Major League Baseball (MLB) announced today that it has reached a three-year agreement with the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB) that will permit MLB to test experimental playing rules and equipment during the Atlantic League’s Championship Season. In addition to rules governing the transfer of players from the Atlantic League to Major League Baseball, the new agreement includes rights for MLB to implement changes to Atlantic League playing rules in order to observe the effects of potential future rule changes and equipment. MLB will work with ALPB to modify the experimental playing rules and equipment each season during the agreement.
Wow! I didn’t know baseball was so messed up, that it needed to make major changes, to the way the game has been played for 150 years. One of the things discussed is moving the mound back. What’s next, a pitching machine? Hey, wait a minute, that could be great for saving arms. Like after 35 pitches you bring in the machine. I know in T-ball if the kid swings and misses twice at a pitched ball, they put it on the “T” so it can be hit. God forbid the little one strikes out and has to live with the trauma of whiffing on a pitch for the rest of his or her life.
The other idea to save our game is the much talked about implementation of “robo-umps,” The Post’s Ken Davidoff confirmed. “That would reportedly include using the Trackman computerized data tracking system to call balls and strikes, as well as to provide in-depth data for every pitch, an approach that would help figure out the best approach for the long-proposed robo-ump idea.” I have a suggestion, eliminate the fans. They make the players too nervous anyway. The games can be viewed on their phones or binge watched on Netflix.
To me, this need to revitalize the game by the powers that be, namely MLB commissioner Rob Manfred, stinks of the need to satisfy the millions of Fantasy Baseball enthusiasts who follow the game for anything from gambling to the thought that they are “Walter Mitty” GMs.” Make no mistake about this, it’s all about the money and not about the real fans. Remember that baseball and daily fantasy sports operator Draft Kings has a multi-year deal with Major League Baseball, which makes it MLB’s “Official Daily Fantasy Game.” Lots of people have lots of money riding on whether their player is out or safe or their pitcher gets a strikeout or walks a batter.
Making the game perfect will bring less excitement in the ballpark. Let me ask you a question, is it more exciting watching a game in your living room or in a stadium? At home you get to see replay after replay with slow motion, so you can see if a player was safe or out by a fraction of an inch. At the ballpark you get to argue or agree with another fan about what you saw. The mystery of what really happened is exciting, not the reality.
When I cover the Atlantic League games I see plays called by three umpires with no video replay equipment. The Umpire makes a call, the manager runs out and sometimes becomes animated in his disagreement of said call, the fans go wild with excitement as he kicks dirt and is either tossed or returns to the dugout. The game continues and everyone in the ballpark has their own opinion of what just happened. Not knowing exactly what really happened becomes the conversation on the ride home or the next day.
I guess I am a dinosaur when it comes to my love of the game. I understand the horse and buggy to the automobile thing but baseball to me is not something that needs to take us to the moon. It is the vehicle that takes us to a place in time when things were innocent and fun. The game is not perfect, it was not supposed to be perfect, just entertaining.