Dear Baseball, We Love You Just As You Are
Welcome back! Seems like just yesterday we were culminating the amazing 2016 season with the epic World Series between the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians, the most epic of championship droughts dramatically ended in style, the Cubs coming back from 3-1 down in the series to not only take Game 7, but do so in extra innings, setting off celebrations in both Chicago and Oakland, the latter overjoyed the Warriors jokes would subside, at least for the time being.
You make your joyous return to us this week, as spring training camps all over Florida and Arizona will open up for business. Spring training, the proverbial lighting of the Advent wreath leading up the Christmas morning of Opening Day. Except in this case, Christmas lasts 162 games.
However, baseball, you're troubling us, lately. The issue can be categorized in three words...pace of play.
The minors are already beginning to be taken over by this infectious disease. Words like "pitch clocks" are being tossed and conceptualized. This new rule, this proposed monstrosity you have in mind this week, to do away with extra innings, or at least shorten them by placing a runner on second at the start of each one, is pure lunacy.
Basically, what I'm trying to say is....stop.
No, I won't deny that some games overstay their welcome. But with baseball, there's a completely unnecessary Catch-22. Football games last over three hours almost every time. The NFL's most important games, Sunday Night Football, don't get overwith until after midnight. Yet a baseball DARES go a minute past 2.5 hours, and everyone loses their minds.
The pace of play rules are made to cater to the fan who can't go five minutes without looking at his phone. Baseball should not stoop to that level. The beauty of the game is that is has no clock. So a game has the audacity to showcase strategy and defense...and you want to knock the game for that? A quarterback throwing 20 touchdown passes in the NFL is nothing anymore, and 100 point game by the 3rd quarter are now commonplace among NBA teams. Keep the strategy, the defense alive. If it means games last a little longer, so be it.
The classic axiom goes "If it ain't broke, don't fix it". And baseball doesn't need fixing. When you look at the four major sports, the MLB's postseason was the best one. The NBA's playoffs basically have the Final predetermined for them, and in the NFL, all but three of the games were uncompetitive blowouts. Baseball, however, featured classic moments long before the World Series began, including a wild (no pun intended) NL Wild Card Game between the Giants and Mets, and a wild six-game NLCS between the Cubs and Dodgers.
So, in conclusion, don't change baseball. This world is negative enough, as some of our most time honored traditions go by the wayside. Don't let extra inning thrills go the way of the past. Enjoy our pastime for what it is. Embrace the mound debates...the high pitch counts...embrace the game.
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