The most recent sign stealing nonsense highlights just how primitive both baseball and baseball fans are. Eliminating not just the signs but also the barbaric and unnecessary catcher position never occurs to them.
The Yankees were the "victim" of the Red Sox "cheating". However, the best Yankee hitter is Gary Sanchez and he's the Yankee catcher being victimized. His real victimization is the Yankees being so stupid that they have their best hitter squatting behind the plate and being belted with foul tips all over, including in the head.
If the Yankees have any sense, next spring they will work out Sanchez at third base in his catching gear for the type of protection that all infielders should have been wearing for a century. That way Sanchez can still use his cannon arm, not commit passed balls and not get belted with foul tips.
One way to test something is to reverse the chronology. So imagine that what I'm proposing is the way it has been all along and that some idiot comes along and suggests changing that to the way it actually has been.
There should never have been a catcher. If there was a need to have a player stationed near home plate, then the player should have been placed out of harm's way, maybe behind a screen, and not required to also catch pitches.
Benefits to eliminating the catcher position:
1. Near fool proof strike zone: a round fixed target placed behind home plate. It the pitch hits the target, it's a strike. Yes, same size strike zone for all batters. The bottom of the target can be raised and lowered to have it at the batter's knees and/or the top at his shoulders. That can be worked out.
Imaginary strike zone. Saturday, August 8, 2009
2. No leads by base runners and so no stealing. This speeds up the game. A lot. No throws to first, etc. And pitchers can use one motion, which should improve control.
3. No bloody signs! So no sign stealing. And no jerking around shaking off signs, conferences, etc. The pitcher can talk to himself.
4. Extend foul territory 45 feet from the back tip of home plate. This significantly curtails bunting and wasting an at bat with a dribbler in front of the plate.
5. Move the plate umpire out of harm's way to behind the pitcher.
6. Pace of play would improve so much it would actually look like a baseball game.
Knee jerk objections and intelligent answers:
1. Batters would all have the same size strike zone. That's not fair.
Why not? Plus, the current way simply changes the size of the strike zone vertically but not horizontally, where it is anchored to the plate width for some reason, maybe for the batter to protect the plate, as if that has anything to do with it.
2. You're removing the human element.
You're kidding, right? A consensus is developing for an automated strike zone. Umpires have always been wrong a lot of the time in calling balls and strikes. But it's only recently that we've become really good at noticing their errors. It's an impossible task that never should have existed.
3. How ever will you get balls to the pitcher?
Duh. The umpire will hand a ball to the pitcher. Remember, the ump is standing right behind the pitcher. The umpire will get balls the same way he does now.
4. How will you deal with all those loose balls near home plate?
Have you watched a tennis match in the last 50 years? Loose balls on service faults are scooped up by diligent ball boys and girls.
5. Haven't you eliminated base stealing?
Yes! Another big waste of time. And no holding the runner close, no throwing to the base. Yes!
OK, now try the chronological reversal. Suggest that instead of having a near fool proof strike zone, we introduce a three dimensional strike zone and have a player try to catch the pitches and suffer all the physical abuse that entails. Oh, and slow down the game so that it becomes unwatchable. Yeah, really clever move.