About Me

My photo

Nice guy.  Have some blogs.  Do baseball research.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Should walls be sideboards or not?

Baseball does some things half way.  My idea about having sideboards along the foul lines from foul pole to 150 feet from home plate is sometimes derided as wall ball.  And yet walls are already an integral part of baseball.

Obviously, if more than 100 or so fans attend games then stands are needed.  But are walls needed  to separate fans from play?  They are not in basketball and not really in football, both of which have uniformly defined playing areas.  As stated in the very first Radical Baseball document baseball is fundamentally flawed by allowing non-uniform playing areas, although that does support a cottage industry of people who never see the light of day trying to normalize the data as if the playing areas were uniform.  Strange to say the least.

Relative to play, should players be separated from fans?  In basketball and football if a player goes among the fans the player is out of bounds, a concept that eludes baseball.  Baseball allows players to actually go among the fans to get the ball, usually to catch a fly.  An out can be recorded by catching a fly ball that is out of bounds, i.e., in foul territory.

Outfield walls in fair territory define home run distances.  Those walls are different distances from home late in different directions, of different materials, of different heights, even in the same ball park.  Odd doesn't even begin to describe this and yet I seem to be the only baseball fan who thinks it is odd, unfair, and should be changed.  The others are more concerned with the impact of steroids on home run hitting and the integrity of the game.

Such home run integrity can be established by requiring that all out of the park home runs travel a minimum distance from home plate as best as that can be determined given the mess of ball park configurations that have proliferated since 1990 and which ironically often replaced parks that were at least symmetrical.  Any fair ball hit into the stands but short of that minimum distance should be a double.  There is some precedent for that in the 1800s.

Barriers should placed in the outfield where the distance from home plate is longer than the minimum, which in this case would also be the maximum or uniform distance.

Oh, and put in those damn sideboards down the foul lines.  Too many perfectly good line drives curve foul and out of play causing one of the seemingly unlimited number of slow motion restarts after play has stopped hundreds of times during a game.

Too bad organized baseball doesn't have an ombudsman, a sort of commissioner, to oversee all this and provide for the integrity and improvement of the game.  I guess it's just up to me to point out things that need to be addressed.

1 comment:

Cliff Blau said...

Any differences between baseball and other sports indicate the other sports need to change their rules to be more like baseball, the greatest game God ever invented.