old style big hotdogs took too long to eat. And you know how long it takes to finish those tall beers before the end of these six inning games. Will the 2-1 count replace the 3-2 count for drama? “Strike 2 Yer Out” or “Ball 3 take yer base.’
How about a 10- inch limit on the bat length. A six- foot mound and change the ball to the size of a golf ball. That should speed things up. Ok, Ok , I better stop before someone from MLB reads this and brings it into future discussions with the owners.
The new fan wants things to go faster. As preposterous as some of these things sound, it’s only a matter of time before we see weird changes. I recently talked about this need for speed obsession by the MLB and see where it now includes the need to speed up change. This new ”speed-up rule” no pitch intentional walk, was forced down the throat of the players union and will not speed up the game but it will speed up change. 
Yes the game is changing, but it’s basic concept will never change and we will just have to learn to get used to these odd things.  As long as they are minor adjustments, the game will remain the same. My guess is that as long as it doesn’t interfere with TV commercials, anything goes. 
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