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November 6, 2013

Pebble Hunting

The Stupidest Part of Baseball

by Sam Miller


The most common (and my favorite) type of question that we get for our Effectively Wild email shows goes something like this:

What if Major League Baseball made a rule that the first hit by pitch of a game counted as a home run, but every hit by pitch after that counted as an out? Would teams (long list of hypothetical ramifications are pondered, with request for Ben and I to ponder further)?

I made that one up, but it’s representative. What if there were no outfield fences? What if baseball’s bases suddenly ran clockwise? What if you could put on full body armor and stand five feet in front of the batter? What if, instead of nine innings, the home team got to choose how many runs the game would go to? What if there were no rain delays; they just played through no matter what? What if teams alternated offense and defense only once, nine innings of offense followed by nine innings of defense? What if fans got their money back when the home team lost? What if baseball was played on ice?

These are great because, even though they’re mostly unrealistic and absurd, we get to talk about them from scratch, and to really think about why baseball is played the way it is and what’s truly entertaining, fair, or durable about it.

There are actual practices in baseball that are every bit as outlandish as the hypotheticals we get asked about. Some of them make almost no sense beyond the fact that they’re grandfathered in. Some of them should really be thought about, from scratch, and eliminated. They actually did play baseball on ice, you know. Then they stopped, because it was stupid.

Draft pick compensation is just the stupidest thing.

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article Baseball Therapy: Is T... (11/06)
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