Baseball at the Crossroads: To Be or Not To Be

MLB to experiment with starting runner on 2nd in extra innings

Proposal to speed up play would be used in spring training, All-Star Game

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has long vowed to make changes for this season with or without an agreement with the Players’ Union. (Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press)


Please read the referenced above article and give it some thought – some deep thought.

1) Is the proposed free second base runner rule to start extra innings (10th or 11th) in spring training and this year’s All Star Game really a simple way to shorten games of no great consequence and something that will only be used as a protection step against pointless player injuries? Or is it a Trojan horse attempt by the Commissioner to get the practice into the “no-big-deal” phase on its way to becoming serious damage to  baseball’s “earned opportunity” idea about how games should be won?

2) Do we really want to try to convert baseball into a game that is controlled by the clock? And if we were to “succeed” in knocking off a half hour average for each MLB game, would it still be baseball – and I mean the kind of baseball that most of us grew up playing and watching?

3) Is the problem that baseball games are too long? Or is it the fact that 21st century high-tech cultural attention spans are too short to even appreciate the chess-game mental aspects of the game? Or maybe its just a combination of both, plus the fact that games start late, mainly for the sake of maximizing the television commercial audience that is watching. If MLB played more day games during the week – or if they began more weeknight games at 6:00 PM, than 7:15 PM, people who want to get home earlier could find more games that do make that possible. – Newer fans would still need to learn and have to dig the idea that baseball is not a TV network sitcom. It lives the life that most of us wish for – one that is not controlled by the clock. – And in return for that kind of understanding, baseball will always rare up at its own special moment – and in its own way – and give us contests like Games 2 and 5 of the 2017 World Series as our reward for patience and appreciation of the game’s timeless beauty.

4) Look! At my age, I really do get it that the forces causing change are far larger then any of us alone. In the end, right or wrong, all of us little people can do is either make the decision to speak up – or shut up.

So far, I still choose to speak up for the game of baseball I love. Let’s speak up and do what we can to preserve what makes baseball great. If we do not, then we are giving up the only voice we have against the larger tides of commerce, politics, power structure, and personal ego that will step in someday and swoop up baseball as just another personal trading chip in the larger game of empire-building.

Whoops. Maybe it’s already happened. What do you think, Commissioner Manfred?



Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle


6 Responses to “Baseball at the Crossroads: To Be or Not To Be”

  1. Sumner G. Hunnewell Says:

    Talking with the managers here in the Frontier League, I have yet to find one that likes it. They used it this past year but I didn’t know – thought that I’d missed a batter in my score sheet / had missed the action while getting a beer / whathaveyou in the 10th inning. (Speed up the game? Getting rid of walk-up music would help.) I dunno, Bill. As I am apt to say, “Hey, stop messing with my stuff.”

    If there’s a worry about injury, perhaps it all ought to be simulated by computer. Wire everyone up, put their hands on the controllers, and they can do it on their couches. Imagine how this could save catcher’s legs and knees over time.

    Maybe hearty rounds of booing when this happens would strengthen our cause.

  2. Larry Dierker Says:

    The only chesslike aspects of the game are in the National League. The rest of baseball is checkers. Ask any major league manager who has worked in both leagues. I have. And ask major league managers if they like the extra innings idea. They won’t. Lawyers don’t ask questions unless they know the answers. Nor do autocrats. When one person is both, you get what they dictate. So shut up and watch the commercials, no matter how long they take.

  3. Tom Hunter Says:

    Is there a mechanism for initiating impeachment proceedings against the commissioner?

  4. DAVIS O. BARKER Says:

    Wow … I could write a book on this one. I’m going to gather my thoughts later and then submit it. But let me say one thing about the Extra Innings Second Base idea … this is nothing new by any means. I remember seeing it decades ago playing Fast-Pitch Softball – especially in tournament play. They used to call it “Olympic Rules”, but I have no idea why. After watching it in action, it really doesn’t help end games if that’s your goal. The reason for that is that a strategy emerged and everybody followed it … and as a result, everybody scores one run and you keep playing … Strategy? First guy up bunts the runner to third … second guy up lifts the ball into the outfield … runner tags and scores. Now you’re left with two outs and nobody on … Bottom half of the inning – same thing. Problem: What are the chances of scoring a second run with nobody on and two outs when you say that you aren’t likely to score with nobody on and no outs without the rule. The only thing good I guess that would come out of it is that the art of bunting may return to its original standing.

  5. Save Baseball from the Moonlight Graham Base Runner | The Pecan Park Eagle Says:

    […] […]

  6. Wayne Roberts Says:

    If they want to shorten games, eliminate commercials between innings or just enough for pitcher to warm up. Not baseball, but the talk about decline in viewership and interest in NFL is not, in my opinion, due to players kneeling during the national anthem but due to too many damn commercials. I won’t watch Monday Night Commercial anymore. And while we’re at it, go back to setting the schedule and game times before the season,esp in college football. If TV wants to broadcast something they can show up with the rest of us when the game is scheduled. I want to plan my life not live it to the convenience of some TV program manager.

    And get rid of those damn Chik-fil-A fowl poles!

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